books, gardening, homesteading, school, spring, winter

Planning the garden

Today I taught my first session with a new group of students: little guys (to me, anyway), 4th – 6th graders. We talked about reading and books and the program we’ll be starting tomorrow. The kids were fun, energetic, and so genuine. I always maintained that I could never teach anyone younger than 7th grade, and yet…I’m looking forward to this semester.

I don’t want to get all cheesy on you guys and talk about new beginnings and whatnot, but with January being so gloomy, it’s hard not to dream about a fresh start. And since I’m in the middle of a crash-course fresh start at school, I’ve been thinking about beginnings in other areas of life, too. Lately of the green variety: the garden.
Last summer I tried out container gardening for the first time, ambitiously calling it my “kitchen garden.” There were tomatoes, spinach, snap peas and lettuce. The squirrels probably enjoyed more of its bounty than I did. And yet there was something so satisfying about growing a tiny garden from start to finish. I watched my little seedlings obsessively, bending down to check on them every morning, and when they moved to bigger containers I stuck my finger in the soil every few days to make sure they had enough water. My dad and I traded tips on growing the best tomatoes. When autumn arrived and it came time to clean out the pots for next season, my heart ached a little bit.
But! Now it’s time to plan for this coming season. I’ve hunkered down in the dining room with library books and an organic gardening text recommended by a friend. I’m taking notes on what plants to grow together and what seeds to order from catalogs. And over the weekend I fell for a few pots of herbs at the farmers’ market, because who wouldn’t? They now sit on my great-grandmother’s plant stand in the living room.
So here’s my tentative plan, in containers once again:
  • snap peas
  • peppers
  • kale and spinach
  • carrots
  • herbs: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (try growing those together without breaking into song); lavender, oregano, cilantro, and dill
  • flowers, just because

Ambitious? Yes. Doable? Uncertain. But planning the garden makes January a little less gloomy, and there’s something to be said for that.

Are you planning a garden? What will you plant?
“Field Notes” notebook: Column & Stripe.
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