Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Grow Your Own

Before Christmas I saw a gift guide that suggested these "grow your own tree" kits.

I knew this would be the perfect gift for the Sergeant, who loves growing and nurturing plants, and who wants to plant more trees in our yard that will produce food (we've got peach and apple trees, with a cherry on the way). He's super-conscientious about watering and feeding all our houseplants, most of which would have expired long ago if I were in charge of them.

The company that makes these kits has many varieties, including trees such as gingkos, bristlecone pines and palm trees, and plants such as Venus fly traps, sunflowers and poppies. I debated over what kind of tree to choose, but the piƱon is native to Colorado and produces pine nuts, which we love. So it wasn't a very long debate.

The kit is not large or complex — you could certainly just buy seeds and make your own — but it's nicely packaged and comes with charming instructions. That's what makes it a good gift.

The process includes refrigerating the seeds for a while, then putting their little greenhouse in a sunny spot. Of the handful of seeds we got, just one sprouted (the company guarantees sprouting, so they'll send more if the first batch is a dud). I wish I'd gotten a photo of the little sprout with the seed husk still attached. The Sergeant finally pulled off the husk because it was constricting the top of the seedling.

You can see it's quite tiny, this greenhouse, and the seedling is tinier still. Eventually the seedling will grow big enough to be transferred to a pot and then, many years hence, transplanted outside.

If you doubt the Sergeant's ability to keep this tree going that long, consider the wee Norfolk pine he got as a Christmas gift many years ago. The kind of mini Christmas tree you might find at the grocery store around the holidays. I posted about it 10 years ago (holy cow!) when it was 12 feet tall and he was "a friend" and not "the Sergeant." Now that tree is 35 feet tall, planted in his parents' back yard.

Grow Kits are sold by the Jonsteen Co. in Humboldt, California. Click here for a list.

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