I stayed home from work today recovering from a brief stomach flu bug that hit last night. I was feeling better but not well enough to sit through a meeting that was scheduled. I'm so disappointed! :) I was feeling well enough, however, to gather all my seed catalogs and sit by the table overlooking the bird feeder, and do some serious garden and seed order planning.
It is serious business. Face it, I've got perhaps forty more chances in this lifetime to grow a garden, and I intend to make the best use of the opportunity. Why grow a few industrial hybrid veggies distributed by a subsidiary of the most evil corporation known to humanity (ummm, I guess that would be pretty much all of them) when I can be subversive and grow heirlooms, choosing from an almost infinite number of varieties, even save my own seed if I find something that works well here?
The number one reason, perhaps, is time. With so many varieties to choose from, it takes some careful study to decide what is best for my area and my needs. Take for example tomatoes. I have a pitifully short, unpredictable growing season, and with rainfall it may be feast or famine. I am looking for something that will produce before August, a couple interesting cherry type tomatoes for snacking and possibly marketing, some productive paste varieties for salsa and canning, and some heavenly slicing varieties. So far my list stands at twenty varieties, several in each of the above categories. Most of them I have already, but I still feel the need to experiment and hopefully stumble on THE perfect variety.
In past years I have mostly confined my exacting selection process to tomatoes. However, this year I am giving each other vegetable careful thought. So far I'm growing three or four different kinds of carrots, several beans (both pole and bush), and I'm staying up nights debating the perfect pickling cucumber. Not to mention winter squashes (between my stash and what I want to order I could have eight or more types!) and peppers (which, fortunately I closed the book on; I already have an order of four varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, plus a stash of three).
This ain't just a hobby, however. This is food. This is life. This is pretty serious business. But it is a lot of fun, imagining and dreaming the possibilities.
While I was pondering the possibilities, the pine grosbeaks showed up promptly at 10:15, not more than two minutes after I thought to myself "the pine grosbeaks usually show up right about now." And, I won the bet from yesterday, I heard Canada geese this morning! Spring is not too far off now.