Thursday, 24 February 2011

How do you do yours?

From the Hoxa tapestry gallery here in Orkney, an amazing artist - I love the image - 'Existence in balance' (Copyright

I tipped an open seed packet today, held new seed in my hand - wrist upward, crook of my hand full of the little blighters - finger tapping gently on my inner palm to help them along...............I have to sow almost everything indoors here - I only put the seed of root crops (carrots, turnip, parsnip and radish) straight into the ground here. I've learn't from experience even when it says hardy annual on the packet - I have to sow it first, bring it on, harden it off - then anytime after late April to mid May I can plant outdoors. Earlier is pointless - the soil is far too wet and cold before this, the wind is fierce and they will just pop their little clogs.

How do you do yours? [This year I'm doing all of mine on the window sills......]

The humble seed always makes me think about their potential - how much I enjoy plants and why I do it - simply by holding a seed - how awesome is that? A whole new potential life, in it's own tiny suitcase.

The crook of the hand came from my grandfather showing me how to do it - even now I can feel him cupping my hand, pouring the seeds in and gently tapping to put them in the furrow of the soil. If they didn't all go into a row, he didn't mind, life's not straight he'd say - best to work with those little curves, much more interesting.

Going back to that tapestry, I love the image of the man and life being created above, you can find a link to it here - I've nothing but admiration for artists - so much attention to detail. Whilst I don't know, I suspect she's held a seed or two herself......................


  1. I agree, what a great painting! Winter sowing is how I do mine! I sow mine in containers and put them outside.


  2. Lovely post- I particularly liked how you described the seed in its own tiny suitcase. What a great image. I planted a lot of my seeds about ten days ago in pots in the green house and some of them just peeped out today! It fair made my day :-) Every year I'm surprised at how it never gets boring!

  3. I try not to broadcast, as the wind here seems to always be blowing, too. I put them in the soil one, two, or three in a small dent. I can't stand the thought of wasting one tiny seed - it holds life!

  4. I have never thought of seeds that way. Thank you for giving me something to think about. Love that artists work.

  5. Well I wasn't sure what the question was going to be at first! but seed sowing hmmm - very slowly and in small amounts. I prefer to plant where possible straight into where they are going to grow.
    It is a surprise each time something pops up! out of the suitcase so to speak. Nice post.

  6. Duchess I do almost the opposite - almost everything I sow has to go on the windowsill first - the only thing I can direct plant are root vegetables - everything else has to be sown first indoors and grown on then hardened and then planted probably in early May - otherwise they wouldn't survive out here - even hardy annuals/cabbages etc - glad you liked the suitcase image!

    FMKW - the local artist does tapestries - some as big as a wall - its an amazing gallery - even online!

  7. Holleygarden - I agree - up here the wind wastes most stuff too - if anything is sown outdoors then its very carefully indented and in a pair or so to keep each other company - thank you for posting a comment - I'm off to find where you are now!

    Byddi - lovely that you've seeds popping up - I'm going to start mine at the weekend - I held off long enough! The suitcase image was my Grandfather - a wonderful gardner - so down to earth and put things in such a simple way that as a 4 year old helping him in the garden I knew what he would mean. I have to say though - for ages he had me looking for the seeds with their own 'handle' - his little joke - he told me they'd be the best ones..............goodluck with the seedlings!

    Amy welcome, winter sowing sounds interesting - glad you liked the image - its actually a tapestry - each layer a tiny woven thread - which makes it all the more amazing I think.

  8. Such lovely images in your post--the actual image at the beginning and the image of your wonderful grandfather.

  9. Fay, I had to say that this post is full of imagery but the most powerful image comes from your words. The way in which you have spoken of your grandfather teaching you how to sew is so powerful in the emotion that it evoked in me. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how wonderful Grandad's are. How one human being can bring so much passion into a persons world and instil in them a lifelong love of something that they have passed on is truly remarkable. You say that you have nothing but admiration for artists then you should know that you are an artist, you just use words rather than pictures to paint the image. Thank you, thank you.

  10. Carolyn thank you, he was an amazing gardener with a handkerchief lawn and an allotment. A simple man.

    Cheri your comment was lovely -I feel very humbled by your words.
    Thank you for your kindness

  11. "A whole potential life, in it's own tiny suitcase" How lovely, that's definitely a keeper!

    "He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
    For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
    He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
    From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
    When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
    He visualizes autumn's golden yields;
    He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
    Precious moisture for his early grain;
    He hears spring-heralds in the storm's turmoil
    He knows no winter, he who loves the soil." 
    -   Sudie Stuart Hager

  12. I have some good news for you: I have selected you for the Stylish Blogger Award. You can learn more about it and the other award winners (and claim your award) on my blog. Check it out at .

  13. Good luck with your seeds!! I usually just sow directly into the earth (although tomatoes I do on the sill first to harden off) but have trouble thinning them out because I love each tiny little seedling life so much!

  14. And I totally agree with Cheri. Your grandfather sounds like the kind of man I'd like to have shared cups of tea and planting with as well.

  15. LOVE this tapestry!

    I am a windowsill sower, and I cheat with brassicas and order plants from Delfland Organics. As far as outside sowing is concerned, I'm holding fire for the moment. But I'm generally behind this year.

  16. And he's off, ladies and gentlemen...

    Fabulous image. I had to smile, I recognise that cupped hand approach, I do the same. I love the whole process, the careful opening of packet, the shake on to the palm, the tap, tap, tap on to the compost, the careful covering of seed with grit.

    I find I get much better results with even hardy annuals by starting them off in modules and then planting out when larger. Sowing in to my wet heavy soil rarely works.

    Don't you just love Spring?!

  17. Oops! That should be "she" not "he"...

  18. Hi, To answer your question, I am doing mine indoors this year because I think the birds ate all my outdoor sowings last year. They only left me the sweet peas.

    I love your grandfather's words "Life's not straight".

  19. Well what a day!!

    Jamie thank you - my word an award - I'll have to think about that one - very honoured thank you

  20. Jane beautiful poem, I don't know it. Thank you for taking the time to post it.

    Linda - window sills are awesome, I'm eying all of mine up now!!

    Janet - we do appear to have a lot in common!! Not a seed sown yet though - was counting them for a peedie seed order......

    B-a-g pesky birds!! He was right life is definitely not straight......

    I've been in MY garden since 8am - progress will be reported tomorrow I'm as giddy as a ballerina on pointy shoes in a high wind ......

  21. Mrs bok, I've left daddies in the hens for you ;)

    Thank you or your kind words

  22. I'm very glad to have found your blog. Thanks for joining Blotanical. I spent 8 days in Orkney in 1999. I wondered how people managed to garden in such a harsh climate, especially the wind! I don't grow vegetables. But I do grow perennials from seed. I plant them outside in bulb pans in fall, which is the start of our rainy season. I let them grow in the pans for 18 months, then transfer them into the garden or individual pots in the spring. We have a fairly mild climate in Seattle.