Small Streams


This Is How It Spreads
February 17, 2007, 12:04 pm
Filed under: gardening, Pittsburgh

Though I do not believe
that a plant will spring up
where no seed has been,
I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders.
–Henry David Thoreau

Spring training and seed catalogs. We are beginning to break winter’s back.

Doug Oster, the P-G’s Backyard Gardener, lets us know the joy of seed catalogs.

He mentions a local heirloom seed company, Heirloom Seeds, located in West Elizabeth. Funny how hybrid seeds have become the standard and seeds that grow true have to have a modifier appended.

Heirloom seeds, though, looks like a fine place to buy seeds and I’ve seen some good comments about the establishment. Gardeners tend to be thorough commenters. What would you call them? Garden geeks? Garden aficianados? Some of us garden. Make a little compost. Plant a little seed. Get down tonight. But some of us go beyond gardening.

I don’t think “garden geek” is a good phrase because geek has unhealthy or technological connotations. The garden geek might be a person who might hook up a solar powered irrigation system. But most double-plus good gardeners are more intent on building good soil. Making tilth.

Aficianado doesn’t satisfy because it’s got six syllables and that “c” has to slide between the “s” and the “sh” sound, so it comes off as a lisp.

So maybe we just don’t name these people, these readers of Rodale press offerings. We don’t name them. We don’t classify them. Because this gardeningness could spread. More of us letting compost happen, promoting good tilth, and understanding the connection between the land and our food.

Commentary on seeds and fertility grows forever. Folks like Kent Whealy and Stephani Flom remind us that seeds have stories. Don’t try to stop it either. Remember that sheriff that Bob Marley was talking about? He wouldn’t have got shot if he’d have let those plants grow.

I gotta run and test the viability of some old seeds.

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2 Comments so far
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The word “geek” is a problem. I agree that it has techie connotations, but then again I see if often applied in non-techie ways. For example, “art geek” means someone who is very into the art scene, and “music geek” means someone who breathes music. And Anne of Creating Text(iles) has referred to herself as a medieval geek.

Maybe a person who hooks up a solor powered irrigation system is a geeky gardener, while a person who reads seed catalogs is a garden geek? Or seed geek?

But then, what should we call someone who studies the history of gardens, and trends in gardening, and differences in gardening in various countries? That’s a geek of another color.

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