As 2016 draws to a close, Heart & Sole Gardens is a peaceful place. Honeybees tuck into hives, fields lie fallow, except for patches of Fall greens and garlic, and wire cages stand as sentinels, ready to contain next Summer’s tomatoes and peppers. Dry weeds crunch underfoot and both streams gurgle loudly without green brush to muffle sound. Small birds flit among tall weeds, searching for food and shelter and ground hogs hibernate in underground dens, sustained by garden produce they consumed. Winter fields, bare of lush green leaves and vines, hold endless possibilities for future plantings and, although I promised to scale back this year, not cultivate quite as much real estate, the gardens whisper, asking for the chance to produce abundant bounty.
Winter fields whisper possibilities.
It doesn’t help that my mailbox teems with seed catalogs, sporting glossy colorful photographs of beautiful fruits and vegetables, enticing me to order far more varieties than is reasonable. “Bright pink and red vanilla-scented flowers” describes Red Milkweed and I am powerless to resist ordering the seed packet. Besides, Monarch butterflies depend upon milkweed and should I not do my part to feed those beautiful winged pollinators? Photographs of lettuce leaves encourage a list of possibilities and recalling last Spring’s salads, crunchy and colorful, I add a few new specimens to the order. Kohlrabi is a plant I always wanted to try and my husband’s 98-year-old uncle grows it successfully and proclaims it delicious, so why not add it to the list? Since it is available in both white and purple, maybe I should get both? I try not to linger over heirloom tomato pages. Even with saved seeds from hundreds of varieties, surely there is room for one more?
Gardeners' wish books.
As children, my brother and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of The Wish Book, a mail-order catalog that arrived in plenty of time for youngsters to explore a wealth of possibilities for Christmas wishes. Patiently taking turns with the thick volume, we dreamed of Easy Bake ovens, race car tracks and many other tempting toys. Now, as a gardening adult, seed catalogs are my Wish Books and, even though online access is easy, there is something about holding that tangible collection of offerings, turning pages, marking items for future looks, that recalls the same childhood anticipation.
Potatoes often yield humor.
After the busyness of the holiday season, I look forward to snuggling next to the fireplace, warming my back as I turn pages of dreams. Already, the seed potato order is processed and delivery will be late February. If the crop is a typical yield, one hundred, fifty-five pounds of seed will produce one thousand, five hundred and fifty pounds. Scale back? Maybe next year...