Monday, February 2, 2015

Six More Weeks ~ Oy Vey!

So the cheaters (ahem, I mean the Patriots - did I really say that out loud?) won the Super Bowl and Punxy Phil has predicted another six weeks of winter. Well, duh!! I never really understood how the poor guy COULDN'T see his own shadow with the myriad of lights shining on him bouncing off the drifts of snow at o'dark ridiculous!!

Now on to this weeks blog. I've got a secret obsession.  Everyone has least one. So by the time you're finished reading I know you'll know one of mine. (Take the RED pill Neo!)

Never fear dear readers, for although all may seem bleak following the prediction of another six weeks of winter, all you need to do is go to plan B: it's catalog season!!! No, I'm not talking about Pier One, Victoria's Secret or Northern Tool. I'm talkin gardening catalogs. (otherwise known as garden porn!)  If you're like me you've not only received a slew of them in the mail but have poured over each page wiping off the drool from the corners of your mouth as you turn page by page imagining what this year's garden will look like! (Whew ~ is it getting hot n here or is it just me?!) Last month going to the mailbox was such a treat for nearly every day a new publication would appear. It was like Christmas all over again!

If you have a garden this time of year, depending on where you live, it might be sleeping under six feet of snow. Here's a snapshot of mine. BTW: that green blob on the lower left is my mother rosemary who's braved this cold winter vigorously, pretty much sticking it to the man - Old Man Winter that is!

Sleeping Celtic Garden

Now back to those catalogs.  I love the hunt for unusual plants, especially ones which are colorful, medicinal in nature and rare.  After going through at least 15 catalogs, page by lovely page, drooling over pictures and puking over prices (figuratively, not literally) a seed list was compiled. I listed the plant, catalog item number, catalog page number, if the seed was organic or heirloom, days until germination and price per packet. That last one - price per packet- gets a bit crazy.  Some companies list their seed price per ounce while others per gram and yet others by the number of seds in the packet. Obviously the smaller the seed the more of them will be in the packet. In fact I saw listings for squash (typically big seeds compared to say a poppy seed) for nearly $9.00 a packet but to be fair it was a rare variaty.  So really for me it's pretty much a gamble. Yea, not having a standard cost across the board for seeds is understandable as seeds vary in size plant to plant, but you'd think there's be a better way for cost comparison sake! Going into great detail on the seed list is anal, undoubtedly, but there's a method to the madness kids! It makes for easy future reference for planning purposes.  

Now I'm leaning heavy on seed companies whose plant varieties are tried and true for our hot humid summer climate. You should too. Be sure to buy the seed varieties best suited for your growing duration and climate.  Living in the South has its perks as far as the growing season is concerned.  Not so much the fact that we have a longer summer growing season but really because we can grow year round.  Our summers can be bloody hot and more humid that a flippin sauna! So growing plant varieties for said conditions is an area I'm tweaking as an urban gardener.  It's all a work in progress. Sometimes more than one vendor carries those varieties so getting the right seeds or plants for the right price becomes the name of the game.  So much so the initial seed list was over a hundred different plants totaling over $300.00. Now I love the game, don't get me wrong.  But after some whittling and bargaining with me myself and I, the list became complete.  I think.  Well, maybe I'll wind up sticking a few more listings on the plate.  After all ....... developing the this year's garden requires imagination, creativity, strategy and above all risk.  But that's the beauty of the game. 

After the list was compiled, I gotta admit I felt sad that the game was over. It's like reading the last page in that book you couldn't put down for days and days and now the final chapter is read and the storyline complete. *SIGH* But NOW the REAL FUN begins! Getting those seeds to germinate and grow while holding Mother Nature's hand in the process is such a thrill for me! I can't wait to share with you how my garden grows this year.  ; )

FYI: Seed companies that won out for me this year include Territorial, Bakers Creek and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  Check out a few links here:

Now that pay day has arrived you'd better bet that a few bucks will be invested into my garden. The obsession is in full swing and until next week, I leave with you a few more gifts from Mother Nature's bounty in the garden and surrounding property.

Look at that face!!

A patch of spinach defies Old Man Winter!

The shadow is a branch on the Bridal Wreath shrub. Loved the close up of this pic too much not to post.

Be sure to check in next week when we discuss seeds, plants and such philosophical questions as: where does the ancient Chinese secret Calgon take us away to anyway?

Until then may happiness be a ray of sunshine in your mind, body and soul!

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