Gardening

On Making Good Decisions

The annual flood of seed catalogs began in early December, and as usual I was easily seduced by their offerings. My favorite catalogs are obsessively highlighted, and I compiled shopping lists that approached mildly ridiculous double-digit sums. But as any “responsible” gardener does, I pulled out my seed box to take inventory before dropping hard earned cash on possible duplicates and unrealistic choices, and then reality set in. I have stuff from two years ago I haven’t even opened up, and the dreaded duplicate packets of some things exist in my stock already. Add that to the fact that I’ve got very little full-sun areas to work with, and the shady areas are already planted with shade-tolerant perennials, and it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that I do not need to purchase any seeds this year. Not even one packet. I need to grow out what I have so I don’t waste the money I’ve already spent, and the husband and I agreed we’d take some time off from investing in new perennials and focus on annual gardening for the next little while. While this makes me a little bit sad and annoyed, I do have plenty in my kit to keep me excited this year, both edible and ornamental. For flowers, I’ve got snapdragons, morning glories, marigolds, sunflowers, calendula, and more. Edibles, I’ve got all our favorites already – onions, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots – even pumpkins and watermelon (though who knows where I’ll find the space to actually grow those). And I’ve got herbs like mustard and dill to keep my expansion of my special herb garden growing (I’m digging up another little patch of basic orange daylilies to make more room).

So I think this summer will be the great seed grow out of 2019 – work through my stocks and cram things into every nook and cranny. It’ll help me narrow down further the varieties I like, and the ones that don’t just work for us (which is part of the reason I suspect I have such a big stock as it is) This focus will also give me a chance to work on things I’ve been lazy about in the last few years, such as proper succession planting and season extension. I’m going to grow out all of my brassicas as a fall crop this year, because last season’s spring attempt failed miserably. With that in mind, I really want to try my hand at cold frame gardening to extend the brassica harvest in the early winter months, so having the summer to build a few frames will be ideal. And I’m excited to grow out some globe onions this year, as I’ve only done scallions for the last few. Speaking of, they’re one of the earliest seeds to start in the growing year, so I really ought to get those into trays soon – sounds like I have a project for the upcoming long weekend. One of the reasons I love gardening is it has so much to offer – honest work and good food in the production months, and cozy dreaming and planning in the off season. Time to draw up my garden plans!

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