Sunday, January 8, 2017

Out of Hand

In my experience, January is the time when gardens are most likely to get out of hand.  Not June when the weeds grow faster than the vegetables or August when everything needs to be watered at once.  It's January.  Which is why it is best to make your future gardening plans in August when you have months of gardening under your belt and you might just be a bit more realistic about watering and pests and the size of the harvest.

So I make my detailed plan and if I want to alter it I save the "realistic" plan first so I can go back to it for a reality check.

All through the year I pin things I want or need so I don't forget that I need more earth staples and wire cloches and order more cucumber grids instead.  It also gives me a good reference to go back to files of previous years to see which varieties worked and where I got them.

Strawberry Blonde Marigold
Seed catalogs are flooding in.  I keep a stack by my bed to grow dreams on.  I begin marking varieties I've never heard of in catalogs I've never ordered from.  It takes time to consolidate into reasonable orders so you aren't ordering just one or two things from each supplier.  That's not postally efficient.

 You have to work the system.  For instance, Burpee is having a free shipping on $20 sale, so I ordered $20 of peas and beans knowing that when my order arrives it will have a coupon to use on a $50 order and then I and then I can get my pepper seeds and frivolous things like sunflowers.  And I try not to order Strawberry Blonde Marigolds just to see if they really look like that.  I don't need peach shades of marigolds.  I need yellow and orange ones... but the strawberry ones look so unique....

As the bitter winter wind blows outside my window and my garden beds sleep under mounds of soft snow, I flip through photos of warm, barefoot summer days with lush foliage and tidy rows and I lose all sense of perspective.

I think fondly of warm Saturday mornings with the sun on the rise and the dew fresh and clean on perfect leaves and I lose all control.

I remember picking bushels of fresh lettuce and baskets of peas and I dream of acres of plants and a harvest that will feed a small army.

I remember fondly the sweltering heat of summer and pickle day.

Pickle Day 2011
And these are the things that lead to over planning.  Before I know it I'm making lists of things like winter squash and fennel and artichokes.  None of which I eat or have room for.  I get wild ideas about growing enough pumpkins to line the length of the driveway or Indian corn or pop corn.  I begin to think it would be wise to have a medicinal herb garden.

The Jungle Garden 2008
Yes this is how gardens get out of hand.  It's January that does it.  It's probably best just to forget about gardening until March and then surprise yourself with the orderly lists you made last August.  And stay out of the seed catalogs!


  1. You definitely need some popcorn! Seriously!

  2. I fall to the allure of the catalogs. I make lists. I TRY to stick to them....but there is always that NEW and IMPROVED gem that I end up getting. I'm getting better at resisting, but oh, those colorful catalogs!!!!