Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is it time yet? Maybe yes, maybe no...

For the gardener, January is pure torture and delight! The seed catalogs show up and they have all these wonderful glossy pictures, filled with promises of "heavy yields" or "top producer", they promise resistance to drought or heat or cold or disease or infestation and they comfort the agitated gardener who looks upon the garden covered in a blanket of snow and can do nothing but think of spring. I have made my decisions, which as soon as the weather warms, I will abrubtly change I am sure. I have placed my orders, mixed up the starting medium, sanitized my pots and now I wait. Depending on your climate, it may be time to start seeds and get things started, but up here in Zone 4 we wait, or suffer the consequences. In fact for some plants I will wait 2 more months, for others I will wait just a few more weeks. As always, I am firmly on the heirloom side of vegetable gardening, they are true and proven, beautiful and delicious. Check out Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA ( for a complete run down on what they are doing to save our genetic seed heritage. The have started with heritage variety poultry and have some White Park Cattle, which I find to be about as beautiful as can be.

Here's a list of things that I start in February:
Chives, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Peppers (hot and sweet), Onions, Shallots

Remember to use sterilized starting medium, be careful with the watering (bottom watering is best), and give the little planties some good old fashioned heat and light. Heat mats can be purchased, but heating pads or electric blankets seem to work just as well. No need to purchase the fancy "grow lights" I have had great luck with regular florescent lights (warm and cool to cover as much of the spectrum as possible).

Here's what I am dealing with these days:

Happy dreaming to you all!