The Wisdom of Goldilocks

21 01 2011

I just now ordered vegetable garden seed for this coming season.  I have found that working with daylily and vegetable seeds/seedlings is great therapy in January and February.  It takes about six weeks for the seeds to germinate and the tiny shoots get strong enough to put outside.  That is just about the time when, in Southern Indiana, we start to get the occasional spring-like day.  I would start the process in December if I thought it would change my perception of how slowly winter is dragging along.  I tried starting everything in December one year and it had the exact opposite effect I was looking for.

When seedlings get to a certain size, they need to be outside, temperature allowing, in order not to get spindly and to harden up.  As I said, that is about at the six week mark after planting.  By starting the process in December I had to put the whole operation on hold for what seemed like an eternity and generally ended up losing many seedlings because I either got impatient and convinced myself that I could put them outside for just a little time in the cold frame or had them wither for lack of enough natural light inside to facilitate photosynthesis once the nutrients of the seed pod were depleted.

Yep, timing is everything–especially with gardening.  I think most parallels to life are so obvious that they need not be articulated.  Like gardening though, learning about proper timing means a lot of false starts–starting to early or starting too late.  Maybe we all need to be a little more like Goldilocks, not the breaking-and-entering Goldilocks, but the moderation-seeking Goldilock.  We need to figure out what is “just right.”

I guess that is the challenge we all face–knowing when it is time to stop sitting around looking out the window, thinking about the future and knowing when it is time to start preparing for the future.





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