Late Winter in Maine is a time you begin to think of spring vegetable seed planting.
Being on your knees in the spring fertile, tilled orange brown dirt. As the winter sun lingers longer over Vacationland each day, peat pots in the kitchens of Maine households begin to germinate. Popping up despite a snow storm warning brewing, coming in from down country. The one predicted, promised in tomorrow’s forecast.
The new seed catalog arriving weeks ago. Ordered from, product already delivered by the same mailman who dropped off the intently studied, now dog eared vegetable publication. Munching breakfast eggs, bacon and toast as tiny very green micro shoots push up from the perlight. White specks dotting the fertilized black top soil watered, talked to, and those seedlings already mentally planted in the field behind the Maine country farm home.
Spread over newspapers, the potting soil with growing plants in those dissolvable, bio-degradable containers are just temporary homes for new peppers, tomatoes, other vegetable seeds poked deep.
Oriented to the Maine sun.
Eventually to be moved to a side glass sunporch. On the way to a greenhouse, makeshift hot house wooden skeleton. The one waiting for new plastic sheets secured by banking lathes and brads before the seedlings check in for a brief stay.
Growing you own food in Maine is a production. A drawn out process but a labor of love. It becomes a second nature habit passed on by the last generation to the next. To assure fresh, locally grown food for your family. Extra food for other neighborhood tables. To sell at the down town farmer’s market or vegetable stand your kids man when the produce is in season.
This is the kind of food you know where it came from. Not genetically altered. Not trucked in from many states away. Or sprayed with perservatives, rubbed with protective marketing waxes.
Because you were there at birth.
Nutured from seed, to sprout to plant that is culivated, harvested, eventually stored. To get that family through the winter months.
Using root cellars of cooler air in basements with carrots in sand, potatoes in barrels. And rows of jars of bread and butter pickles, vacuum sealed containers of stewed tomatoes, green beans, corn, applesauce. And plenty of blue hubbard, acorn squash, onions, cabbage, etc to draw from in the household grocery. The food bank that sustains the family with contributions on daily trips up and down the cellar stairs.