make-believe: spring planting.

March 27, 2019
spring planting | reading my tea leaves

The daffodil and crocus bulbs that Faye planted on a whim last fall have sprouted, but they seem stunted. Not enough sunlight on our stoop, maybe. Or too much snow for a narrow window box to keep the little bulbs sufficiently warm beneath the soil.

Upstairs, we’ve been forbidden from planting on our ledge this year and so I’m mourning a bit the loss of my small patch of earth and a place to get dirty.

On my mind, spring planting (and floods):

A sunny sweatshirt for keeping the chill off.

A bottle of sunscreen for good measure.

A pair of oiled slides for kicking around in the dirt.

A good hat for drippy mornings and sunshiney ones.

A simple spade for helping to work the soil.

A seed catalog for plotting and planning and placing orders.

A set of pruners for snipping.

A canteen to keep drinks hot or cold depending on the weather.

A slim volume of inspiration for slipping in a back pocket.

A scrub to polish the dirt away.

A bandana for wiping a brow, or catching sweat.

Pants with pockets for small books or small shovels.


In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, other places to direct our attention:

Buy seeds: Today and tomorrow, Baker Heirloom Seeds is sending 100 percent of its profits to organizations supporting flood relief in the US and abroad. Extreme bonus: They’ve got some of the best heirloom seeds and the prettiest seed packets out there. (Thanks to my longtime internet friend, Stephanie, for pointing me their way.)

PS.: We need this message coming from every single elected official. Every single one.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. Several of the items above are from RMTL banner advertisers, but this editorial coverage is not sponsored.

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  • Reply Doe March 27, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    OMG! AOC!

  • Reply Beverly March 27, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Erin,
    I love your blog and philosophy. I was just at a seed conference led by Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance in Santa Fe. I hope you and your readers will take a look at the work that is happening in the Southwest. Rowen White is working for the rematriation of indigenous seeds. It is incredibly compelling.

    • Reply C March 28, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      I am so so glad you mentioned this Beverly! There is so much to unpack re seeds and seed production and Rowen is simply amazing. I don’t think most people know where their seed is produced, the companies that own seed, or the people and environment that end up paying the price for cheap seeds. I am so happy that it is becoming a more mainstream conversation much like local and organic food.
      I would recommend people check out their regional seed companies, many of whom produce their own seed and/or contract with other organic/regional seed growers. There is a plethora and they are doing great work!
      *Here is a searchable by region/country seed company list, many of who are growing much of their own seed or at the very least being transparent about their sourcing:
      *An interesting and updated graph of who Owns seed:
      *And an easy to navigate website that outlines some ideas re. ownership and the importance of Open Source seed and regional seed companies:
      *Another quick link to Rowen’s work and life:
      Reading your wonderful website for years Erin I know you’d be interested in all this! Often it can feel overwhelming with so much information out there, to feel like we are making all the “right” decisions or have all the info. I always find that knowing more feels empowering. And to be fair, this is my world and work so I try to spread a little bit more information whenever I can!

      • Reply C March 28, 2019 at 1:50 pm

        And if I could mention one more thing, Rowen is also working with many seed companies who sell Indigenous varieties in the Return of those varieties to the communities they came from. Such important and very little talked about work.

  • Reply Orchids March 29, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Why aren’t you allowed to grow anything on your ledge? Boo!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 29, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Our landlords saw our little garden last year and said nope!

      • Reply Elizabeth April 1, 2019 at 11:20 am

        Grrrrrr, my landlord forbade greenery on my fire escape last summer too. I get the safety concern, but also, NYC is tough enough as it is… can’t we have our little patches of green?!

  • Reply Stephanie March 30, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Aw, thanks, friend. It is a lovely catalog! (It also makes excellent collage materials for small people who need to make gardens, even of a paper variety). That is too bad about the ledge! Landlords : \

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