Seeds Into Shoots

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Rachael Brown


The days after we planted our first seeds were agonizing. For starters, the weather was unhelpful. It poured cold rain, so much so that I feared our tiny seeds would be washed away, and the following week, temperatures soared into the 80s, unseasonably hot for D.C. in early April. Bryan started stopping by the garden every day after work and would arrive home looking crestfallen, with no sprouts to report.

To cheer him up, I emailed him this video, with the note that Obama wants us to be patient. He didn't find it very funny.



But then, slowly, finally, they came! First a slender green growth peeked out from the furrow in which we'd planted chard, and then, here and there, delicate red stems that promised beets. The carrots were slower, but after about two weeks their tufted greens began to show. We fear, however, for our onions, whose rows remain bare and lifeless. (Click here to see a slide show of our garden's first signs of life.)

Yet, to all of you more experienced gardeners out there, a question: what on earth are those little green things that have started to pop up all over the place? We know they're weeds because they're growing indiscriminately in all of the rows, including those where we haven't planted yet, but does anyone know what they are, or what to do about them?

Next steps: weeding like crazy, and getting our second round of seedlings started indoors—tomatoes, green beans, and lettuce. Summer salads, here we come!

Other gardening readers, have your seeds sprouted yet?

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Rachael Brown is a writer and analyst for Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. A former Atlantic editor, she has written for The Guardian and Smithsonian.com, among other outlets. She is also a former public high school teacher.

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