08 January 2011

Garden Plans

My days spent baby-sitting during the holidays allowed me to peruse through a few seed catalogs that I brought along.  I love seed catalogs.  They give so much hope to a budding gardener like me.  Perhaps I don't get quite the enjoyment that others do, however, since I read them looking only for varieties that can survive our crazy mountain weather of late snows and early frosts.  I am particularly fond of magazines that clearly indicate cold tolerant crops, but I enjoy reading, highlighter in hand, the unmarked catalogs as well.

This year, I'm excited to try some other varieties.  We moved last fall to an area with a much longer, warmer summer.  I can't wait to see what I can grow.  Unfortunately, my garden plot is a puny little strip along one fence in the backyard, so I'm going to have to choose my plants with care.  However, with the garden strip adjoining the lawn, water shouldn't be much of a problem, so I can hopefully space things a little closer than I normally would in our dry climate back home.  There is also a strip of basically useless sidewalk, so I'm hoping to gather some containers and get some things growing there too.

Another change for this year is how I start my plants.  To get cold tolerant plants, you have to grow them from seed yourself because you won't find them at the stores at planting time.  I still want to grow my own, since I have most of the seeds I need already and not a lot of money to spend on transplants.  However, I live in a basement with very few windows.  I just won't be able to do as much as I normally would do.  I am planning on doing some winter sowing to see how that works.  If it works as well as it sounds, it will make my life so much easier, as it eliminates the need for big south facing windows as well as a cold frame.  I had heard about this before, but it didn't seem possible until I read about it here.

Here is my garden wish list:

Cucumber        I thought I had some seeds, but they are momentarily lost
Summer squash: yellow, zucchini, and these wonderful one ball.  My husband specifically requested them.
Lettuce and other greens including spinach, cress and arugula
Herbs such as cilantro and basil.  I've not had great success here, so this will be a learning year with herbs.
Green beans    Hoping to have some success here as well.  They don't like the cold.
Peas                 Lots of them along the fence.
Tomatoes        A few years ago, I decided that part of my food storage should include some heirloom seeds.  I saw a mix of HL tomatoes and bought them without another thought.  I also nearly bought one of those big cans of emergency seeds.  They will plant an entire acre, I think, and they are sealed up all nice so they should keep forever.  It's an awesome idea, except nothing in there will grow in my climate.  So I've been hanging on to these seeds for a few years, not sure what to do with them, but this year, I know exactly what to do.  I'm going to plant me some heirloom tomatoes.  There are six varieties in the packet -a rainbow variety.  I'm going to plant all the seeds (about 40ish) since they are a few years old, and see what I get.  I've been wanting to try some heirlooms, and this will give me a variety, including some I probably wouldn't normally choose, like Aunt Ruby's German Green. 

Is it silly to be so excited about something that I won't be able to eat for six months?  I'm excited to try new things this year and see what happens.


  1. Most gardeners start perusing the seed catalogs right after Christmas. You are not silly, you are very normal! :-)

    Not much grows here, except rocks and you don't even need seeds! The only good spot for a garden here, would be in the side yard, but the previous neighbors, so thoughtfully took all the top soil and used it to fill their swimming pool, because it was a pain to clean. Go figure.

  2. I think it's the yearning for warmer weather and green things that makes us wander through those nursery catalogs -- it's no surprise we receive them in January. :)

    Looks like you've got a good line up for your garden. Maybe a grow light would help you in the basement? Just a thought.