Four days ago, I started planting my early season crops of peas, spinach, beets, radishes, carrots, Swiss chard, and leaf lettuce. I set out to grow a veggie rainbow, so my seed choices consist of organic heirloom varieties not found in the normal grocery store produce aisle. My "Easter Egg Blend" Radishes are purple, pink, and red. My "Gourmet Blend" Beets are yellow, red, purple, and orange. My "Bright Lights" Swiss Chard stem colors are yellow, orange, pink, and red. My "Purple Queen" Bush Bean is... well, purple.
Yesterday, my sister Rita and I voluteered at the Friends School Plant Sale held annually at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. The event is so well organized, so our assigned task was really very simple. After locating plants on a pricing list, we attached a hang tag or inserted a wooden marker with the price already written on it. We were rewarded with a presale "golden ticket" which allowed us to shop the evening before the sale is open to the public, therefore we weren't disappointed with sold out plants as has happened in our pre-volunteering days. For plants, just like my seed choices, I looked for color. I purchased plants that will bear red, yellow, black cherry, purple, black, and orange tomatoes. My sweet peppers are "Valencia Orange' and I bought two standard purple eggplants because their deep color is so striking. Are you beginning to imagine the color burst when these veggies are plated up in mid-summer? I placed the plants in my small greenhouse to await warmer springtime temperatures. (See photo above.)
From the plant sale I also selected two varieties of coleus. One has large reddish copper-colored leaves and the other variety has lime green and red wine-colored oak leaf shaped foliage. Besides the unique color combos, the reason I like coleus is that it brings back memories of Professor David Kramer's Life Science Class I attended at St. Cloud State University twenty-two years ago. He used coleus for many of his lessons and labs so it, along with every plant and animal that was meaningful to his lessons, was all around us. My friend Pat shared a quote with me that best describes my emotion when I entered Dr. Kramer's classroom. "In the forest, there is an incomprehensible order that to the mind looks like chaos. It is beyond the mental categories of good and bad. You cannot understand it through thought, but you can sense it when you let go of thought, become still and alert, and don't try to understand or explain. Only then can you be aware of the sacredness of the forest. As soon as you sense that hidden harmony, that sacredness, you realize you are not separate from it, and when you realize that, you become a conscious participant in it. In a way, nature can help you become realigned with the wholeness of life." A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle