It’s a balmy 14 degrees outside this morning and the snow is coming down. And yet all is not lost!- for I have seed catalogs.
(insert maniacal laughter here)
In the interest of perfect honesty, I received the first of the year’s seed catalogs before Christmas, which is a clever marketing idea; gardeners like semi-personal gifts as much as anyone, and a packet of seeds fits nicely in a stocking. But I didn’t have the time or energy to give them more than a cursory glance until yesterday, when yet another booklet of prettiness arrived in the mail.
So many pretty things. I’m not the type to squeal with delight, or do a little dance, or any other loud or dynamic signs of happiness, but there was a lot of random smiling and contented sighing last night as I flipped through the pages.
I haven’t made a proper plan for the garden, but I’m firmly in the thinking stage. Since I have a very limited space, I might focus on vegetables that I never use enough of when I buy them from the store. Who uses a whole head of celery all in one go, anyway? I sure don’t. But if I could harvest them young and small, or break off a stalk as I need it, I might save a little money and not have to throw away what was a perfectly good vegetable when I brought it home from the store. Same thing with scallions and green beans.
The other possible avenue of focus is to plant varieties that don’t store or travel well, and so aren’t found in grocery stores. Thinner-skinned melons come to mind. I’d plant raspberries, but they won’t start producing in time- perils of living in a rented house and knowing I’ll be moving in a couple of years- which will also mean dragging all of my potted plants halfway across the country.
I’m also going to plant some flowers. Something bright and colorful and completely frivolous, to remind myself why I do this. It’s supposed to be fun, damn it.
But the funniest thing about my love for green and growing things is that I’m not very good at gardening. There are people who can make anything grow, in any situation. I’m not one of those people. My gardens are always kind of… mediocre. I keep the plants alive- usually; I’m still bummed about the zucchini last year; yes, I couldn’t keep a zucchini plant alive- but they never get to the height or size mentioned in the catalog, or produce the expected amounts of fruit, flowers, or vegetables.
But I keep planting things anyway. Because it amuses me, and gives me a reason to go outside- I’m very bad at simply sitting in the backyard and relaxing; possibly an ingrained habit from when I lived on a farm and the chores never ended, so if I don’t have a reason to go out, I don’t.
Someday, I’ll have a little farm of my own, where I can have a bigger garden and plant perennials if I want to. In the meantime, I’m keeping my gardening knowledge somewhat current and having a little fun along the way.