Call me crazy, but when i awoke at about 3am one morning to hear torrential rain i pelted into the back garden — barefoot and in pajamas — to drag trays of seedlings under shelter. You see, my last seed-planting project resulted in a rather embarrassing yield. Of 12 trays planted with spinach, several varieties of lettuce, spring onions, leeks, chillies, and celery — the seeds of which i’d hand-harvested from the veggie patch in the preceding months — only three lettuce and four leek seedlings survived to be planted in the garden. Pathetic, really.
I had only myself to blame. I’d become a bit blasé about my green thumb. Those hand collected, then stupidly neglected, seeds suffered from Sydney’s searing, late-summer sun, several heavy downpours, and the ravenous pecking of a pair of birds — who also took it in turns to bathe in the cat’s water bowl — as cat and i looked on from the porch, nonchalantly. When green shoots failed to appear and weeds took up root in the trays instead, i silently lambasted my slovenly gardening ways.
I planted the latest batch of seeds a fortnight ago and have been carefully attending them since. They get a light shower from the watering can daily and are moved around the garden to bask in the mellow autumnal sun. They’ve rewarded my belated diligence. Or perhaps they’ve just warmed to the sun and her seasonal charm.
The spinach seeds were the first to sprout: two wobbly lines of butterfly-winged leaves. Then came the lettuce. Spring onions and leeks fought for third place: bright green, needle-thin shoots pushing through the soil, many weighed down by the remains of the seed husk, or doubled over in a loop struggling to pull away from the seed — their safe keeper — beneath the soil.
Only the celery and chillies are playing hard to get. I’ve checked on them three times this morning — still no sign. I’ve just been out and snipped off the spring onion seed husks to encourage strong upright growth. I moved the trays so they’ll catch the afternoon rays. While i was there i uttered a few words of encouragement to the celery and chillies. Call me crazy.