Opening act for a blossom and carrot coloured Holi
It's sometimes warm enough now to take my dawn cup of tea on the front porch, where I enjoy a ringside seat on the enchanted illumination marking the threshold of the day.
Today as the light show bathed my plans for just another beautiful day at the 6th Avenue Shala, I was reminded that, with this full worm moon, the spring festival of Holi is here.
Outback the apricot, now adorned in a froth of lightly fragrant blossoms, is abuzz with a million busy pollinators who need no sunrise pink and orange sky palette to remind them that it's spring.
I'm grateful that the seasonal winds have gentled somewhat for the moment, to allow these blossoms reach their peak.
Hopefully the bees will have done their work, and some fruit will set before the next big blow.
My first project for the day is to make carrot seed tape, using toilet paper, seeds and water. Apparently it's that simple.
Carrot seeds are very small and squirmy. Typically hand sowing means the seeds end up in clumps and, once they germinate, require a lot of thinning. Carrots do not transplant well but one can make a passable earthy flavored pesto with carrot thinnings.
The rationale behind seed tape is that it helps distribute the tiny seeds more evenly.
I've not made seed tape myself before. Some online research gave me an idea of what to do. Seeds are distributed in a fine line on strips of toilet paper. I made mine 3 ft lengths for ease of handling. I then misted the seeds with water from a spray bottle to make them stay put, before folding the strip lengthwise and misting again.
My strips of seed were then laid out in previously prepared beds, and hastily, because pesky trickster wind gusts had other plans for placement, covered lightly with the sandy soil.
I discover that this process requires a light hand. The wet toilet paper is fragile, already dissolving as I complete the planting. I could have used newspaper strips but who reads hard copy newspapers any more?
In my seed stash I found I had seeds of Pusa Rudhira red and Pusa Asita black carrots, both varieties originally bred in India and reputed to have high heat tolerance, as well as red core Chantenay and some short stubby orange carrots.
My original plan had been to plant carrots in autumn last year, but art market busyness kept my attention focused elsewhere. I've read that carrot seed does not remain viable for long so they all went in. Playing Holi in the garden is my tradition, after all.
I wonder what the alchemy of sun, earth and water will yield over the next few months.
Fingers crossed the always present doves don't get to the seed before it germinates. I suspect them of having feasted on much of the black poppy seeds sown a month back.
But what do I know?
Happy Holi! May your life be as filled with colour and light as a New Mexican dawn.