On seed catalogs and weather

>> Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weather seems to be the big news item these days so I’ll start off about ours here in Utah. During the past week we have ranged from 16F overnight to highs in the upper 20’s. Clouds have been regular guests here with no signs of going away anytime soon. The humidity is pretty steady at 28-29%.

We got 3” of snow last Saturday and another 1” on Sunday. There is more snow predicted this week with possible rain on Friday. But we here in Utah have learned that predictions usually turn out to be wrong, or at least put off a few days.

With nothing much to do outside due to the cold, I am happy that I started receiving garden catalogs and it seems next years garden layout will soon need to be worked out. This year has flown by pretty quickly.

I feel fortunate that the garden beds and tools have been cleaned up last month and now the only thing hanging over me is planning for next year and seed starting.

I have a very small seed-starting operation which consists of a small folding card table under two four foot long shop lights. I can fit four seed trays on it, with a little overhang. The ambient room temperature in this little store room is around 60F and it was warm enough for most of the seeds I started last winter to germinate. I still feel the need to go over my notes and quiz the experts to determine what I can do to improve the germination rate. The heat mat was placed under the warm-season seeds, like tomatoes and peppers, and almost all of them came up. I still have some sterilized seed starting soil left from last year and a bunch of peat pots and trays so the supply situation seems to be okay.

I am happy with the overall size of my gardening landscape and plan on adding to it slowly and I keep having to remind myself that the gardens I see in my fellow gardeners’ blogs are more mature than mine as they have been at this a little longer than I have. This is the first winter for my perennial beds and as such I am anxious about how they will fair. It is both a test of the plants ability to survive temperature swings from teens to middle thirties that Utah is known for and it is a test of how well I have both interpreted what to do for their survival as well as what I have actually done.

In deciding what I want to plant this year I am a bit intimidated by what everyone else has accomplished. So many garden blogs I read show garden spaces that are much larger than mine. I have to restrain myself from going overboard and remember not to start more plants than what I have space for. But then I think, if I grow the plants then I will have to expand the beds for them. This could be a dangerous way to go and doesn’t fit in at all with my overall garden master plan. I have containers I could put them in until the bed is ready. Holding back and doing a little each year is the most difficult part of garden planning. So I will have to keep my seed order small.

As far as that planning thing goes, I had written down ideas over the past nine months of blog reading and recorded my ‘wish list’ on my computer. The problem is that I recently suffered a computer crash when my motherboard crapped out on me and I had not saved the latest version of my wish list. So, I have to rely on my memory, a scary prospect at best. All is not lost however, because in going through the garden catalogs I am sure I will be able to find something I want to plant, whether it fits in with my plan or not. I really do try to be disciplined, but I am making no promises.

Patience is a virtue, so they say, but spring is still way too far away.


Scarecrow December 16, 2007 at 8:28 PM  

Wow Greg Snow!!
It all looks so clean and white but soooo cold!
We never have more than a slushy sprinkling of snow over here in Australia but we do get nasty frosts.
I hate it when a computer crash reminds me that I haven't backed up all my information. Perhaps you should write your 'wish-list' up as a blog entry as well...it's another form of backing up your information.
As for my seed/plant names I do keep a look out for the unusual but you should have access to many unusual varieties over there too.
I see lots on overseas blogs that I know I can't get here and our quarantine laws here don't allow us to get in easily.
Perhaps you could try a seed savers network near where you live.
Thanks for visiting my blog and enjoy you winter 'snow world' and think of us here 'down under' sweltering in yet another heatwave.

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