It’s that time of year again

Tomato seedlings
tomato seedlings

I’m still in the thinking/planning stages of my garden for this year, but very soon I’ll start my seedlings. I have a terrible habit of starting them far too early, and then end up with gargantuan plants that I awkwardly jostle around in the house for weeks until it’s safe to move them outdoors. So far I’ve held out on starting the seeds, but I’ve also been lazy and I haven’t even looked in earnest at what seeds I might order. There’s something about this winter that has put me off. Perhaps it’s that it feels like the worst parts of November and March that have just dragged on for so much longer than is natural — cold, blustery rain, the odd tease of fleeting snow and the wildly flip flopping temperatures. Some people feel like we’ve gotten away lightly this winter. Me? I feel gypped.

Don’t get me wrong, winter is far from my favourite time of the year, but I like to indulge and give credence to the specialness of each of the seasons, and there’s so much magic in fresh crisp snow and icy coldness. Hoarfrost is rare and beautiful. A good snowstorm is a wake up call to the power of nature. Playing in the snow with my dog reminds me of my childhood on the farm when we hollowed out caverns inside of snow drifts to make forts.

But alas, the season is in its final throes with barely a snowflake in sight.

My lethargy will give way soon. I’m ruminating on how to keep my garden simple this year. I adore heirloom tomatoes and always start far too many. We’re planning our belated two-week honeymoon to fall smack in the middle of the summer this year, and it’s unlikely I’ll find good garden help to maintain things while we’re away, so I may even forego the usual cacophony of potted veggies and flowers in the backyard, and keep everything in the ground as much as possible. This will be a struggle — I love pots of hanging strawberries, and planters of mint. My chile peppers always seem to do so much better in the super-heated little microclimates of planters in the hot sun than they do in the ground in this northern climate.

Tomato graduates potted in recycled milk bags
Tomato graduates potted in recycled milk bags

But unless my elderly neighbour will agree to attend to my plant menagerie, dreams of overflowing planters and hanging baskets may have to wait until next year. Most of our friends live too far away around the city for it to be convenient for them to drop by for (almost) daily waterings. Chris gifted me a timer for my soaker hoses this Christmas that can be used on my raised beds out front, so at least those can be kept on a schedule, but it’s the planters that would suffer the most from inadequate care.

So we shall see. I always say I’m going to simplify, simplify. But veggie gardens are gloriously messy things, and well…there’s always room for one more plant…at least until it reaches crowded maturity!


  1. Sandra says:

    I have the same problem – Iwant it all, then we keep going away to the cottage, and the garden goes to pot!
    But hope springs eternal…

  2. Janice says:

    I have tomato seedlings inside near a window, but they’re quickly outgrowing the containers I have them in. I’m curious, what are milk bags? Does milk come in bags in Canada? I’m using recycled milk cartons, but we can’t seem to drink the milk fast enough. lol

  3. admin says:

    Yep – milk comes in bags here! And cartons… but most people buy it in packages of three bags (three litres) of milk. Crazy, eh?

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