If you live somewhere between Hardiness Zones 1-7, you may be lolling and snoring along to winter’s hibernation song right about now. The colors outside are drab, the daylight hours are short, and the “nothing-like-it” taste of crisp sugar snap peas and sweet cherry tomatoes picked fresh from the garden linger someplace off in the distance.
Winter doldrums have you down?
Here's a quick and easy way to snap out of the winter blah blues. Put the kettle on for a cup of mint, lemon verbena, or ginger-turmeric tea. Sweeten it with local honey, and grab a stack of next year’s seed catalogs!
My friend Kristi, an extraordinary cook who prepares nearly all her meals from local, pasture-raised meats and homegrown produce, is also an absolute connoisseur of seed catalogs! She can’t wait for her selected catalogs to arrive in the mail. This time of year, her collection is scattered across her coffee table, dog-eared and littered with sticky notes marking her wish list for the garden. Kristi told me, “It’s the vibrant pictures, unique colors, shapes and patterns of the seeds, flowers and vegetables that inspire me on these gray winter days. I also love discovering the newest heirloom and container varieties. I want to try them all!”
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Kristi also hinted that seeing pictures of fully mature plants in the catalog is important. This helps her visually plan how she will arrange her community of plants. After marking the pages of the seeds she’d like to purchase, she draws a map of her garden and plays matchmaker with companion plants. Planning tools found in Johnny’s Selected Seeds Grower’s Library and Garden Tower’s Planting Design Guide are helpful when designing your garden.
Planting season is closer than you think. Before you know, you'll be starting seeds and watching the world wake from its slumber. Until then, enjoy getting lost in Spring and Summer daydreams and planning. What will your garden grow?
The enthusiasm induced by looking through seed catalogs can lead to ambitious plans and a bountiful garden with more produce than you can manage to eat. This, of course, is a wonderful problem to have! Apply to sell at your local farmers’ market, start a food stand, or share with co-workers and neighbors. Your local food bank will also be happy to receive your extra harvest. Check out ampleharvest.org for a place nearby to donate.