Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can't we garden yet?

"Can we garden today?" my 5 year old asked New Year's Eve.

Doesn't she realize it's December? That she lives in Indiana? That she just wrapped up weeks of snow and we'll likely get weeks more before it's all over?

Yet, New Year's Eve was the rare exception, and a blast of warm air brought in 61-degree temps. And my daughter wanted to spend it gardening.

Who am I to argue, really?

Maybe I was feeling a little too overconfident after reading my copy of Four-Season Harvest that my husband got me for Christmas. Maybe I was tired of last season's seeds staring at me in the garage. Maybe I just wanted the kids to make a mess outside for once after the previous two weeks. So we went outside. To garden. On Dec. 31. In the Midwest.

We scattered some leftover carrot seeds on the ground, just to see what might happen once the temperatures really warm. We planted a few small onions from the summer's garden, as they had happened to sprout little green shoots. I cleaned up a few weeds. They played with bubbles.

Later, we potted an amaryllis we'd gotten for Christmas and decided to do a "gardening experiment" by planting a few seeds in a pot in a garage.

It's a small comparison to the real thing. I'm starting to get seed catalogs in the mail, and I'm sorely tempted to try new things this summer. Like okra, which my kids discovered last year and love. Or ground cherries. Or maybe, this year, I'll have real luck with my tomatoes, which failed at seed-starting, froze after my early-spring over-enthusiasm, and later failed to produce like those lucky vendors at our farmers markets. Can't we just garden yet?

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