Monday, January 26, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

So here we are, in the depths of one of the snowiest, coldest winters I can remember. I look out across my garden and think of all the work to come. There will be false starts, spring-like days followed by 8 inch snow falls. The soil will remain soggy and unworkable for days then weeks after the dates the gardening guides suggest for spring peas, onion sets and potatoes. I will lament over the fact that I have yet to create even one raised bed on higher ground to use while I am impatiently waiting for the big garden to dry. I will pray for sunshine and wind. I will put on my muck boots and wade out in the soft earth to cover sections with black plastic hoping to shed the excess rain and collect as much heat from the sun as possible. Newly ordered gardening supplies will begin to pile up on the porch, taunting me. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done, and many weeks to wait patiently.

Each winter I rejoice in the arrival of the seed catalogs. I read and plan, adjusting my garden map laid out in more sensible August days when the zucchinis were piling up, and the weeds were running rampant. I order new gardening books to read. I sort through my leftover seed packets. I prioritise which orders should be placed now to ensure a supply of that most cherished and anticipated variety, and which orders can wait until later. When the seeds arrive, I will tuck them away in my antique seed box, my box of treasures.

This year, gardening will be easy. We are expecting a new foal at the end of March, and we have projects left over from last summer, like building a deck, and replacing the landscaping that had to come out when we did the front porch. I suspect I will not get the "Big Garden" in. That means no sweet corn or new red potatoes, no quarts of green beans in the freezer. But, I refuse to give up my tomatoes and eggplants. Rest assured there will at least be a "pot garden" tucked among the perennials and up against the garage. This means I will still have to start two flats of seeds in the dining room. I imagine my husband will exclaim "but you said you weren't going to do this!" Just wait until he sees how many zucchini I can grow in a whiskey barrel!