Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Success: One Seed at a Time

Success: One Seed at a Time!

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. ~ John Wesley

For the first time in months, I have gone over a week without writing my blog. It would be incredibly easy for me to get out of sync with my writing. Since it was Labor Day last Monday, I felt that I needed the break too. It can be especially difficult to write or do any kind of paperwork when the weather is gorgeous and when you know that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the garden. If you're not feeling very motivated or are upset, it can make writing even harder to do as well. To be misunderstood or blatantly ignored can be a real kicker sometimes, and we all need to take a little break every once in awhile.

The cold front finally made its way to the east and the windows were opened briefly, but are now closed once again to make the inside environment of my house more conducive for work. By late afternoon, the temperatures within the house still rise and it becomes extremely uncomfortable. The air conditioner has been running non-stop since April. I’m ready for fall to be here, even though I do not look forward to days with less daylight.

One big reason that I moved to the south was because of the incredible number of sunny days per year, 230 days on average, compared to where I was living up north that had significantly less. If I waited for ‘bad weather’ I would never get anything done on the inside of my house.

Unfortunately though, last week I didn’t get to spend a lot of time in my garden other than on Monday. It’s a fact of life sometimes that other obligations take precedence. It’s also a fact that I would rather be doing just about anything else other than paperwork. Needless to say I spent enough time just keeping everything alive in the garden, but that was relatively easy because of the surprising amount of rain that we had during the week. Enough rain to harvest a healthy crop of mosquitoes too.

I realized after laying my seeds out very uniformly and quite sparsely in my containers, that I was a little too conservative with their placement. Very few had germinated. I was really proud of how I had used my specially painted pencil with one end marked as 1/4, 1/2, and 1 inch for depth and how I used the eraser end to pick up each tiny seed.

I believe I planted my seeds at the right depth. What I didn’t take into account was the incredibly high outside temperature (High 90’s) for the optimal amount of germination for each variety of vegetable that I planted. I also didn’t consider the overall germination rate for the seeds. I was somewhat stingy because of the amount of seed that I had wasted in the spring.

I know that an experience vegetable farmer would be laughing at me. Although, electronically all of this information is readily available to anyone, I personally didn’t take the time to figure it out. I used the color code on each packet assuming the month listed was okay without taking into consideration the outside temperature. I went with the spacing requirements as suggested by Mel Bartholomew, in The All New Square Foot Gardening book. I even refrigerated my spinach seeds to help with germination as recommended by the Grumpy Gardener, Steve Binder.

As I was handling the seeds, I couldn’t help but think about how tiny they were. The red lettuce seed was tiny and dark. If I dropped one, I couldn’t see it on the soil even with my glasses on. I’m able to lean over, and even with being able to do so I know that I would have a difficult time if I was trying to place the seed in the ground. I’m also notorious for dumping the whole pack of seeds out at once if I’m supposed to sprinkle them out onto the ground. I personally refer to this as a ‘quad moment’ because of the decreased dexterity in my hands.

I would have to create some sort of seed tape or I would have to mix the seeds in with an inert material before attempting to spread them uniformly in a row. My father when he was weak from cancer would use a piece of plastic pipe and he would drop the seed down through it one by one. I can’t help but wonder if the lightweight lettuce seed would stick to the inside of the plastic. For me, it is easier to plant the tiny seeds in my elevated beds and containers. Hopefully this time I planted enough to allow for better germination. The slightly cooler temperatures should also help.

The percentage of any seeds to germinate is maximum at the optimal temperature for that species. As the temperature declines or advances from the optimal temperature, two things happen at the same time. While the percentage of seeds to germinate decreases, the number of days to germination increases. That is the fundamental relationship between germination and temperature.

•Ideal Germination Temperatures:
•When to plant in my area: (consult your State’s Extension)
•Germination Rates:
•Effect of Temperature on Germination:

This morning I checked the progress of my seeds and my lettuce is happy. My spinach is still a little reluctant to germinate. Time will tell I guess. Next, I will have to figure out where to plant the other vegetable seeds that I bought before it is too late to plant them. I also have to relocate some of my containers on my deck to ensure the availability of better sunlight.

I think to be a good gardener a person has to be patient. I think the same thing is true about being an advocate. More than fifteen years after my initial accessibility evaluation of the armory building owned by my town, the town has finally built a ramp to the building that only had one step. The armory has been used for numerous political elections as well as many other public events throughout the years since the passage of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 and other prior access laws.

I’m really good about giving people and entities the time they need to comply or to complete what needs to be done. Others may not be quite as patient, but then again equal access is a Civil Right and they are completely within their rights to pursue things however they wish to pursue them. My suggestions are there as a means to possibly prevent injury or legal action. Should this have taken so long to fix? Definitely not!

I think what is most upsetting for me is when I know that I have taken my time to tell someone or I have offered my time in advance to review a facility, or park, and my suggestions are seemingly ignored or not valued. It is pretty upsetting to go to a newly renovated restaurant or any place that still isn’t compliant even after recent renovations or new construction is completed. The Building Inspectors shouldn't allow it and when a person inquires about it, the town is required to respond to your inquiry. No one likes feeling as if their time has been wasted, regardless of what the entities intent may have been. For now, I'll simply rejoice over one more victory.

What I have to focus on and what is most rewarding is when I see entities, public and private, utilize the suggestions and go beyond what they’re required to do. It's refreshing to travel to other places that have already made outstanding efforts for better accessibility. This really shouldn't be such a large issue in 2012. It is not just me that will benefit from this, everyone will. We're all growing older. That said, I think I need to get out to the garden. I have seeds to tend to and containers to move. They don’t like being ignored either.


  1. Just as seeds take time to plant (one at a time) and need nourishment and tending to once germinated, so too do businesses and their owners...tending to as in making sure all entries/bathrooms/tables comply with local code (or beyond). And local or State officials are the next rung on the ladder-they need to be prodded and poked sometimes in order for access to catch hold. It may seem like an uphill battle (as does gardening in the South with it's multitude of issues such as humidity, lack of rain, etc). But in the end, only the strong will survive. And thrive!

  2. Brenda, I always enjoy your blog. I do have to say that Sumter County enforces ADA in all respects. When we renovated an old building for a new office in 2006, I added a ramp and nice pathway of pavers for access. I wanted my access to be both inviting and beautiful. I planted a raised bed adjacent to it and landscaped behind the ramp also. Accessibility is not an option, it is an obligation. I worked for Legal Aid when the ADA laws were passed. They were long overdue even then.

    Thanks for keeping everyone on their toes, or at least trying. I enjoyed the pictures too. Debbie (Hayes)

    September 12, 2012 9:09 PM
    P.S. I tried to post this to your blog, but it gave me a time. So here it is here.

    1. Several entities throughout SC are on the ball and that is very encouraging. Anderson is a terrific example of a community that has recognized that they needed to do more and are actively doing so. Moving forward is what I'm all about regardless of attitudes from some past administrations. I haven't been to Sumter in awhile but I'm thrilled to hear what you've done there. Access doesn't need to be ugly or take away from any facade. I've seen beautiful work done. Share photos anytime! You're right Debbie Hayes it is an obligation. When I see something new that isn't done right, I take it personal. When a corporation such as Walmart re-stripes their parking lot without van accessible parking, I become angry. I have spoken to them several times and they've been sued. When a restaurant opens and I can't park because of steep cross-slopes or no van access, I'm basically taking a risk to eat there. Sometimes I don't realize it until I come flying out of my van, literally. It's dangerous. Thank you for your comments! (Some people truly "get it!") My survival is focusing on the positive, but I'm human. Sometimes I want to scream "enough already!" Sometimes I do! God knows I'm strong enough to handle any challenge, and I am certainly tough enough to do so. Inside, I just want people to do what is right. We all know that isn't always the case! Thank goodness for my garden! :-) (I am going to add your comment to my blog too. It's important!)

    2. wow! 15 yrs!! dont think i would have been as patient as u:)....You are truly an Inspiration & I love your gorgeous photos!! Keep up the great work, keep shining & Creating & God Bless U Brenda~ You are Beautiful & YOU ROCK GIRL:!!!:) God Bless!...sending u some blessings & hugs from Texas!!.....U make my Heart Smile! ♥:) L.J.

  3. Great post and beautiful images! I love coming across your blog posts. Thank you so much for sharing.