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Is it Too Soon…

… to talk about our 2021 garden planning?  I hope not because, to tell the truth, I start looking for the first seed catalogs in the mail on December 21, the first day of winter.  And quite honestly, that IS when my seasonal depression begins – no kidding.  On the shortest day of the year, I already feel the effects of not having the sun give my body enough vitamins and my mood is affected.  So what do I do between the time I pull up my last plant from the garden and my first seed catalog arrives?

I begin planning my garden for the following year.  For instance, I’ve researched enough about traditional gardens now that I understand why my Indigenous ancestors planted the three sisters together.  For those of you who may not know, the three sisters are corn (maize), beans and squash.  Corn is planted to reach tall, spreading its leaves so the cobs have sturdy support on which they can grow and flourish.  The beans are planted at the root of the corn so their vines can climb up the stalks and bloom not only in the shade of the corn plant, but also enjoy the shade of the large, leafy plant as well.  Finally, the squash grows on the ground, at the foot of the corn and beans.  As the squash grows, it covers the ground, thereby making a rather unwelcome environment for weeds and other plants that may want to take over.  These three plants complement each other and one doesn’t take over or stifle the other.  It’s a great relationship.  Or so I’ve heard.  I’ll find out for myself this growing season.

Once I’m done planning my garden, I peruse the seed catalogs as they arrive.  This year I had an online catalog arrive much sooner than the hard copies.  I ended up receiving a catalog in the mail from Ontario!  It was a nice catalog but a little too pricey for me.  Early’s seed catalog actually arrived later than usual this year.  I don’t recall seeing a Dominion’s Seed catalog this year however I did get a surprise when I received a copy of the Lindenburg seed catalog out of Brandon, Manitoba.  It’s been a few years since I had a copy of their catalog and I quite enjoyed flipping through the pages, over and over again.  As you can see from the photos, my copy is now quite dog-eared and ragged.  Just the way I like my well-loved catalogs to look.  And it is from this catalog that I have made most of my seed order from.  Their prices, selection and seed quality is quite reasonable and meets my needs to my complete satisfaction.

After my seed order has been placed, I start resorting the seeds I’ve already collected and look through my gardening notes to see what I liked growing from the previous season and the things I don’t think I’ll try growing this year – either because I didn’t like the fruits and vegetable quality, low productivity or we didn’t use enough of it to try growing it again in the limited gardening space that I have.  If it’s a huge plant, taking up space but it doesn’t produce enough fruit or vegetables to warrant growing it again, I won’t. It’s just simpler to buy what I need from one of the local farmer’s markets.  

Then there is the produce I purchase from the grocery store… for the most part fresh fruit and vegetables are on my weekly grocery list.  But once in a while we discover some “gems” that I won’t necessarily see in the seed catalog or at my local gardening centre.  For instance, the other day my sister brought home a pint of multi-coloured tomatoes no bigger than the size of my thumb nail.  For point of reference to my fellow gardeners, these tomatoes are even smaller than Tiny Tim tomatoes.  She showed me her “find” and I crowed with delight… which means I will snag one tomato of every colour and split them open with a knife to scrape the seeds out onto paper towel.  After a day or two, when they are completely dry, I’ll place the seeds in an empty clear medicine bottle and at the end of April, I will sprout them then transplant them into individual seedling containers.  By the time gardening long weekend arrives in May, they should be at the three to four leaf stage and ready to be transplanted into containers.  Of course I’ll bring you along as I do all of this because I’m looking forward to your encouragement and advice.  You can send me whatever points you think will help my gardening success by emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you who wish to write!

So, today I planted some more sweet potatoes.  I’ve put about five plants in one pot and, by the time gardening long weekend rolls around, they will be ready for individual pots.  I’m also planting musk melon, aka cantaloupe, at the end of March.  I’ve collected watermelon seeds (can you imagine paying upwards of $5.00 for ten seeds in a package when you can just buy a watermelon for three or four dollars and harvest as many seeds as you want from it?  Me either!).  I’ll start them indoors as well.  Tomorrow I will plant two apple seedlings my elder two middle children and I sprouted inside a plastic zip-lock bag.  We had about a dozen seeds in the bag and only two sprouted but they are healthy and growing, already sporting four leaves each.  I’m going to try growing a few avocadoes, lemons, limes, oranges (navel and mandarins), apricots, nectarines, peaches, cherries, plums and grapefruit.  I figure once I have an orchard’s worth of trees growing in my house, I’ll be wealthy enough (read “win the big lottery” after being gifted a winning ticket) to build a home that can house all of my trees in a glassed in enclosure, not quite like a greenhouse as I want to be able to live in it and use it much as we would the rest of our home (Hey, a lady can dream, can’t she?).  But first, I have to grow the seeds and get the plants to the stage that they are successfully reproducing and making me proud.  Then I will build the plants their dream home … and what a beautiful picture that will be – my orchard blooming, and on the other side of the glass, a wall of snow as we are in the middle of -50 below zero in February.  And I will peel my citrus fruit and laugh with glee (and then probably choke on a cherry pit I forgot to remove from my mouth before taking that deep breath to laugh!  Remember, I’m still quite the klutz.  Even in my dreams.)  Oh, I do like the way planning a garden can lift my spirits and pull me out of the doom and gloom doldrums of winter.  Now let me count… how many more days until the first day of summer?  The season should be ripe (see what I did there?) with long days of summer, warm breezes and refreshing rain.  I can barely contain myself!  Happy garden planning and let your ideas flow to see how creative you can be in your growing and design ideas.

Take care and have a great week, everyone.

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Wednesday September 22, 2021