Friday, November 19, 2004

Winter Sowing

This week I cut down two trees. There I was, poised at the edge of the "Great Wood" that begins at the very edge of our back yard. The trees along the edge are crowded and weed-like. One tree was a nasty, thorny thing (I think it might be a hawthorn). It was time to make it clear who the gardener is around here.

Saw in hand, I scrunched down and scratched away at the tree trunks, wondering all the while if I was doing this right. There was this point with both trees that the weight of the trunk smashed the saw into place, making it difficult to move the saw at all. I had an image of abandoning the metal thing inside the middle of the tree for the winter--not a pretty thought. With raw brute force, I managed along. Timber! The trees feel to the ground in grand style, one after the other.

Actually, both trees were pretty young, slender things. Still, it took some hacking to make it happen, and I'm feeling rather adventurous to be working out in the yard this late in the year. This spring, I made some modest progress in my yard. (I'd like to call this place a garden, but I don't think it qualifies yet.) I moved a bunch of hostas into a new bed out back, and Randy and I built a mighty brick planter along the steps at the front of the house. By the end of the year, the beds remained relatively weed free. That's an accomplishment, I think.

Next year, I have much grander plans. I see blooming things everywhere. Veggies, old fashioned sunflowers, herbs, cosmos..... I see it, just beyond my grasp... A living garden...

With the goal of making next year more successful than this, I've been doing some purposeful surfing. My best find is the Garden Web forum on Winter Sowing. The idea with winter sowing is to start many hardy seeds in plastic-covered pots outside, instead of fussing with indoor seed-starting contraptions. Apparently, many wildflower and other hardy seeds appreciate the cold spell outside, and they'll bloom in the spring with they are ready, with every little intervention from the green thumb. Because the plants are grown outside, they are ready to go into the ground much earlier, without all that stuff about "hardening off" that's required for indoor grown seedling. Starting plants from seeds saves a lot of money, plus you can grow many more varieties of plants than are offered at the big box hardware store.

This is it, Dear Reader. The key to the Garden Kingdom. Check out the forum here, and be sure to browse the FAQ pages for all the details.

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