Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreaming of Spring

Those seed supply centers are dumb like a fox. A few weeks ago, they started sending me their catalogs for the 2012 growing season. In the midst of ice and snow and cold temperatures (more or less; we've been lucky so far), who can resist the photos of blooming flowers and fresh produce?

Now is a great time to start planning what you want to grow in warmer seasons. This is when you have the time to map out what (and where) you want to plant. There's no rush, because you can't even plant until the last frost is over. It's a good time to look over what's available for your climate, light conditions, and growing zone. You can choose, realistically, what plants you can afford to buy or trade with others, and those edibles your family will actually use. No sense growing broccoli, if no one in your family's going to eat it! Alternatively, you can choose new vegetables your family might want to "kitchen test."

This will be the second year for my butterfly garden, and I expect everything's going to come back fuller and more vigorous. I'm hoping the milkweed will have gotten a nice foothold, and that it attracts many monarch butterflies. I have a couple varieties of butterfly bush, which is quite the magnet for many species. In addition, there are some empty spaces where I can put some new types of flowers to attract butterflies (and hopefully a hummingbird or two). I also have a shed to landscape. Hooray for blank canvases!

Finally, we have a raised-bed garden awaiting its spring planting. This year, we'll plant more of the really successful stuff. Last growing season, we ate leaf lettuce, baby spinach, and beet greens right up until frost. Definitely going to pack the box with those. I want to try more tomatoes and beans, too. I think we'll grow some sunflowers for the birds, out by the bird feeders. We get a couple volunteer sunflowers every year, from seeds that drop from the feeder and manage to take root, but seeing a cheerful patch of them out there every morning over my coffee will be a great way to start the day.

If you're in a cold climate, I hope you're dreaming of spring, too!

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