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Time

SPELLING BEE

BY BEA WESTERBERG

It all starts with a little seed

The program seems to be developing a pattern of SNOW and then COLD for a period of time. REPEAT – REPEAT- REPEAT. Just think what those people who high tailed to the south are missing while they watch out for alligators. Okay, maybe the alligators are on the same page as people thinking we live in snow huts in Minnesota. The one thing we do know to be true is that this will all go away and it will be spring and summer again. That brings us to the fact that we must start planning for those garden plantings long before that time actually arrives.

Some people poke fun at Baby Boomers and others who “still get catalogs in the mail”. Did they not know that there is Amazon and other places to order using the internet? We will talk about that later but for the gardening person, pictures of all the goodies page after page is very exciting when planning what you will be putting in the 2022 garden. The seed companies that mail out catalogs are doing it in November and December to those who have ordered in the past. Covid 19 has changed so many things and growing your own food and flowers has been reinvigorated. Last year, almost all of the seed companies sold out of a lot of seeds very early in the season. The other thing I have noticed in this year’s catalogs is that there have been major price increases. In other words, you can’t wait until the long, warm days of spring come to start deciding on your gardening plans.

If you have gardened in the past, you probably have a list of things you would do differently. You may already have catalogs on hand, know that you will plant less beans, and you may even be thinking of changing location to get more sun. Maybe more faithful watering will be needed or a better weeding program has to be put in place. For the new people on the block, welcome to a whole new world. Hopefully you have friends and/ or family to help you get started and guide you in the wonderful world of growing your own things. If not, ask around your neighborhood or go talk to someone that you have seen doing gardening. Most gardeners love to share information with beginners. If not, you may have to enroll in the University of You-Tube or similar places to get you started. A large number of the places that are online do send out catalogs so you can request a catalog and be a part of gardening in both the catalog and internet world. Also look for classes being offered by gardening centers or community education to get your started. A major hot tip for beginners is not to start to try to grow a year’s supply of food on the first try. Start small and find out what is easy or hard to grow in the soil and climate you are in. Are you going to grow organic or will you plan on using non-organic sprays and methods? Gardening and 3 week vacations do not mix well. These are just a few of the things you need to decide before making the commitment to a spring, summer and falls worth of work.

I used to get about 50 catalogs but since I retired from Farm Market selling, I have really cut back on ordering and am down to about 10. Some of my favorites include Burpees, Gurney’s, Shumway’s, Territorial Seed Company, Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange to name a few. Shumway sends a very interesting old time hand drawn picture type of catalog. The Baker’s Creek catalog is a pure picture of beauty and plants you may not know existed.

You need to learn the difference between open pollinated and hybrid, as well as harvest time estimate, cold season or warm season planting, direct seeding or starting in house plants, soil type, sun requirements, insects-pests-disease control and don’t forget harvest and storage methods. Wow that took up so much room I can’t tell you about how Pumpkin my cat has learned to open the basement door. So carry on with your dreams. There are people out there to help and share information. I will tell you about Pumpkin Cheddar Krispy Kitty next week.

January 19, 2022