Every year in February, I experience the first rumblings of spring planting excitement in my soul. I begin to pore over seed catalogs and browse Internet sites to decide what new varieties I might want to try in my garden this season alongside my favorites. I acquired my passion for gardening from my father, who farmed in addition to his full-time employment at the Minnesota State Highway Department in Brainerd, and from my mother who tended huge gardens to feed our family of twelve children. As a child, I remember accompanying my parents to buy seeds at the "Little Farm Market" in Brainerd where we purchased seed in bulk. We would pour seeds from a canning jar secured with a special lid with a spout that flipped open to allow the seeds to slide into a small manilla envelope. I proudly accepted the responsibility of writing the seeds' names on the envelopes.
Recently, I purchased a set of 8 canning jars with old seed labels still affixed to the jars' sides. They are lined up in a row and housed in a well-worn wooden box.The labels detail seed information (i.e., how to plant, # of days to germination, light requirements) found on seed packets today, but it is old-fashioned typewriter print complete with frequent mistakes nontypical of Microsoft Word documents today. The greatest treasure is that the jars still contain old, old, very old seed! To my delight, when my Whiteley Creek Homestead Bed and Breakfast guests spy the old seed jars lined up proudly in a row, they begin to share childhood memories of their own!