Another 2 hour delay today, but at least we didn’t get what the Midwest and Northeast got. I say “at least” but I truly wouldn’t have minded being snowed in, other than the fact that we’d be in school until July. They’ve already taken away everything but my birthday for make-up days now. Oh well, I have great students and coworkers to look forward to, so forward we go with the school year!
In January it is easy to get jaded, what with the bleak weather and shorter days. It is comforting to think forward to spring, planting our gardens, mowing our yards, watching flowers spring from the earth, I can already smell spring, can’t you? It’s the perfect time to begin planning your garden, especially if you’re in the southern states where the growing season starts much earlier. Last year my husband built me three, 4×12 raised beds that run alongside our house. I would like to think I have a green thumb that has been passed down from generations of farmers, but last year darn near everything in my garden died…except for the weeds that I mistook for eggplant. I nearly cried when I watched my husband rip out the ginormous weeds that I was waiting to give forth eggplant. I almost gave up, but the desire for fresh, organic, self-grown vegetables was far too strong to be defeated. I planted some herbs and cold weather greens and ended up with a few more (edible) things growing in my garden before the winter came.
I comforted myself with the reasoning that it had been SO hot in Virginia last summer that everyone’s gardens must have gone up in flames like mine had. Fortunately my neighbor hadn’t had much luck, at least I didn’t have to look at someone elses Eden next to my Sahara Desert. This year I pray for better weather so that I can grow something beside weeds that resemble cannabis and eggplant. I plan to focus on the vegetables I know will grow no matter what, such as; squash, spinach, tomatoes, collards, penny sized beets, and parsley…which were the only things I got from my garden last year. It may sound good, but I planted a large variety just so that at least SOMETHING would make it, I guess my strategy worked. I am looking into those heat lamps to put in my basement ( like the ones my neighbors had in college) so my seedlings will be stronger at transplant time. Some plants can be grown indoors up to 10-12 weeks before the last frost, when they can be transplanted outdoors, so I can get started soon. My husband and I have been “strategically cracking eggs” for a few weeks now, so the eggshells as containers for my seedlings. We just break the top off, leaving the bottom 2/3 or so in tact. I saw it in Better Homes and Gardens last year, not only is it adorable, but environmentally friendly as well. Go me.
I will probably start next week by filling my eggshells with soil and planting my seeds, at least the varieties that require about 10 weeks of growth before transplanting. I also have a huge deck, so I would like to have some potted plants as well, perhaps a potted herb garden that I can bring indoors next winter. If you are interested in starting your own little garden this year, either in your yard or on your deck, there are a lot of books and websites out there to help you get started. It is important to get some information before you dive into it head first, because if you don’t know what you’re doing it can be a huge waste of money. But even with the smallest bit of know-how, you can save your family money and experience the priceless feeling of eating vegetables you grew yourself! It’s also a wonderful way to get your kids eating more vegetables, who wouldn’t want to eat something they grew themselves?
So, when it’s 20 degrees outside and snowing, you can go to your garden in your mind and start planning ahead for the spring sunshine. Go grab a book or magazine and look for ideas! Get your family in on the project and get growing!