Saturday, January 31, 2009


Another thing we do in winter in Minnesota is order seeds. The catalogs arrived a couple weeks ago, trees and grasses for Steve and the Burgess 2009 Garden Catalog for me. Last year I put in the tiered garden along the side of the house, so had bulbs sent here, although I was still living in Cold Spring. It took me by surprise when a seed catalog arrived addressed to me.
Steve made me another raised garden bed last fall, so now we have five. We rotate one for compost, so there are four to plant. Steve has been a pretty big "monocropper," one bed in beans, one in butternut squash, one in tomatoes. I've discovered I'm not really a big butternut squash fan, and we still have four left. My plan is to plant fewer of each plant, with more variety. I also want to not load myself up so I burn out or get discouraged the first year. Tomatoes are the most important, and they'll get their own bed. I'll buy a few plants at the local nursery, and get roma seeds in hope of having good tomatoes for sauce. Two butternut squash plants will be plenty. I'm not a big green bean fan, so am thinking snow peas instead. There's a woman at the farmer's market who grows the sweetest peas on the planet-- so why compete?

Here is my plan for vegetable seeds:

Straight 8 cucumbers
Roma tomatoes
Squash medley (zucchini and yellow)
Snow peas
Brussel sprouts
Butternut squash (2 plants, not 8)


Anne Lloyd said...

I love that you are planning the garden - it makes the thaw seem closer. When we were children in Park Forest, my mother had a big vegetable garden in the back: tender lettuce, knobby carrots, tiny radishes, skinny zucchini, and of course pounds and pounds of lush tomatoes. We never ate iceberg lettuce (like my mother was morally opposed or something, not just frugal) but that's all we wanted. We hated the small bitter greens from the garden and always felt put-upon when the salad appeared. After we left home, my mother still planted. One year, before she left on retreat, she and my father agreed that he would put in the tomato plants while she was gone. Coming home, she found that he had purchased and installed 36 seedlings. She spent the next week giving away plants until they were down to a "manageable" quantity in the tract home backyard. The rector's sermon on Sunday started off with the story of her father keeping her and her brother home from school to listen to his reel-to-reel tapes of MLK and ended up on food and those who have to ask to be fed. She admitted she had gone off her notes a bit but it seemed to make sense to everyone in the congregation.

Susan Sink said...

That's a funny story about the tomato plants. We also had garden beds all around the back of our yard. My mother mostly grew flowers, but for years we had a bed of strawberries. Among my best childhood memories are those warm days at the end of the school year when we'd pick strawberries for our cereal and eat out on the picnic table. The patio was made of loose stone, and we'd cringe as we walked barefoot across it. By mid-summer the soles of our feet would be toughened up.

Once my mother called us out to see the ground "breathing," heaving up and down, and there was a nest of baby bunnies. We pulled up all our tender carrots and laid them around the rabbit hole and watched to see them come get them. Ah, suburban gardening! The joy of nature! A few years ago this same woman, my mother, killed a rabbit who got into her garden with a rake! She's a little more serious about protecting her harvest these days.