My Garden Post
I've been threatening to do a garden post for a few weeks now but because of the weather and some comments I decided to post about other topics instead. It seems that everyone is settling into the new year now, the resolutions have either became a habit so talking about them isn't as vital or they've just been forgotten all together. Some people are finally starting to recover financially from shut downs and holidays so money complaints are also back to just the normal "if I win the lottery" talks. After last weeks blast of cold and then a warm up of almost 50 degrees a lot of people are thinking about spring and warmer weather. I am guilty! Spring, summer and fall are pretty busy times for me and it makes me look forward to winter so I can get a break from the physical work and also a chance to relax my brain from all the planning and visions of future projects. Honestly I get pretty lazy in the winter, not always a bad thing but I've had a few months to relax and now I'm ready to get at it again....
Usually in January I start getting seed catalogs in the mail, lots and lots of seed catalogs and every January my recycle and compost bins get filled up with new materials. Its too early to start thinking about the gardens. Then February shows up and more catalogs, these catalogs have a special place on the kitchen table for a few days, I page through each one carefully and imagine what kind of new things are coming out, there are always new flowers and even vegetable combinations out there. I narrow the pile down to the two catalogs with the newest flowers and most heirloom vegetable seeds and page through them tirelessly until I find a better one. February is still a little early too early for garden thoughts here but with what I have planned I need to start the planning stages. With everything going on last year, my garden kind of got put on the bottom of the to do list and was just thrown together with no real thought. That approach can work but I spent most of the summer trying to correct mistakes that I made from not planning. Usually when I prepare my vegetable garden it gets tilled at least four times, doing this has cut down on weeding a lot. Last year I tilled once and planted, so basically what I did was bring all the weed seeds up to the surface so they could get a great start in my garden. I lost my kale crop because there we too many weeds and I finally gave up and tilled them all under. I also planted my tomatoes too close to each other thinking.....well I don't even know what I was thinking. I ended up losing a lot of tomatoes to rot just because I couldn't get to some them. Normally I make a list of what I am going to plant and then see what plants grow well together and which ones don't and I have a map of where everything is going to go, last year i went to the green house and picked out all the flowers and vegetables I thought I wanted to grow with really no thought at all. I was too busy last year and it really showed, lesson learned and so this year I'll go back to the semi ocdish planning of my garden in February.
When I talk to other people about my garden I generally get two responses, either its "a lot of work" or " I just go to the store or Amish auction". Both are very valid points and gardening isn't for everyone. Gardening also puts you in direct connection with mother nature, which relieves stress, gives you tons of vitamin D from sun exposure and gives you the satisfaction of growing your own food and knowing exactly whats in or on it. In all honesty when I started my first vegetable garden I had big dreams of never going to the grocery store again and of course that dream died pretty fast, I did however can enough pickles to last for a decade, I'll save that story for another time. Honestly, if your goal is to have fresh tomatoes for your grilled burgers or some cucumbers for your salads anyone can do that, both can be grown in a container on a balcony or patio. If you have bigger plans like I do then you need to do a lot more planning and time to preserve your harvest, because once it starts it seems like your always picking or weeding or canning something. I'm actually really looking forward to that this summer because its the first time in my life the I've had a three day weekend to work with and my intentions are to have a pantry full of garden vegetables to last the winter. The smell when you open a mason jar filled with home made tomato sauce in December is amazing!
In addition to the vegetable garden I also have fruit trees and berries. I don't know if you can really consider planting trees, gardening but to me its all part of the same thing and it also takes a lot more planning because unlike a yearly garden, where you plant trees is pretty much where its going to be forever. You also have to be a lot more patient with fruit because in general they take a few years before you get any real production. This is probably the hardest thing for me, I'm not the most patient person when it comes to gardening, so far I haven't got enough of any fruits to do anything with but I keep hoping. I have the same goals with my fruit, I want to be able to have fresh fruit in the summer but I'm also hoping someday to add canned fruits to my pantry too. I also dabble in a little wine making, so that is also a reason for the fruits. Where I live our winters get too cold for a lot of fruits so be aware of "zones" when your buying especially from catalogs because they have plants that are made for every where, I have peaches that are more cold hardy but one late frost and I wont see any peaches that year. I have noticed a lot of bush varieties coming out though and have thought about trying lemon or lime and bringing them inside during the winter, might be worth an experiment, I'm going to do some more research on that and see if its possible to keep them alive in my garage under some lights. In the past though the biggest issue has been just not making time to bring things in and also finding a place for them. I've always thought it would be cool to have an olive tree or something like that, maybe this year?
Of course I also have flower gardens. When I bought our house my mom and dad came over and we planted over 800 tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, and crocus bulbs in my front yard and I have since added more. I look forward to the flowers coming up every year because its a sign that spring is almost here and warmer weather follows. This year it will bring back the memories of us planting all those flowers together and how much fun we had doing it. I'm always trying to think of a new place for a flower garden and I added two new flower beds last year and have plans to add a lot more around our pool this spring. I want to plant a big fairy garden for my grand daughters which will include a mermaid statue with her tail in the pool, there will be pictures in future blogs I promise. Along with the perennials I always visit our local green house and plant annuals to fill in the spaces, again I am looking forward to this year where I'll have three days to plant instead of only two. I am already planning my newest gardens and spring can't get here soon enough.
Thursdays high of almost sixty degrees was only a teaser it seems, today the high is only supposed to reach seventeen and winter continues. For now I'll page through catalogs and make my garden plans on paper and imagination. Traditionally in our area mothers day weekend is planting time so I have three months to go. Well that gave a little bit of an idea of things to come and a little break from nutrition and stress related topics so until next time friends have a happy hippie life.