Planning the garden of my dreams
A long-awaited book arrived in the mail today: Square Foot Gardening. It came along with some others, but this is the one I wanted. Its arrival also inspired a quick stop at the library to pick up a book about extending the growing season, so that I could sit here dreamily looking over garden plans while snuggled under a blanket and drinking a nice cup of hot tea. After all, it is only one degree outside, hardly the weather for gardening.

And I've come to realize something: this is my absolute favorite time of year for gardening. Before me lay all my plans for a bountiful harvest. I have two books full of useful information to absorb, a notebook full of growing requirements for our planned crops, a catalog with all my selections circled, the beginning sketches of our garden-to-be and the start of a plan for a small greenhouse for next fall.

Here, in the comforting warmth of my blanket and tea, my garden is perfect, its fruit delicious. The chill of winter begins to give way to my dreaming, and all without digging a single weed. After all, I hate weeding. Come spring, I will be standing at my garden patch comparing the bed of green to the sketches on the seed packets, trying to determine which two-leafed sprouts are weeds, and which are my much-anticipated seedlings.

What good do those little popsicle stick markers do when surrounded by green intruders, all trying their best to look like my basil? Actually, I'll tell you a little secret. Most gardeners start seeds indoors to get a jump on the growing season. I start them indoors so that I have a fighting chance at distinguishing them from the inevitable covering of weeds. The last flower bed I attempted to start from seed turned into a miserable failure after I gave up and decided to see what bloomed and what didn't. Who knew those things which sort of looked like daises would grow three feet over a weekend while I was away and go to seed all before I even realized they were not in any way related to daisies?

I'm sure the neighbors are still thanking me for broadcasting those fluffy white seeds throughout the entire town. They are as bad as dandelions, but at least you can mow over a dandelion. Every time I see them sprouting on the roadside downwind from our house, I am reminded why I spend the extra money on potted plants rather than making another attempt at growing from seed.

So, uh, yeah. Keep that in mind over the next several months as I share our gardening adventures. For better or worse, I'm thinking it will be a regular feature here on A Very Nearly Tea, and we'll see whether this little garden of my dreams turns out more like the picture in my mind or that one up there with all the dandelions.

At least dandelion greens are edible. And you can make wine out of the flower heads. Something edible will come from this garden, one way or another.