February 13, 2011

Take your mind off winter

This certainly has been a winter to remember. I've talked to people who pretty much lost their cars in snow drifts and heard about one couple who lost their minivan when the weight of snow collapsed their carport. Then there was the couple that let their little dog out into the yard and he walked up the snowdrift and over the fence. They spent hours looking for him.

I recently had a friend say to me, "How can you be thinking about spring and summer when everyone is shoveling and snow-blowing and there's no end in sight," to which I replied, "How can you not be?" I can't think of a better way to take my mind off of winter than to start thinking about vegetable gardening.

Put winter out of your mind for awhile. If you haven't done so already, go online and order a seed catalog or two or talk to local nurseries and garden centers about lists or catalogs that they may have available. If you've recently received your 2011 vegetable seed catalogs, pick them up and take some time to dream. Take your time. Enjoy looking through those catalogs. Choose varieties recommended for this area. Make lists. If you are anything like me, you will have to narrow your list(s) down considerably before you're ready to start ordering your seeds.

Whenever possible, select and purchase quality seeds from dependable seed companies and/or buy starter plants from reputable dealers. You run the risk of losing your entire garden by planting inferior seed or by setting out bad or diseased plants. Starter plants should be healthy; fresh and stocky with deep green color. Never buy plants that appear yellow or wilted.

If you're new to gardening, there are several things you need to consider. Vegetable gardening is so much more than just digging up a piece of ground and planting. It can and should be a labor of love. Yes, a vegetable garden is supposed to provide, but more than that, it should be both gratifying and beautiful. A vegetable garden can be a point of interest and pride when entertaining friends and family. It can even be a place where children play, or where we can simply sit and appreciate a warm summer day.

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