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The Garden in my Mind

The Seeding Machine

One part of my job at Bartlett’s Farm is seeding.  That is putting the seeds of flowers we grow into their flats to begin germinating. I’ve been doing this part of the job for 25 years, and while it is a little harder on my back these days, it still does wonders for my mind.  Today's seeding list included impatiens, petunias, snapdragons, marigolds, three types of agastache, arctotis, verbena bonariensis, monarda, centaurea and more.  The process goes like this.  I operate the seeding machine by myself, feeding the seeds of 40 or so varieties (some weeks it’s more than 100) one after the other into the hopper, run the trays down the conveyor belt, adjust the suction and air curtain in tandem to attempt to get one seed into each of the 406 cells of the tray, get the vermiculite cover just right, remove and stack the trays to another cart which will be moved into another room to germinate. 

Sound boring?  Well, it could be. But it’s on dreadful days like today that I enjoy the process the most.  You see, when the seeds are shaking back and forth in the feeder tray, I don’t really see the seeds.  I see gardens and fields of flowers.  Rows of snapdragons waiting to be picked on a dewy morning, petunias boldly cascading over the edge of window boxes, verbena bonariensis standing at attention with all of its purply goodness, unruly perennials exploding out of their designated spaces, bachelor buttons on the lapel of a prom-goer, cosmos swaying in the morning breeze as the bumble bees wake up.  It may be a cold and rainy day out there, but the garden in my mind is blooming abundantly.