I am never prepared for the lushness of seed catalogs. I open my mailbox and summer jumps into my hands, full-blown July with ripe tomatoes, spilling petunias, and impossibly purple grapes.
They catch me at my most vulnerable, when the garden is dull and gray and the very idea that it was once green seems like a fairy tale. "Once, long ago, when all the world was green, there lived a little old grannywoman in a house on a hill..."
I find pencil and notebook. It's time to plan. This year, for the first time in probably 5 years or more, I've decided to reconstruct my little greenhouse. This won't be anything fancy like they show on home garden shows on TV. Mine has always been a simple but effective affair--poles, boards, plastic sheeting, a door, rough shelves and a heat source of some type. It works.
The down side is that when I gave up on the greenhouse, I got rid of all my flats and planting stuff. So I'll have to start from scratch. Tis a headache.
The upside is that we have plenty of forest for posts and plenty of lumber from the old tobacco barn, a spare screen door from somewhere, and a couple of old cast iron potbelly stoves I got at an auction a few years ago (and my husband said "what on earth will you do with those?" Now he knows).
And the very, very upside is that I get to order seeds again! There are certain varieties I like very much but can't buy the plants locally--like Savoy Cabbage and Bloody Butcher corn, lemon cucumbers, Royal Burgundy green beans and Gypsy peppers along with Cayenne and Lilac Belles.
If I plant a flat of leaf lettuce in late February in the greenhouse it's ready to pick by the end of March. And I get to pick out the kinds of tomatoes I want! I like lots of different kinds--yellow pear, red grape, deep red brandywine and striped Mountaineer, lemony-yellow Lemon Boys and deep golden Sungold. Big pink Oxhearts, dependable Early Girls and Better Boys and of course Romas for canning. And a few others.
So we'll see if all these winter dreams, that seem so possible now, actually come to pass. If nothing else, I've had hours of pleasure just planning it all.
How about you? Have you started thinking about your garden yet?