Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow: 2011 Planning Edition

Today I skipped right past the holidays, ignoring the fact that I still have a gobzillion presents to wrap and baking to do - and ordered some seeds for next year's garden.  

Since I haven't done a full seed order in a couple years, nor have I kept track of the age of my seeds (PSA: most seeds increase, instead of decrease, germination year over year for a period of several years.  Onions and the rest of the allium family are an exception), it was time for a new seed inventory.  I promise to keep better track of this one.

My seed orders have improved over the years.  For one thing, I have a better handle on what we don't have success with, and what will get eaten vs. passed over once picked.  Do not talk to me of the nutritional value of rutabagas - I don't like them, and to paraphrase a former president, I'm 37 years old and I don't have to eat them if I don't want to.  You can mail my portion of rutabagas to the hungry children in Africa, okay? 

I'll even provide the envelope.

So there.

But despite that, I still get sucked into descriptions of French heirloom winter squashes (note to the squeamish, those bumps are created by the sugars in the pumpkin, which means it's sweet and tasty), tomato breeds created by Thomas Jefferson, beans bred by my own ancestors, the Cherokee, and so on.  If it says old and rare, I probably want it.

Because growing Reisentraube tomatoes, Vert Grimmpant melons (don't you just love the name Grimmpant?  If we ever get a pet we're totally naming him or her Grimmpant.  If I get my way, that is.), and Yok Kao cucumers is totally cool.  Would you like some Bleu of Solaise lettuce?  Doesn't it sound like it needs to be in a salad with blue cheese, candied walnuts and maple-roasted pears?

I do.  But maybe I'm just hungry.

We'll also grow some things the adorable one can enjoy - she's already planted last year's garden with us, and has become an expert at raspberry picking.  We can't seem to convince her to wait until the tomatoes are actually ripe to pick them, but what's a few cherry tomatoes sacrificed on the alter of learning to love being outdoors?  So this year we'll add miniature pumpkins, birdhouse gourds, and more annual flowers.  All the flowers, too, are old school - sweet peas, bachelor's buttons, love-in-a-mist, pansies, bells of ireland, and my personal favorite: 

                                                   Kiss me over the garden gate. 
                                                   The name says it all, does it not?

When the adorable one is a little older, say, in a year, we'll add Four O'Clocks too, and I'll read her the poem by my favorite unlikely poet about the naughty Four O' Clocks who refused to have their faces washed.  

We're also going to add apricot trees, a couple Cornelian cherry trees, and some blackberries.    I'd like to put in more apples and some peach trees, but we have to take down some trees first.   
I'd love to have some nut trees too, but space and the layout of our land do not permit it at the moment.

Oh well.

I'm in no rush for the holidays or winter to be over.  But gardening is important, and not just because I love to do it.  The number of people in this country that are food insecure is rapidly increasing.  Kitchen gardens are one way to solve that problem - perhaps even the best way. 

Chew on this from 1943-45: 

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables. So, the program made a difference.

We grew, during WWII, 9-10 million tons of food in our front and back yards.  

Imagine what knowing we could, with just a few minutes a week, produce 9-10 million tons of fresh food from our back yards would do for our national optimism, which, quite frankly, could do with a bit of a bump.  What it might do for those going hungry.  What it might do for our own health and weight.  Imagine the wonder that kids have when they grow a pumpkin themselves, or make a birdhouse out of a gourd, or run through a field of giant sunflowers.  Imagine it's your kid.

It could happen again - one Quadrato D'asti Rosso pepper at a time.


Amy71a3 said...

I'd love to know where you order most of your seeds! I just moved (MA area also) and am starting a garden for the first time this year.


Ms.Moneypenny said...

Amy, I love Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds www.rareseeds.com, and Seed Savers www.seedsavers.org

I'd love to hear how your garden grows throughout the year!