Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seed Catalogs

The cold dark days of winter are perfect for browsing through seed catalogs. Pages and pages of colorful drawings and photos of fresh vegetables and flowers are a wonderful source of distraction from other winter tasks, like carting water to the barn because the faucet out there is frozen.

I made our first seed order last week.

Oh, such self control!

Oh, such self restraint!

Only slightly over 30 different seeds were ordered with this order. Do you know how hard it is to make a reasonable seed order in economic times such as these?

Of course, now that I have reached an era of greater self-awareness, I don't even bother to order the 15 different varieties of tomato seeds and the 12 different peppers. It only took 15 or 20 years of gardening to realize that my giftedness does not include raising seedlings. After 6 weeks of tender-loving care, inevitably something else of much greater importance comes along and my poor little babies get neglected and die. There are many others who are gifted in this area. I will happily buy my tomato, pepper, broccoli and cabbage seedlings from these friends.

But direct-sow seeds are another matter. Not much gives me greater satisfaction than the whole garden journey. Winter dreams of sunny days and zinnias. Remembrances of corn shucking under the cherry tree. The taste of that first little handful of radishes tossed with the first little lettuces. The feeling of winter soft muscles waking up to the steady, rhythmic motion of shovel, hoe, rake. Hours of hissing and popping in the over-heated kitchen, pinging of jars, sweaty forehead, sore feet, smell of tomatoes, green beans, oversweet fruits.

Is it any wonder that the marketers have fine-tuned their strategies of luring us poor lost souls, cold, tired of the dark, tired of frozen, canned, store-bought vegetables with their siren call? De Bourbonne, crispy little pickling cucumbers, perfect for making into cornichons, to go with roast beef. Just the name makes me think of wearing pretty floral dresses on picnics by a stream. Chioggia beets. So mediterranean. So earthy. Roasted with garlic alongside our juicy, roasted chicken. Lolla Rossa lettuce, ruffled and pink, I can't help imagine the wooden salad bowl, filled to the rim, sitting on the cloth covered outdoor table, sprinkled with nuts and cheese, a drizzling of balsamic vinegar, cold glasses of dry rose, sunset.


We will frantically try to cover extra math lessons, extra history and literature, and in our spare moments I will pencil out garden maps. Ever growing plot, working out the rotation, trying very hard to avoid being seduced by yet one more green bean variety. Before you know it we will be outside in jackets, getting the seeds in the cold ground. Enjoying our wonderful role. Experiencing the miracle of life and rebirth. But now, back to reality. Come on kids! Let's knock out a few more lessons around the fireplace before school books are long forgotten in the business of garden.

And consider the cost/benefits of establishing a support group for seed junkies.

1 comment:

CountryDew said...

I haven't looked through my catalogs yet. I have been afraid to, knowing I would want... and want...