Just to start, two more seed catalogs arrived at my house this week: Vermont Bean and Totally Tomatoes. This means that the planning part of the gardening year is here. I will hazard a guess that I am not the only gardener who already has begun thinking forward to the next round of planting.
This means thinking about which varieties to grow for each vegetable, about how much space to give to each crop, about the best-yet-cheapest ways to add organic matter to the soil, about the crop rotation sequence, about planning for seed saving, about seed starting and whether the fluorescent fixture needs a new bulb. Really, there is just no end to the garden thinking that goes on in winter.
There also, here in the South, are vegetables still in the yard to harvest and eat. In my yard, I have carrots, winter radishes, broccoli, and cabbage that are at a good stage for eating, and there are vegetables that didn’t make it to maturity before the cold set in for me to watch and keep weeded, so they can return to growing as the soil begins to warm again in March. This all takes some thinking, too.
And if, like me, you have a parallel life as a spouse, a parent and a person who has a full-time job, all that thinking has to fit in the spaces between the rest of it. In my own life, the “spaces between” have shrunk down to just cracks for the moment — next week, my youngest son graduates from college, and in three weeks my oldest son is getting married (THREE WEEKS!!!)— but that doesn’t seem to stop my brain from turning toward the garden.