Every year I go into garden season with a sense of excitement and foreboding. Excitement for all the new vegetable varieties chosen in the depths of winter when the seed companies know you’re dreaming of warm weather and green growing things. Foreboding… well, foreboding for all the vegetable seeds chosen in the depths of winter. Let’s face it – who’s not tempted by twelve varieties of lima beans when it’s below zero and dark outside? Of course 25 tomato plants sound great when you’re knee deep in snow.
This past year was no exception. I happily sat down at the computer and ordered seeds and plants. I felt a little trepidation when box after box arrived at the door. (I was on a first name basis with the UPS guy by this time.) The days became longer, the snow melted, the ground warmed… Suddenly I was feeling a cross between wild joy and full-on panic. I had three kinds of radishes! Four kinds of cucumbers! Seven different varieties of tomato plants that all came before my last frost date!
As always, everything got into the ground and none of my cucumber trellises or pole bean teepees got built. My fancy tomato tying idea was still just an idea. The companion plantings, carefully orchestrated diagrams, and precise crop rotation went flying out the window in the excitement (panic???) of getting everything in the ground before it died or was forgotten in a corner of the box.
How did it go? It was a very successful year for squash and pumpkins. Cucumbers came on late, but produced well. Tomatoes, not so much. My swiss chard was a forest of deep red stems and dark green leaves. The parsnips (I don’t remember planting parsnips…) were delicious.
Every year I tell myself to cut back, take it easy. There’s no reason to buy seeds in late December/early January. They’re not going to run out any time soon. But… But… There’s always this niggling voice in the back of my mind, “What if they do run out of Fordhook 242 lima beans??? What if it’s mid May and there are no Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes to be found???” So, of course, I overbuy and dream that this will be the year of garden bliss. This will be the year of cucumber trellises, pole bean teepees, and fancy tomato tying.
So, bring on the catalogs and the emails! I’m ready for you this year. I’ll be careful. I’ll be cautious. Oh, who am I kidding??? Bring on the limas!