Phew, whadda job. Just ask my husband who has had to live with the myriad of catalogs strewn over the kitchen table (and me bent over them muttering to myself while making copious notations on multitudinous pieces of paper) for the last solid week.
I thought you might appreciate
a little garden eye candy
However, the task is now completed, and I used the phone (much, much faster than ordering online) this morning to place my order from each of four different seed companies.
I do take my gardening responsibilities very seriously and locating and procuring the seeds I want is just the start of the process each season. Gardening is hard work, but I simply love it and feel very, very good that (most years) I can provide us with an ample supply of fruits and vegetables for our year 'round eating pleasure and satisfying our nutritional needs.
Right now, at the end of January, we still have a good supply of peas, cauliflower, beets, green and yellow beans and Brussels sprouts in the freezer. The broccoli was mostly consumed by the worms (again!) this year so what I did harvest is long gone. We have only one and a half servings of Stuffed Green Peppers left as I lost more than half of the pepper plants this past season to some weird, undiagnosed malady.
There is plenty of garlic and an abundance of onions cured and storing well in the basement.
Our root cellar still holds cabbages, carrots, beets and potatoes. Also some apples from our downright pitiful last harvest. They aren't the best eating out-of-hand apples by far (that's an understatement), but they do make good baked desserts and (amazingly) great applesauce.
Many jars of applesauce, sweet and dill pickles and pickled beets are squirreled away in the pantry.
I have several jars of still bright green dried parsley, but have run out of dried mint. Papa Pea drinks a mug of peppermint tea every morning and has declared the mint I grew and dried last summer the best tasting he's ever had. With a compliment like that, you can bet I'll be growing lots more this coming season.
Frozen chives (that I love and use so much) are holding out well, and I think we'll have enough until the little green shoots of that hardy perennial plant make an appearance this spring.
Our strawberry crop last year was nothing to write home about as our old bed of geriatric plants finally gave up the ghost, but the new plants I put in should be rarin' to go this season giving us (we're hope, hope, hoping) as many red, juicy berries as we'll need. For now I have only one lonely quart of mashed strawberries in the freezer that I don't seem to be able to use . . . because then I'd be totally O-U-T, wouldn't I? Happily, there are still many jars of strawberry jam in the pantry.
Still have plenty of frozen raspberries and rhubarb but the blueberries are to the point of being rationed out. (Remember the onslaught of blueberry-eating robins we were plagued with last year? We haven't forgotten them, that's for sure, and will be ready this year if they try another takeover of the blueberry patch. Yes, it may be a case of take no prisoners. Sorry, Robin Redbreast, but those are MY blueberries.)
Before I made myself delve into the catalogs and the official Ordering of the Seeds, I admit I was dragging my feet because I had absolutely no desire (despite my declaration of loving gardening so much) to even think about this coming season's garden yet. But rest assured it didn't take more than looking at two or three catalogs and I would have gone right outside to plant some seeds . . . if that had been possible. I guess you can take me out of the garden, but you can't take the urge to garden out of me. Not for long anyway.
I love garden catalogs though I no longer have space to do much gardening - I like to dream anyway - and I can always share the fun by watching what you do. Great inventory. I have sweet pickle relish,blackberry jam, apricot/raspberry jam, apple butter, bread and butter pickles and pickled beets left - more blackberries and apricots in the freezer in case I need to make another batch or two of jam.
I so agree about trying to find the best seeds at the best prices. Right now everything is so wet that all I can do is dream through catalogs. It's a treat to hear how your produce is holding up. Here's hoping for a good season for us all next summer.
You didn't happen to order from Park Seeds, did you? They are only about 20 miles from my house. And I for one can not wait until you start working in your garden. :)
I could never hold off as long as you do--my orders go in the last week of December. Though I love our LOOOONG forced "time out" , I never stop thinking about the garden.
I did my freezer check just last week and am holding out pretty good as well. My huge disaster this year was the onions. I SWEAR those were not my Copras they sent last year as these have all sprouted. Copras usually hold until the following years' crop is ready. I've been frantically chopping and freezing the remaining few that haven't rotted. I'm ticked off about this.....and really almost didn't order from that commpany again. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, however, and giving them another chance.
Thanks for the pictures of your garden. Makes me hopeful for Spring.
JoAnn - Aren't our homemade preserves so much tastier than those you can buy? I haven't made sweet pickle relish for year 'cause I'm the only one who likes it. Maybe I will do a small batch this coming season . . .
Leigh - Yes, let's do hope for a good gardening season coming up, but, oh gosh, with all the weird weather patterns that have been prevailing, it's hard to count on anything anymore. But as we know, if one crop fails, another gives us bounty. :o)
Laurie - I have the Park Seed catalog but didn't order anything from them this year. I try to order from the companies that are more "northern-ish" thinking their seeds may be more adapted to my northern growing conditions. That's the hope anyway!
Sue - Ooops, on the onion fiasco! Darn. I'll be this year all will be well again.
Now that I've got the seed orders in, I'm kinda eager to get the whole garden mapped out on paper. (If I can put my knitting and quilting down long enough!)
Tami - You're welcome. I figured we all needed a shot of that!
Wow...just reading all that you were able to squirrel away, left me quite envious but also encouraged that I could do the same. I have never put away for the winter, and this will be the first time I am aiming to try. Seed catalogs are tempting, but since this will be my first time in such a very, very small space, I'll start with plants that are already started from my farmers market and begin that way. Then I'll grow or purchase from our local farmer and squirrel away :0)
What a delight you are Mama Pea for sharing your wisdom with us today :0) mari
I have to say, your garden(s) are spot on tidy. Wow! I have most of my seeds ordered, but will place another soon (herbs).
I usually order on the late side, but have found that I miss the boat on some of the seeds I want. I just plotted out my garden this past weekend and called in the last of the order today!
mari - you will be amazed just how much you really can grow in a small space. Starting with plants from your farmers' market is a good way to go. With the price of food skyrocketing as it is, everything you can grow yourself will put you far ahead!
Kristina - I wish I could over-winter more of the herbs here, but haven't had much luck at that. I can't even get parsley to make it even though I cover it each fall with a heavy mulch. I know I could try potting some of the herbs up and bringing them inside, but I don't have much room for them inside. Such a dilemma!
Susan - Yep, not being able to get all your selected varieties because of ordering late is always a problem. And I'm expecting that to be all the more so this year with more and more folks jumping on the home gardening band wagon.
I just love all your garden beds and how neat and orderly they look. I just have a small garden but it will soon be time! Nancy
Thank you, Nancy. I love working in the garden and having it neat and tidy brings me a lot of satisfaction. Even though your garden may be small, I hope you enjoy it a lot, too. :o}
This is one to get the gardening fever up and running. Gorgeous gardens.
gld - Thank you! I figured we all needed to be reminded of what our gardens look like at another time of year . . . just so we didn't forget!! ;o]
I'm behind my behind.... (picked up that little saying from a certain someone in Minnesota!) and am trying to catch up with your goings ons this morning and had to stop at this post to say, once again, your gardens are drool worthy! All these years, I've never tired of seeing photos of your garden in all their glory! You are motivating and inspiring. Each year I think I'm done with gardening..... then Spring rolls around and your photos appear on your blog and I'm ready to go again. :)
Hi, Lisa! If any of my posts or pictures inspire anyone to grow a little or a lot of their own food, the time spent here at the ol' computer is worth it! It's the best (and only, I truly believe) way to obtain food that best nourishes our bodies and keeps us healthy. (Gee, do I sound adamant about this??) :o}
Thank you, thank you for your very kind and complimentary words.
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