The infamous January thaw is licking at our heels and we respond by eagerly diving into seed catalogs. So far this year we have received at least ten. And those new garden gloves always do make my hands itch.
We create our lists, praying that winter will soon be over so we can start those little lives on their way to providing us with our annual food supply. But for the moment in the midst of our euphoric myopia, we're completely oblivious to the dangers that lurk for little seeds. Thunderstorms can wipe out an entire garden given the right conditions!
It's a heady, monumental task, planting, transplanting, fertilizing, watering, seeing the brave little shoots through to maturity.
Not to mention the hordes of buggy mouths that hide above and below the soil surface, just waiting to suck the very life out of our toddler-plants and spoil all our plans. We must keep in mind, too, that those pretty little foot tracks in the snow that we've been watching all winter, multiply and turn into dozens of voracious mouths that mow gardens and decimate dreams of grandeur.
Apparently, the number of gardeners has increased tremendously during these harsh economic times. Fedco and Seed Savers--our reliable sources for non-"engineered" seeds--both say they had legions of new customers last year, the thought being that the Great Recession has inspired a surge of self-sufficiency.
But have patience. Caress those seed catalogs only so long, and then get busy and order your seeds right away. Soon. The sooner the better because last year, inventories of popular varieties were reduced to zero earlier than anticipated.
And, remember, this is the dreamy side of gardening, when the gardener can conquer anything and produce food for the whole world. It's a lot more humbling when you realize your failings about mid-July.
So, this is the time to savor the present moment. Bask in the feeling of complete control, for soon, way past the January thaw, you'll be thinking fondly once again of a snow-covered garden, a lively warm fire in the woodstove, soup bubbling, and lots and lots of time to read...more seed catalogs.