One of the things that I like about January is the arrival of the catalogs from the nurseries. They used to arrive along with the income tax forms, but now that things are being filed electronically the forms are not an issue.
My husband was an avid gardener. He faithfully perused the catalogs looking for different things to purchase. I am glad I am still on the mailing list for numerous catalogs. They make good reading. There are numerous gardening tips and a whole lot of information.
A compliment goes to the photographers. They do a magnificent job. The food looks good enough to eat. The plants look strong and healthy. Incidentally, we have purchased many things from the catalogs through the years. What we purchased from several of the catalogs was excellent.
My gardening consists mainly of herbs but I do like to plant tomatoes as well. I have done it both ways. I have grown my own plants from seed and I have purchased plants. I do not notice either method being better.
My herbs do particularly well in the small bed on the patio. It seems that they get the right mix of sun and shade. The dirt in my bed was brought in so it is not the clay that is all around at Hickory Heights. I used some of my own parsley in soup just before Christmas. This fall I also dried some of my own herbs so I have those to use as well.
I love fruit but the clay soil here is not conducive to growing fruit trees. My husband tried his hand with those with little success. If he could not make the things grow there is no hope for me.
I did manage to grow some plum trees once. I started the trees from seed. There was a whole grove of plum trees down at the farm. I am not sure of the botanical name, but they were the prune type of plums that were small and sweet. Every-other-year the trees were loaded. On the year that we had a lot of them I canned some and froze them. That process made it seem like I had two different fruits. The canned plums tasted like plums. The ones that I froze tasted like prunes when I cooked them.
The year that I grew some trees was the one when canning lids were at a premium. They were really hard to find. I decided that if I pitted the plums I could fit more fruit in each jar. I threw the pits into the flower bed by the side of the house. By the next spring I had a crop of fruit trees. I took some of them to school for my students to plant to give to their fathers for Father's Day. Some I replanted for us. All went well until they got a horrible black fungus. I lost all of the trees that I started. I wonder if any of my former students still have one of those trees growing.
Whenever I think about the growing process I am led to Ecclesiastes. I love the section that is close to the beginning of the book about there being a time for everything. I found a copy of these verses done in calligraphy at a craft show. It is now in a prominent spot in my home so that I am constantly reminded that we do not know the time, but God does.
In case you are not familiar with this passage I include it here for your reading pleasure. This version is from the New International Version of the Bible.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."
This passage covers most of what you will encounter in life including the planting of gardens.
Even though you cannot see the whole picture, you must trust that what happens is the way the Lord designed it.
This year my son and daughter-in-law will start their plants in a new greenhouse that was erected just before Christmas. My son made planting benches and places to put the containers. They are the farmers. My son is always trying something new. His wife has wanted a greenhouse for years and this was the year. They also plan to use it to extend the season for some of the vegetables.
I know he is pouring over the seed catalogs as I write. He reads about the seeds, then orders what he thinks will do the best around here.
Being a forward thinker is not bad! It gives one something to look forward to.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org