A Sunny, Snowy, Seedy, Sheedy, Saturday
“Self-replicating and adaptive”
Probably the most intelligent, sexiest, and slightly dangerous sounding words I have ever used to describe one. We are not talking of a cyborg from the future however, but a common bean seed. If there ever was a person who could make a seed sound sexy, and smart, it is Margaret Roach. Ms Roach, former editorial director of Martha Stewart Living, well known gardener, author, popular radio personality, podcaster and webmaster, held a rapt audience packing the Copake Grange in her thrall at Seedy Saturday, an annual fundraiser for the Friends of Taconic State Park last Saturday, which also marked the first weekend of spring.
I was lucky enough to attend almost by chance and honestly was a little leery of sitting through the talk after learning the subject matter. The thought of seeds, seedlings, and anything growing was the farthest thing from my mind looking at the mounds of snow and walking through the biting temperatures earlier in the week, giving me pause to drive cross county to hear about something I have never had much luck with, thanks to my natural lack of patience, tendency to over water and general ineptitude.
However, as the week progressed, snowdrifts slowly started to recede, revealing croci in bare patches ready to burst open at the first hint of sun and daffodils beginning to emerge through the icy mud. The promise of temperatures well above freezing and sunny weather on Saturday ignited a little case of spring fever in me and the idea of driving over hill and dale to Copake began to sound like a pleasant diversion from my drab Germantown surroundings, but still maybe not quite enough. The final push that tipped the scales in favor of Seedy Saturday attendance was it eerily sounding similarity to “Sheedy Saturday” (as in Ally, as in the Breakfast Club). For the two or three of you unaware one of the seminal films of my generation, 5 teenagers are unwillingly forced spend a Saturday in detention together, learning invaluable insights about each other and themselves in the process by the end of the day. Inspired by the obvious parallels, I committed myself to sit semi-willingly for an hour in a darkened grange to learn about seeds.
Any lingering vestiges of remaining self-doubt I had by putting my faith in the life lessons of John Hughes evaporated the moment Ms. Roach took the floor. By turns funny, insightful, and informative, while always entertaining, Margaret not only seduced me, but the rest of her audience as well, indoctorinating all into the cult of seed growers. And not just growers of your garden variety seeds mind you, but growers of organically grown, super biodynamic, Electra woman and dyna-girled seeds. All references to 80’s pop culture aside, it was a a transformative talk for an amateur gardener like me. Far beyond gaining an appreciation for the ethical and ecological reasons behind growing plants from responsible seed companies, I also discovered several new plant varieties that I want to try growing. Along the way, I learned valuable tips for laying out a garden, and practical economic reasons to contemplate growing plant varieties that might seem unusual at first glance. Somehow, she also made it all look easy. Afterwards, Ms Roach, along with representative from , gamely fielded questions thrown at them by the enthusiastic audience. I left feeling that despite my previous failures, starting plants from seed might very well be worth trying again in the future. In the meantime, I have a beautiful bean seed given out to each audience member by Margaret Roach to remind me, along with the image of Ally and that Simple Minds Tune
As this tongue in cheek post doesn’t begin to do justice to the breadth of information I learned last week, I would urge people to check out Margaret Roachs Blog A Way To Garden, as well as the websites of the other participants involved with the event.