We try to do everything here with as much love as possible, but we are always finding that we can do things with even MORE love. Why? Because sometimes more love is necessary!
This year it is the Red Shiso that is getting the leaf by leaf super love treatment. Never will our stabilizer have been more full of love.
To back up a step….with the Red Shiso, I listen extremely carefully to all guidance and do everything I can to follow the letter for letter guidance because, while I can mess around with ugly geraniums, WE NEED THE RED SHISO! It is quite literally the life blood of our Essences!
This year we were guided to sow the Red Shiso at the beginning of June. This later date is because the crop is very frost sensitive and especially this year, we had frosts up until then.
Additionally, we were guided to grow the Red Shiso in three different gardens. I figured out the running footage for all these different gardens and divided up our seeds accordingly. All of the young women here helped to dig the rows, add the soil amendments, sow the seeds and then pat them into the earth. The Red Shiso loves to be patted down by children. Perhaps this is because the seeds need light for germination and little feet seem to be able to press the seeds in without the dirt covering the seeds. I also know the Red Shiso likes laughter and song so we sang as we planted.
I know it might seem a little extreme to think about little feet versus big or songs versus no song but not only does this crop matter to us, but it is a tricky plant to grow. Complete crop failures are something I have heard about from folks with a lot of agricultural experience. Several other Flower Essence companies have tried to grow Red Shiso at our recommendation only to have no success. So we pay attention to every last detail down to the songs we sing.
This year there were no children to be had so we used our own feet to pat the seeds down. Perhaps it was our heavier feet that was the X factor. Perhaps it was the endless soggy, wet, cold days of early summer. Perhaps it was the mourning doves that were there scrounging seeds night and day. Perhaps it was our old friends the slugs who so often have threatened our Red Shiso crop. Perhaps it was the seed batch from the seed house. For whatever reason, we had terrible germination. The seeds germinate in 7-14 days so at first we just waited with hopes that things would improve. By the time we were certain that the germination wasn’t going to get better, it was mid-June.
By this time every tiny plant that had germinated was getting the serious love treatment. Attentive weeding is an understatement. We were out there night and day on slug patrol and weed patrol and mourning dove patrol. Checking upstairs for further guidance, we sent for more Red Shiso seeds and reseeded all the gardens.
Then we filled the greenhouse with seed flats sown with Red Shiso. This was a first for us to grow the Red Shiso under glass. Germination was worlds better, especially inside the greenhouse. Within a few weeks, we had baby plants from the greenhouse to plant out and some new babies in the fields as well. The crop was not going to be as thick and luxurious as normal, but there was going to be a crop.
So now we wait to see what this more sparse crop is going to do. Will the plants branch out because they are not so tightly planted? What will we learn from all this? We don’t know exactly.
So much happens here in the summer that it is hard to get any perspective until things quiet down later in the fall. I do know that we have learned that it is possible to love pretty much every single leaf of our Red Shiso crop and have the plants soak in every bit of our care. And we are happy to pour on the love. By season’s end we may well know every plant in all these different gardens by name!
For a view of the Red Shiso growing in this year’s Venus Garden, check out our Facebook page where I posted a photo of the Venus Garden today.