It's that time of year again! The time is right for sitting around the wood stove and gazing longingly through seed catalogs. I like to sit and daydream about my summer garden, perfect and pest-free, blessing me with a bounty of blemish-free, organic produce.
This year is different. We are in a house. We have stability. We have running water! We have a kitchen and a refrigerator. We have a freezer and a pantry. We have a stove top big enough for setting a canner on top. We have a deep crawl space under the house. We have an opportunity to start really progressing on our Independence from supermarkets.
I am branching out this year in my search for seeds. I made some new friends who turned me on to seed saving. I was given the gift of some seeds last fall as well. It is my desire to plant old heirloom varieties of produce. I am focusing on varieties that are either unusual, grown specifically for this climate, or are known for their great storage or preserving abilities. I'm looking for seeds with history.
That is why I am totally enchanted with my newest catalog ~ Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. They are located in Virginia and they carry many varieties that are suited to the climate where I live. They carry many obscure and unknown varieties such as Black Seeded Kentucky Wonder Green Podded Pole Beans. This one is an Ohio heirloom. "Original seed from Tom Knoche's Aunt Marge, who kept this variety alive for 60 years". I love that they give the history and origin of the seeds they sell. They also describe the best soil and climate, the disease resistance, best uses for the produce, and even some challenges. I LOVE it. I can't stop reading it. I feel like I am reading about farm families of the past when browse through this catalog. SESE is where I will be buying a majority of my seeds this year. I'll have to let you know how they turn out.
We are trying a new project with our garden this year. Last year was both a challenge and a learning experience. We purchased this last that had basically been abandoned for the last few decades. As a result, even though we are near town, it is basically a wilderness. We are teeming with deer, raccoons, opossums, and birds of every kind. They all ate well last year. We lost all our sweet corn and popcorn, and much of our tomatoes and melons to fat, happy critters. They helped themselves to the fruits of our labors. Unfortunately, we didn't have alot of options. We were living in the camper. We had to haul water in buckets and were travelling across town to shower and do laundry. We didn't have much time to dedicate to garden security.
This year we are landscaping around our house with our garden. We have brought the dogs inside the house and they have access to a large, enclosed yard through a doggy door. We are going to put some raised beds in that area. Take that, critters! Our veggies will now have watchdogs! The rest of our fruits and vegetables will be placed in small beds scattered around the perimeter of the house. They will be closer to water. We have a sunny side and a shady side. They will be closer to watch and closer to care for. Instead of rows, we will have areas. Instead of hills or trellises we are going to make tepees out of cedar from this land. We'll just have to see how it goes. My hope is that is will not only be functional, but beautiful as well.
Well, back I go to daydreaming.......
A garden is evidence of faith. It links us with all the misty figures of the past who also planted and were nourished by the fruits of their planting. ~ Gladys Taber