February was a cold month but it warmed up considerably when I observed the seed displays recently put out in the stores.
Though it’s been snowing and blowing and very cold, the sight of all those packages of flower and vegetable seeds always warms me up.
Every year I plan to cut back on the variety of seeds I’m going to plant and every year I fail to do so. There’s always somehing intriguing that catches my imagination and adds to the crowding of my limited garden space.
I’m not a good gardener. Though I enjoy roto-tilling, preparing the garden and planting the seeds and bedding plants, I’m a bit lax on weeding ,watering, and thinning out the rows of vegetables.
Every year I put in a couple of rows of beets, visualizing bowls of hearty borscht later in summer. Due to something lacking in the soil — and lack of thinning — the beets are so stunted that all I can do with them is pickle them whole. That’s a benefit for friends who seem to enjoy them and comment that I must have picked them early, when they were small. I don’t let them in on my secret.
My chard, which I believe is also a member of the beet family (Ed. note — he’s right), also doesn’t do well. My green beans, zucchini, parsnip, and tomatoes do well but last year the rabbits got my beans before they had a chance to mature. This year I’ll try to spraying them. I’ve been told that a mixture of detergent and water sprayed on the early beans should do the trick.
Last fall I cleaned up all the debris in the garden and started roto-tilling but my tiller conked out before I got finished. Then, before I could get it fixed we had a rainy spell followed by snow. So this year’s early seed displays are a good reminder to get the tiller fixed in early spring.
Though I enjoy winter it’s encouraging to watch the days grow longer, warmer, and sunnier. I look forward to sitting out in the patio with my newspaper and a fresh pot of coffee. I’ll make a stack of pumpernickel toast on which I will place thick slabs of beefsteak tomatoes. I doubt whether the wealthiest tycoons in the world get more satisfaction out of their breakfasts than I do.
Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona.