As I sit here typing, the temperatures are in the single digits. Every year, when we get snow, I say I am going to order snow shoes. Every year, I forget. This year is no different, although I may actually really try to remember this time! As I age, trudging through “heart attack” snow, as I call it, to feed the animals, is no longer as much fun, but very necessary! I am usually out to the barn before Mr. Green Jeans gets the tractor to plow me several paths!
My grandson does enjoy the snow, so after barn chores, we stay bundled up and sled, make snowmen, and throw snowballs and pebbles on the ice on the pond. It’s always a contest to see whose rock or snowball skids the furthest!
The other good thing about cold weather and this time of year is the seed catalogs that are arriving! Once inside, in the big cozy chair, with a cuppa hot tea and a few seed catalogs, let the daydreaming begin.
Recently, a friend in a gardening group mentioned she started her winter sowing. That was a new term to me, so I started asking questions and doing a little research. There is also a Facebook page called Winter Sowing. You plant your seeds in milk jugs or covered containers and start them outside, snow or not! I think I live in growing zone 6A, so an early start seems like a great idea.
Another friend told me about square foot gardening, something she has done for years. I am not a fan of weeding (as Mr. Green Jeans will heartily attest to!), and our vegetable garden plot is huge. It is the original garden plot that was here behind the old farmhouse when we bought the property. The farmhouse is long gone. In its place is my teeny tiny house -we refrain from calling it a she shed! A potting table is now outside the garden fence line. There have been many things written on the pros and cons of tilling the soil. Waiting for tilling to get done, weather permitting, always seems to delay the start of my garden. Untilled seems healthier for the soil. But what to do with the weeds/wild things that grow with no convincing and with abandon? As the founder of Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew states, “Traditional row gardening is wasteful, inefficient, and a whole lot of back-breaking work- everything that Square Foot Gardening is not.”
My dream has always been to have a section of this garden plot filled with cutting flowers, and tilling just won’t work. Sooo, I’m thinking that square foot, winter sowing, and small wood framed plots within the big plot might be the answer this year.
My little herb garden right outside the front door is pretty self- sustaining. I have lavender, thyme, oregano, sage, and rosemary. In the spring, I hope to add chamomile, patchouli, and a few others in between the flowers.
Every fall, I drag all the potted plants in my house for the winter. Some survive, some obviously prefer being outside. These plants are, as am I, are dreaming and waiting for the warm weather to return!
The rosemary survives the winter’s cold, so I regularly harvest from the bush for cooking and tea. We have one white pine tree on the property, and a friend told me about the benefits of tea made from the needles. Antioxidants, antiviral, vitamin C are just a few of the benefits found in white pine, used by Native Americans. Eastern White Pine has 5 needles per “bundle” or fascicle, that is the one to look for. It is worth researching.
Mullein tea is another favorite, so last summer I started harvesting from the plants that grow wild here in the summer. It is supposedly good for respiratory issues, in tea or steamed.
So, if you are sitting down, in front of the fire, perusing all the garden catalogs, dream along with me of warmer weather, spring plantings, and future harvests.
All is well, here at Mountain Meadows, this chilly day…….