Before you know it, Spring planting will be here

>> Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally, the gardening bug has bitten me. It might seem surprising that someone, such as myself, who loves to garden would have to wait for something to kick me in the pants to get me going. But it’s not surprising to me. You see, I go through this every year. After a couple of months of down time, that I didn’t ask for, the lull becomes comfortable and familiar. Other things take up my time and, besides, the weather is too dreary to contemplate being in the garden anyway. Oh, how I envy those of you who can garden year round.

Then, one day, in my case yesterday while reading garden blogs, nature’s clock awakens that familiar twitch and itch to get something going. Now I am all gang busters to get it all started.

You know how it is through the summertime and all throughout the fall, when things in the garden are humming along smoothly it is easy to get caught up in that perfect synchronization that is nature. When the daily machinations of doing something you truly enjoy, when all is right with the world, when zen has a tight grip on you and refuses to let go, you are suddenly faced with something else you have no control over, something you knew was coming but nonetheless are never completely prepared for, like winter, breaks up the party. The high that sustained you for several months, performing all those glorious garden chores like growing, cultivating, pruning, harvesting, and, yes, even weeding, comes to an abrupt end and suddenly there is nothing to do.

So, now that my internal alarm has gone off and I realize that I have had enough rest, next years party can’t come soon enough. I cozy up to that forever-growing stack of garden catalogs that seems to produce two new ones for every one I open, and with my trusty yellow highlighter, start building my seed dream list.

Without regard to the amount of space I have available, and without even considering my lack of money to afford it all, I feed my ravenous garden junkie and allow my ‘dream list’ to grow until I contemplate taking out a second mortgage to afford it all. I mean, I could start a seed catalog business just from my own selections! After toning down my indulgence and curbing my enthusiasm, I begin the daunting task of matching my list with reality. Seriously, I don’t really need eight varieties of tomato, and I simply don’t have the space for six varieties of pepper plants and ten varieties of basil. I don’t even have a grape arbor for the three varieties of grapes I have chosen! I need help.

Switching gears, I begin compiling a list of ways to support my habit. No, I’m not talking about selling my car or offering my, um, services at an hourly rate. Of course, I could…, out the question. By support, I mean that grape arbor my wife has been itching for, a cold frame or two to get the season off to an earlier start, various trellises for squash, cucumbers and melons. I saw, in a magazine, a strawberry post and thought I could do that. So one strawberry post has been added to my to do list.

Also, I want to create a butterfly garden using containers on my deck and I will add insectary plants to attract more beneficial insects.

Plastic milk jugs have been collected, peat pots have been bought, the heating pad and grow lights are ready to be plugged in, and liquid fertilizer has been prepared.

Let the season begin.


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