It’s a rushed late Tuesday afternoon of work deadlines, I am tired and not looking forward to making dinner, there’s a foot of lake-effect snow predicted to fall on the two feet already out there but I am (thankfully) not out of ideas or –more importantly–ingredients for quick dinners. Tonight? Tomato soup and (homemade cheddar) cheese toasts, plus a greenhouse salad.
You see, all I need to do is run to the basement to pick up a jar of my tomato sauce, an onion and a head of garlic from their various spots in storage. Salad requires a greenhouse trip. For me, the nightly ritual of harvesting greens, chopping onions and garlic and washing and spinning salad is as soothing and as spiritually uplifting as religious services are to others. Thockthock says the knife, SssSss say the onions in their fat bath, Wabbadywabbady goes the spinner. Not quite frankincense and myrrh, sermons and communal incantations yet I become stilled, even if I am rushed.
And it’s last year’s spring planning that got me here on this January night. It’s that time again: have you paid close attention to all those seed catalogs clogging your mailbox? (Please note: there are worthy non-catalog alternatives, too.) It is TIME, people, to consider what you’re planting this year. And as you will see, the seed prices have risen in the exact uptick that the popularity of gardening has, or so it would seem to me. Granted, $3. for a packet of seeds is still a comparative bargain. Consider it an investment: think about it as an advance on your future.
Better yet: plan for more garden space destined not just for food harvest. Grow your own seeds and you might spend the grand total of $40 that I sent to the seed companies last year.
Yes. Forty dollars. Forty dollars, twenty-five of which were spent, crazily, on the sweet potato slips; fifteen seed-lousy dollars, plus seed-saving from years’ past, and I fed not just my family but–on average–four others this fall and winter. Greenhouses, seed-saving, succession planting all equal food security. They equal food security, even food abundance, and easy January dinners.
Get your highlighters out!
Absolutely! I love running to the basement to grab the ingredients for dinner that I grew myself. The seeds are so inexpensive for what you get. They’re pretty easy to save yourself too!
Oh Man, I can’t wait. Wants me a greenhouse this spring, and a row of rhubarb on the north side of the house on Franklin Street. Hops climbing up the telephone poles. Michigan Wisteria transplanted to the Rt. 7 side of the yard, and maybe some grapes. Want to remember to get some caster beans going before the gov’t tells me they’re forbidden (can you believe that ANYone can tell you you’ll go to prison if you plant a seed?)
It doesn’t take an immense lot of work to preserve and store enough food for two people. Well. Not Immense but a lot. I love it, though.
Thockthock … SssSss… Wabbadywabbady …hey I recognize those sounds.:) The kitchen and garden are my church too.We ordered very few seeds this year and did so early, of course there were still backorders…arrg. Enjoy that soup, it sounds good .
Ah…garden planning. I thought I was in a slump last year because my life was up in the air, but this year is even worse! If I’m still in the flea motel known as my rental shack, then the only gardening space I have is a 20×20′ plot at my work place’s community garden – a HUGE drop from my fifteen 3×17″ beds, three 3×8′ beds, six 3×5′ beds and two 3×18′ beds. IF I am lucky and have vacated this abode by having the fortune to have found and purchased (and closed on) a new house, I will have to be gardening from scratch once more – removing grass and making beds. All those lovely catalogues – I haven’t had the heart to open them. Maybe I’ll just do spuds and onions.
Ellen, Don’t feel bad transition is always tough. I was in your place last summer, it is past now and I’m excited for my first garden in my new place this year! Just breathe! Liz
I need to live next door to you so I can bend your ear in person! But I am grateful that you share here! I plan on having a garden this year that actually produces something that we can put up. Our 5yo had one last year and she has some success with tomatoes and with her sunflowers. Otherwise we lost everything to inexperience on my part. Hoping more advanced planning helps us have a better outcome. 🙂
Well, fine. I had JUST finished going through my usual catalogs, making my usual spreadsheet of what I want and who has it, and was about to make my final choices…and then you had to go and link to that old post of yours. More seed sources! More choices!!! I may go over the edge.
But, I thank you anyway, because I’m planning to install a new fruit garden this spring and it turns out that Fedco has the apricot I’ve been looking for.
It is a comfort, in a winter like this, to flip through those enticing pages and dream of greener days, take inventory of the seed supply, clean up the seed-starting area, imagine new things springing to life. I just need to remind myself not to start too soon, or be overwhelmed with wan and leggy seedlings well before planting-out time.
The currants and gooseberries in the Jung catalog really caught my eye, like bouquets of jewels.
Funny you should mention it…Every evening for the last week or so after putting the kiddos to bed, I slink into my own bed and pull out my pink highlighter and one of my favorite seed catalogs. It feels so good and this little slice of solitude is bliss! It’s exciting though to order less and less seed each year as I save more as I gain experience.
Thanks for sharing the link of the woman near you teaching the classes. I’m waiting on a couple babes to come and then I’ll try to rouse up a field trip of lady friends to head to your neck of the woods! 🙂
Mom! Isn’t it fun? We eat so well, for a little effort on our parts…and a small seed-money investment. Sun, rain, dirt, seeds.
Sharon. What’s with the new website, can I join? We have one of those wisteria: it’s quite beautiful until the Japanese beetles come along. And I have grown castor plants before: they’re quite massive, quite show-stoppers! I will research to see if I still have some seeds hanging around; I might be able to illegally mail you some.
Mike, my seed list is tiny again this year too. Haven’t ordered yet! I am going through that weird phase of actually wanting one particular thing so that means I might need to order from one particular company and am not so sure I am happy about that 😛 I loved your seed posts incidentally!
Ah, Ellen. I hear you. We sold our city house in the summer: what do I do about the veg garden? Tomatoes don’t ripen in MN until mid Aug.! So this means you’re still staying in the Adirondacks, eh? Maybe the community garden will be just fine…it will mean you’re gardening this year at least.
Liz, thanks and congratulations! Ah, how exciting, a blank slate!
JoAnn, I have a post in my head about beginning gardeners, and what success in the garden should mean. The Cliffs notes version: you gotta pay attention! It’s great about your daughter though, you really need to cultivate it in her (pardon the pun).
Karen, how exciting: I love apricots!! And yeah seed choices. I sigh a lot here but in all honesty there’s less choice than you would think…compared to 100 years ago surely. But as long as people are gardening, I am fine with that.
Brett, I grew lingonberries for a few years before tiring of them (having only ever had them in MN before). Currants and gooseberries, got them too: prickly things! I love them because they’re the very first things to set leaves anywhere on our land. But yeah, don’t start too early.
Amanda, you would love Shawna, so I hope the babies hold off and you and your friends can come on out. I will need to see what else she’s teaching, and I will continue to put her info. on my site…she’s such a good resource. And happy gardening dreaming to you!