Punxsutawney Phil may say there are six more weeks of winter but apparently, he is not from Western Massachusetts. We see snow well into April and a late frost can wipe out the garden in May. So, what’s a garden girl to do while the snow lies deep and yet another storm is forecasted for the weekend? Well, she hunkers down with her seed catalogs, graph paper and last year’s records and starts planning her garden.
Are their tools I need that make gardening easier as I age? It turns out there is one I want. I need an Ultra-Light Shovel as my back is not what it used to be. I also need more gardening gloves. Like a lot of us, I need multiple pair. I’m tough on my gloves and I tend to find lots of left-hand gloves while the right ones end up in the same neverland as those unmatched socks.
Now for seeds. I love, love, love Seed Saver’s Exchange. The names conjure up familiar images of gardens past. Mortgage Lifter and Amish Paste Tomatoes, Kentucky Wonder Bush Beans and Bull’s Blood Beets have been garden staples for years.
I use a simple calendar for my records. I keep one hanging inside the potting shed. It’s a simple thing to jot down notes on things like planting dates, late frosts and routine chores. What did I fertilize with and when? Did that new variety of cabbage do as well as the tried and true? When did we have that huge hail storm? Numbers fill the margins. I can call the man who has the great compost or the lady with the rare seeds who was willing to swap.
My big excitement this year is my herb garden. I have been taking classes on growing medicinal herbs and I’m expanding the space devoted to them. This means digging up some overgrown plants (too much motherwort) and getting rid of things I haven’t used (hence the new Ultra-Light Shovel). The graph paper will make designing the space much easier.
I keep track of the light. Every day is longer now by a very few minutes but the minutes will soon add up to hours. Spring will come again, and I and my garden will be ready for it.