Growing Things

It’s been too long between blogs, again. Sorry, but I have been ‘growing’ the novel I’m writing during National Novel Writing Month! It is slow going, and I’m only up to 8,631 words, with just 19 days to go to make it to 50,000 words. Think I’ll make it?

The first couple of novel writing days were stressful, as I knew what I wanted to have happen in my novel, but I didn’t know how to make it happen. However, during a long walk on the third day, I finally figured it out and the story has grown since then.

Last Sunday I took the morning off from writing (after taking Friday and Saturday off too, due to football weekend activities) to work on another growing project–the item on my bucket list that says “plant a tree from a seed.”

During my fall walks (and bike rides), I have been picking up tree seeds, nuts, pods, and cones, and it was past time to prepare them for germination. Thank heavens for the internet, where you can find all sorts of information on planting trees from seeds, as well as help identifying the seeds you have picked up.

Here is the final product from Sunday’s work.20151108_112945_resized_1 There are sweetgum and unidentified seeds from pods in bags of damp sphagnum moss that have been placed in the refrigerator for 120 days, catalpa pods in a paper bag, and pine seeds in a dry container. These latter two are waiting for spring in a cool, dry place that is not a refrigerator.

The funny thing about the internet instructions on how to plant trees from seeds is that most of them say in one way or another that “IT IS EASY TO GROW A (insert tree name) FROM A SEED!” and then the site goes on to list fifteen delicate steps to getting such a seed to germinate. So, I forge ahead.

The internet also helped me confirm that the prickly pod that I had found was a sweetgum seed container, 20151108_104832_resizedand told me that the little white or light brown things I shook out of the pod (no, not the little white worms that also came out; I knew what they were!) were unfertile seeds and that only the things with black wings were fertile. A fascinating fact! And I needed to know which things to plant, so you can’t call this fact useless knowledge!

Not many pine seeds came out of the pine cone when I shook it, so I have little hope that they will germinate–success rates for tree seed germination are very low, says the internet. 20151108_112603_resizedThe instructions for germinating pine seeds said to put them in damp sand for a couple of months. Well, nowhere on our lot is there sand. Makes one wonder how seeds germinate in southern Indiana’s dense clay. I went with the alternate method of keeping the seeds in a dry container until spring.

I also learned that some seeds, especially nuts like acorns, should be subjected to the float test. Those that sink to the bottom are good seeds, and those that float probably won’t germinate. 20151108_111931_resizedThe nut that floated for me had a large worm hole in it, so it was obviously bad. The acorn at the bottom turned out to be rotten, however, so I’m unimpressed with the accuracy of the float test.

You can watch one of many videos on YouTube to learn how to do a float test. More fascinating than sweetgum is that we have become such a visual society that people would rather watch a two-minute video than take two seconds to read the instruction that says if your nut floats, it is no good! It makes me wonder whether those 50,000 words I write this month will actually be read, or if all my readers will wait for the movie to come out.