I can grow anything
Updated: Feb 28
Mid-January for me means spring is coming. I love to grow food, flowers, herbs and everything else. Growers anxiously await the mail this time of year. Many are more modern than I. We older folks still love catalogues. They are tactile and beautiful. They also possess this wizard like power, mesmerizing you in the belief that, “I can grow anything”. Photographs of bok choy and asparagus will have you gassed. I love it. Annually I peruse new cultivars focusing on heirlooms. When I moved to Golden Glow my garden was 150’ by 45’. The bounty was large and along with my family I sold at the famers’ market across from Dewittsburgh. We made $1,250 one summer. In reality there are few GREAT backyard growers. It takes a commitment and patience reminiscent of a kindergarten teacher. As February approaches hardcore growers are preparing indoor seedlings. Thinking giddily about April.
Gardening is a twelve-month project. The dormancy of upstate winters suggests otherwise. I let my old garden go feral. I am too old to manage that much space. Two years ago I moved my growing toward the house. It is now four, 12’ by 4’ beds. Limited space requires decisions. It was good for me.
Spring is coming. If you have never grown or failed at it, reconsider. For me planting seeds, tending soil, weeding and …….. wait for it…… harvesting is life. Flipping through my catalogues today I am looking for new inspirations. The staples are simple. Greens, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers belong in every garden. They occupy 50% of my truncated space. The other 50% is the adventure. Pumpkins and gourds captivate me. Every year I plant them somewhere. (My beds are fenced and monitored but I also plant seeds arbitrarily around our property. Amidst the four plus acres I sprinkle seeds everywhere. I grow potatoes and carrots along the grassline. They are potential deer and woodchuck food. I am OK with that.) Most likely I will put a pumpkin plant inside the fenced garden. Rouge Vif D’Etampes, Cinderella are my favorite, majestic and a fantastic soup pumpkin. That leaves me with sixty square feet of space to play with.
My yard also features black walnut trees, two apple trees (difficult), raspberry canes, blueberries and hella wild black caps surrounding the periphery. One year we picked thirty quarts (farmer’s market). Perennials are fantastic. If you are secure in your residence, gonna be there beyond five years, plant them. Many herbs are hardy returners.
My go to seed company is out of Maine. Pinetree seed Company was founded in 1979. It is a family run operation and they offer so many heirlooms. Their catalogue inspires. In 1979 I would flip through the Sears catalogue and write down the 100 toys I wanted for Christmas. Most years I might have gotten three or four of those. Same thing with my Pinetree catalogue. By February first I will narrow the list, order by week two and sweat the mail thereafter. I have two new cultivars I’m crushing on. The next article will share more. Geeked.
Spring is coming. If you have never gardened or abandoned it due to frustration, situation, apathy, reconsider. Eating food, you grow is different. It tastes different. You feel different. Working at Cornell Cooperative Extension I would read tirelessly on growing. One quote always reverberates, “1/3 for the insects, 1/3 for wild fauna, 1/3 for you”. Be prepared to fail. The successes you have, and they will happen will invigorate and strengthen you. Focus on the foods you love and anticipate harvest.
Spring is coming. Holla’ at me if you want any growing advice. Going outside to sprinkle some bone meal on my beds. Straight foreplay for real….