It hardly feels like January with the mild temperatures and melting snow...but we know there are still plenty of cold days and nights ahead. The start of the new year, and the slower pace around here, always gets us thinking about our garden. What will it hold this year - which new design ideas can we include, what new (and old favourite) varities will be grown, how can we better reorganize the herb gardens, and most importantly what seeds do we need to order? January is the time for browsing through seed catalogues and getting new ones in the mail (we are anticipating catalogues from Hope Seeds, West Coast Seeds, and High Mowing Seeds as recommended by our organic farming friend Angie from local CSA Fertile Ground) - as well as attending the annual Guelph Organic Conference at the end of this month. As this is the "international year of co-operatives" the conference theme is "seeds of co-operation". We would like to keep this theme in mind for our year as well, as we plan our community involvement and projects here at the homestead.
While we are talking about co-operation, I have plenty of it from my 3 year old helper who was eager to start our winter garden. She mapped out what she wants to grow in her own garden on a large sheet of paper by cutting out photos from an old seed catalogue and pasting them on the garden sketch. It includes vegetables like rainbow carrots, ruby red swiss chard, several kinds of peas and beans, baby watermelon, and corn grown for popcorn! She even drew a stone walkway leading upto a little stump for sitting on, and (to my delight) a herb section with echinacea, basil, calendula and sunflowers in one corner of her little garden outline. This week we did in fact start some herb seeds - the tiny slow germinating ones like rosemary, echinacea and lavender seeds (saved from our own plants!) that grow so slowly. We also have a nice edible "sprout garden" going, with pea shoots and sunflower greens in soil trays, plus micro greens in jars, just to give us that boost of fresh homegrown greens during these sparse months.