It happens every January.
While December is filled with gifts, decorations, rituals and events, there often isn’t much to be excited about after the holidays have ended.
Unless you are a gardener.
The seed catalogs start arriving in the mail in November, and by December, I have already poured through the paper versions as well as my online companies. I have a game plan (sort of) that involves perennials, annuals, herbs and veggies that I must have for the greenhouse this growing season.
It’s part memory of the plants that sold well or the ones I didn’t have that people asked for. But mostly it’s just the reaction I get when I look at the photos and drawings of beautiful flowers and healthy veggies.
I have to admit, I am drawn to the unusual. I want to offer plants to my customers and friends that they may not find in most greenhouses. Sometimes, like last year, I focus on a particular area – like flowering plants for shady areas.
Mainly, I look for plants that will grow well in our region – which is a cross between Zones 4 and 5. People don’t always think about Zones when they find a plant they love in catalogs or online. Those plants may flourish or exist for a year, but they are unlikely to come back after one of our brutal winters.
I am not expert, but I am willing to admit my own mistakes and learn from them. This is especially true when it comes to planting seeds, growing indoors and outdoors and dealing with plant pests.
I have learned to start seeds indoors, with heat mats and grow lights and constant monitoring. I had learned to READ the packages and follow directions on growing medium, light, depth and germination times. I start the seeds that take the longest first (I had my first seeds planted the last week of December) and hold off on the fast growers as time goes by.
What I never seem to grasp is the conversion of a flat with eight seedling containers into 20 or more flats of transplanted plants. There is never enough room in my greenhouse for all those transplants! My family and friends say I need another greenhouse – I think I need a therapist. I don’t know how to cut back in the beginning of this growing adventure and I have a hard time letting go at the end. There are pepper plants, celery, herbs and more from 2021 still in pots somewhere. They do not know it yet, but their days are numbered.
So, here I am in mid-January with three flats of seeds already setting true leaves or popping through the soil. I look at them several times a day and then again at night.
I marvel at the process of a small (sometimes infinitesimal) seed transforming into a small plant. At the end of the year, I am even more amazed at the resulting plant and flowers.
If you ever wonder why I spend so much time talking to you about a plant I have raised from seed, this blog may help explain me. They are my babies, and I am both proud and sad to sell them to another mother or father. It is a sick admission from an owner of a business which is supposed to sell plants, but accepting my condition is a step toward recovery.
When you come to visit my plants this spring, and if you buy some of them, make sure you talk to them occasionally and let them know you love them. They came from a loving home, and deserve only the best light, dirt and fertilizer in their future.
And I will try to control my tears as they go out the door.