Bird of paradise (Photo by Joshua Siskin)
Bird of paradise (Photo by Joshua Siskin)
Pelleted seeds (Photo courtesy gardenandgreenhouse.net)
Pelleted seeds (Photo courtesy gardenandgreenhouse.net)

The biggest mistake people make when planting seeds is to plant them too deep, whereupon they rot. Seeds should not be planted deeper than a depth equal to their own length. Keep in mind that, in nature, seeds germinate where they fall, which is on the soil surface. I have found that most seeds will sprout if sprinkled over the soil surface, as long as they are covered with a thin layer of water-retentive compost to keep them hydrated until germination occurs. It is advisable to water daily until at least three true leaves (not including cotyledons or seed leaves) are seen, if not beyond, depending on the weather.

“Life is a process of planting seeds for the future. This is how Adam (from adama, the Hebrew word for earth) got his name. For the virtue of earth is found in the plants that grow out of it and in their seeds. From these seeds will come more plants and more seeds and then more plants and seeds, and on and on. So, too, a human being, whose seeds are thoughts and actions from which new thoughts and actions will sprout forth, from one generation to the next, without end.”

The above metaphor, likening human beings to earth, and thoughts and actions to seeds, was written in the early years of the 20th century by Ya’akov Moshe Harlap, a Jerusalem rabbi. But now, what if our thoughts and actions were centered around planting actual seeds? What then?

Sometimes I have this thought: If every man and woman on Earth were to plant a few seeds each day, world peace would soon prevail. I simply cannot imagine that people who regularly plant seeds would become criminals or terrorists.

There is no more uplifting experience, no more magical or mysterious encounter, than witnessing the germination of seeds you have planted. Once the baby plants start to grow, your curiosity grows along with them. Your zinnia seeds came from a packet of mixed colors, and you wonder what will be the colors of the flowers that develop.

Or you have planted seeds of an heirloom tomato variety whose taste is from a distant time and place, and you can hardly wait to bite into history along with the ripening fruit. Mostly, though, you are a proud parent following the progress of your offspring, visiting them many times throughout the day.

The process is miraculous, after all. Some seeds are so small that you could fit many of them on the head of a pin. Consider that 250,000 petunia seeds weigh one ounce or that 11,000 tomato seeds, gigantic by comparison, weigh the same. So from these tiny bits of protoplasm grow waves of flowers or bushels of fruit.

Moreover, there is an even greater mystery involved since no two seeds are the…