Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian-Weed, Seed, Feed!
By Cynthia Brian
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson
When is the right time to plant seeds? This is a question I have often been asked as I travel throughout the country speaking on gardening issues. Over the years I have embraced the age old farmer’s timing technique for planting seeds in any climate, anywhere: if you can sit on the ground with your bare bottom and not feel too cold or wet, it’s warm enough to sow!
This year the ground was especially warm earlier than usual and already I have tomatoes, peppers, and squash sprouting. Winter seemed to skip by Lamorinda as we went from autumn to spring. Weeds are not as ubiquitous as they have been in the past, yet before we sow our spring seeds, it is imperative to carefully edit and amend our gardens. If you planted cover crops such as vetch, clover, or fava beans, turn them over to add the much desired nitrogen and nutrients to the soil. Other weeds need to be manually pulled and either added to compost piles or put in the green bin. Once we have made sure our soil is rich and ready, it’s prime time to buy the seed packets or six packs and start digging.
Arugula was my top pick for growing greens this season. I have planted runway serrated, rustic organic, true Italian organic, and, of course, my very favorite…wasabi. A jewel-toned blend of beets as well as purple and rattlesnake pole beans are already in the ground. A healthy crop of radiant radishes garnish our plates and butter lettuce is already curly and luscious. To add a bit of pretty to the scene, I have sowed nigella mulberry rose, larkspur Parisian pink, Echinacea purpurea starlight, and rainbow poppies. They are not yet large enough to photograph but I anticipate a compliment of colors.
Naturally, it’s also important to plant pollen plants to attract the pollinators and help them thrive, which in turn helps our gardens grow. Did you know that bee pollinators provide one of every three bites we take? Honeybees have been disappearing in record numbers and butterflies have also suffered significant population declines. It is essential to eliminate pesticides and insecticides while planting flowers of varied shapes to bring the bees and butterflies.
Here are pollinator plants that can easily be grown from seed. Plant them as succession plants for three seasons of enjoyment that will also support a range of bee and butterfly species.
For Early Blooms:
Baby Blue Eyes
For Mid-Season Beauty:
For Late-Season Color:
Once you have sowed your special selections, you’ll want to add a bit of organic
fertilizer to feed the seed. A brew of homemade compost tea is recommended although
you can purchase organic plant food at your local garden center. A regular fertilizer
program is needed to keep plants growing well and attractive all season.
The choice of fertilizer analysis will depend on the kinds of plants you are growing.
High nitrogen sources is perfect for plants grown for their foliage while flowering
and vegetable crops prefer lower nitrogen and higher phosphorous types.
With your spring garden planted, you may now begin dreaming of the delicious crops to be harvested in the future. Water, tend, and wait!
May the Easter bunny hop through your garden and the forest fairies sprinkle dandy dust on all your seedlings. In plain English…Joyful Springtime and get growing!
Happy gardening to you!
The Goddess Gardener
Cynthia is available as a speaker and consultant.
Read the article and see photos at
Causes Cynthia Brian Supports
Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity empowering women, families, and youth through improved literacy, positive media, and life skills.