Monday, January 9, 2012

Anticipation: Garden 2012

My sister and I must be on the same wavelength - we're both hailing in the New Year already dreaming of plunging our hands into the warm earth of spring. And with the dreaming and anticipating and planning, comes decisions too.

Decision #1: To seed-catalogue or not to seed-catalogue 
Mine arrived in the mail a month ago or so, to my surprise.  I didn't remember ordering it last year at first, but then I did.  I had poured over it and circled heirloom varieties with exciting descriptions with a dark felt-tipped marker and then I had ordered nothing. I'd found it far easier and more instantly-gratifying to go to my nearest Walmart or Canadian Tire and grab those everyday varieties off the shelf.  Also, I've learned from season after season of lofty dreams that I am not good at growing many vegetables from seed.  I cannot successfully grow tomatoes, for instance, from seed.  I know that bang-for-your-buck, they are the best value if I grow these scarlet beauties from seed in the warmth of my home during the winter months then transplant the seedlings when the weather gets balmier outdoors, but I have never been able to get them that far. So why did I curl up in bed with a pen two nights ago and read through the Ontario Seed Companies 2012 catalogue and scribble down the ones I'd like to order? Because, I figure, I can get wider variety this way.  And if I stick to varieties I can't get from my local gardening store, and if I stick to plants I'd normally grow from seed anyway (like peas, beans, lettuces, squash) then it's still a good deal right?  The average seed packet costs $1.49 or $2.49, which is cheaper than the ones at Canadian Tire. Shipping and handling is $6.95, but I guess that evens things out a bit.  And I want, just once, to grow rainbow carrots!  I want to reach down and be delightfully surprised by the colour in my hand. So this year, I think I actually will place my order and wait excitedly to receive my seeds. Then, at my sister's suggestion, I will probably split my seeds with someone since my garden isn't al that large and, as I understand it, seeds are best in their first year.

Decision #2: Heirloom Tomatoes or no Heirloom Tomatoes?
Last year, my dad grew some Black Currant heirloom tomatoes and some other varities of heirloom tomatoes from seed (proving his thumb is greener than mine) and he generously gave me about 8 seedlings.  Excited by his generosity and never able to turn down free vegetable seedlings, I made room in my flower beds for the plants I couldn't find space for in the garden and I planted them all, along with the beefsteak tomatoes I'd already purchased at the Farmer's Market. Well, Dad's heirloom tomatoes gave me a longer growing season, but a lot of the fruit rotted at the bottom. And some of the tomatoes tasted a bit like grapes. And when the old reliable beefsteak tomatoes did grow, they gave an ABUNDANCE of tomatoes. So despite what is trendy, I'm going to go for volume and reliability this year and just grow beefsteak and roma tomatoes from seedlings.

Decision #3: To expand.
Last fall, we tore down the chicken wire fence and lifted the brick border and we're expanding my veggie patch! My husband and I haven't exactly decided how MUCH we're expanding, but it is definitely going to grow.  I'm a go-big-or-go-home kind of girl and I'd love to just fill the whole side yard with veggies and say hasta la vista to the grass all together, but I'm also famous for biting off more than I can chew and for not weeding one iota, so Mark is probably right to try to reign me in a bit. I did clean my whole flower patch on that side of the yard though and I planted half of the space with garlic bulbs last fall, and just the other day I was outside and I was delighted to see they'd started to sprout.  Cole, my three year old, was convinced they were onions so he yelled, "Go back down, Onions. Go away. Get down, Onions."

Decision #4: Seed pots
If I do decide to try to grow the odd plant from seed indoors and then transplanting the seedlings, I am going to try to do it in a more environmental way - by using Tim Horton's cups instead of purchasing moss pots. I saw someone at the Farmer's Market selling seedlings in these cups once and I was so excited by the idea. So I'm going to start saving my Tim Hortons paper cups for a while, rinsing them out and stacking them in the garage (Mark will LOVE that) just in case I need them.

What decisions have you made about your garden of 2012?

~Miss Greenish Thumb~

No comments: