I know we are still in the dead of winter. And that the forecast for the next week has an average high of 12 degrees Fahrenheit, And that my garden is currently sitting under 8 inches of snow, but I am dreaming of my garden.
Out of all my interests, gardening is probably the one I am most passionate about. Or maybe bread baking. Or quilting. Okay, I can't decide that, but we can just summarize by saying I like gardening a lot.
I grew up gardening with my mom. Picking strawberries, peas and beans. Picking row after row of sweet corn. Digging potatoes and carrots. I loved it all. The chance to play in the dirt. The chance to make something from a tiny little seed.
I've had a garden in every place I've lived since moving out for college. I had a patio garden during summer internships, I had a trellis garden my Dad helped me build off the deck of our duplex in college, The first spring after I bought a house, I had my garden. When John and I loved out to Indiana, it was too late in the growing season to plant a full garden, but don't you worry, I planted green beans, peas, lettuce, and herbs in a tiny little strip that was trenched through our lawn when they put in the propane tank. I garden no matter what.
This past year was my first full garden at our little farm in Indiana. I had so much fun planning out what to plant, and where. I started seeds inside and watched them all green and happy when the world was still gray and cold outside. It was therapy. Something to work on and throw myself into when I felt like I was still getting the hang of being married and living 500 miles from my family. And then the pandemic hit, and it really, truly was therapy. John joined me prepping the garden and transplanting. He became the corn king, watering and fertilizing and transplanting to get a perfect picket fence stand. In a season where we were confined to our house and barns and acreage, the ability to work outside in the sunshine, just the two of us, was life giving. We joked that it will be the most cared for garden we ever had. We walked out in the morning to say hello. We stretched our legs at lunch. I took an afternoon weeding break. And we would check things over once more before bed and watch the sun go down. In a year where trips to the grocery store were plotted and planned out for weeks in advance, it felt so empowering to walk out to the garden and pick supper. We had control over our own food destiny. I think I will always remember last years garden as one of my favorites. I was so proud of how productive it was and what joy it brought us.
Here I am planning this year's garden. I may start some cool season crops soon, but it's probably a bit to soon to be starting seed for the majority of my garden. I'm counting the days though.
I am growing a few things that are new to me this year.
Big Max Pumpkins are supposed to get up to 100 lbs. Thought they might be a fun experiment. Maybe state fair worthy?? I am also growing some pie pumpkins again this year. I enjoyed having some pumpkin puree to use for breads and pie this fall and winter.
I am growing cabbage for the first time this year. The variety I selected is Brunswick. The heads are supposed to be good for long term storage, but I also hope to try making some Bavarian sauerkraut.
I also have never grown broccoli or cauliflower before, so I am giving both a go. John isn't big on either of those veggies, but I found myself eating frozen of both enough this winter I thought I might as well treat myself to some fresh!
Oh, and one more! First 13 Peas. I grow peas most years, but this is my first time with this variety. Pods can produce up to 13 peas, which apparently is the genetic maximum! I'm excited to try them out and see.
So next up, planning out seed start dates. I'm excited to get going. It's the most wonderful time of the year!