Friday, January 16, 2009

Just A Few Thoughts About Spring

Just a few thoughts … I noticed today that it is staying light longer. That means spring is coming. Well it is – eventually. I have to think positive thoughts, since the snow piled in the yard is starting to look less and less like the pristine white, sparkling park that I described in our Christmas newsletter. Yes, spring IS coming.

The seed catalogs have started to arrive and the impulse buying for anything that resembles spring will become an avalanche in the rush to order “flowers and spring and gardens.” Isn’t it amazing those catalogs never mention, digging, rocks, sore muscles, weeds, more digging and more sore muscles? They probably wouldn’t sell nearly as much.

However, yesterday I did see something that made me think that it is time to start planning, not necessarily buying. The racks of this year’s garden seeds and peat pots are appearing in the stores.

This is a good time to start saving money or setting aside a specific amount of money in order to have a garden in just a few months. It will only be a few weeks until it will be practical to start your own bedding plants. A few packets of seed per payday usually won’t break the bank as much as a splurge all at once does.

Of course if you live in California or Florida you are laughing now as you go out and check your year round garden and hug the broccoli.

For the rest of us, this may be the time to start thinking about what kind of garden you can have; containers, boxes, barrels, a patch, mixed in with flower beds, in the three inch wide strip along the driveway – everything growing up, or - what? Even two large pots with tomato plants will yield a summer full of juicy tomatoes that are well worth the effort.

If you plan on paper you can not only plot the place where you will plant, but keep track of the seeds you have, the seeds you buy next and the seeds you want in a few more weeks. You can also plan the bedding plants into the budget. For example we have a little patch where we grew corn last year. Well I certainly wouldn’t buy bedding plants for corn, but I definitely will plan to buy several tomatoes to get a head start.

I have almost as many container garden plants on our little deck as I have plants in the little patch we call our garden. Now is a good time, if you are going to have container plants to check the thrift stores or garden shops to have the containers on hand and ready to fill.

Most of all I think the few thoughts that I want to share is that as the economy tightens its strangle hold on our budgets, one way to counter attack is to have as many garden spots as you can fit in your yard, porch, driveway or window wells. Greens, tomatoes, all of the easy vegetables will extend your budget so that you can buy other things rather than produce. Of course you can go crazy and spend a fortune on gardening. But you can also be reasonable, using common sense, and have a garden with a limited budget as well.

Start now to plan what will work within your yard, space and budget. It is very rewarding, even if it does mean sore muscles, digging and weeds.

Right now I‘m working on a plant that is a cross between a very prolific vegetable and a weed. That should solve a huge bunch of gardening frustrations – or not. I already have chocolate mint, so now I have to work on chocolate covered peanuts.

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