GROWING YOUR OWN.
Part 1 / January 25, 2011
Snow on your sidewalk; gardening on your mind…
On a day like this, gardening is probably not the thought that’s making it to the top of your list. Regardless of the scene outside, however, we are nearing the end of January – which means it’s a great time to start planning your spring garden. Whether or not you’ve ever grown your own organic veggies before, a time of thoughtful planning now will lead to a more successful (and enjoyable) 2011 gardening season.
So what is on the gardener’s schedule for a snowy day in January?
If you’ve ever ordered seeds online or from a seed catalog, you’re on the mailing list now, so you’ve probably received at least a few catalogs in the past month or so. Go ahead and thumb through one, just long enough to get inspired – and then force yourself to put it down, because that’s not really the best place to start.
The very first step is to sit down with a pencil and a notebook, and really give some thought to what you want from your garden this year, and in future years. Don’t get too specific yet; just ask yourself a few basic questions:
What is at the root of your gardening ambition? Is it to save you money (it will)? Is it to ensure the safety of your food (it does)? Is it to benefit creation and/or your community (it will)? Is it to help others (it can)? Do you simply want to experience the therapeutic (physical & spiritual) blessings of gardening? If these, or any other, reasons are motivating your urge to garden, some time to explore them.
Now, what about the scale of your ambition? Is your dream to have a daily supply of homegrown food throughout the growing season? Is preserving food (freezing, drying, canning) for the winter part of your vision? Or do you just want to grow enough so that a couple of times a week you can incorporate some fresh homegrown herbs and veggies into your main meal? Whatever your goals and dreams, now is the time to put them down on paper.
Finally, how you can use your garden to help others? You can grow some extra food to donate to food pantries, or to simply pass some along to a needy or a co-worker. If there are kids in your life, gardening is just about the best teaching tool I know of. This is the generous side of gardening. Again, put your thoughts on paper.
If you want to ‘grow your own’ this year, this is your only homework assignment for now. So put on something warm, grab some paper and a pencil, and plant yourself on a comfy couch. Now, look out at the snow and envision the garden that’s sleeping beneath.
& stay tuned.