I just happened to glance over at my work table (kitty-corner from the computer desk) and noticed this lovely vignette. It’s a snapshot of part of my life here during the winter build-up to planting and greenhouse production. (If you look too closely, you’ll see some things that might offend you if you have delicate sensibilities. Tough potatoes.)
The process is this (these are not my first gardens, btw): In October and November, you start losing your mind and thinking that spring will never come. To console yourself, you make sure all your seed catalog subscriptions are up to date and add half a dozen more because you can (dreaming is free). Then they start coming in. You get them into a a stack in a quiet place where you have lots of room to spread out (floor works best). You grab a notebook and pen, but that’s for later, because you’ve already become entranced by say, “Moon and Stars” watermelons on several catalog covers and you HAVE TO SEE what else is inside like three representative catalogs. Then, you start circling items, turning down page corners, and yelling out to your partner, “Are six varieties of radish too many?” Then, when you’ve culled through each catalog, you start your lists (in my case this year: one for Soilent Greens outdoor production and one for greenhouse microgreens; one for personal use, outdoor gardens).
This year I’m working from a graph paper design because my layout is new. And I’m making several lists, because I’m working with three grow-ops and several vendors. But it didn’t start off this organized, oh no! Because my initial circling, page turn-downs, wish lists, and doodlefests put the price tag at over $3000. That’s three zeros. Not including ornamentals, fruit trees, berry bushes, or amendments. Did I mention we just bought an 80 year-old farmhouse? Turns out, it’s kind of a pricey proposition and we’re not exactly the Rothschilds. So I had to whittle my choices down to common sense proportions, meaning sure-fire organic seeds on varieties that we love, and the least expensive organic options on the Soilent Greens purchases.
That part is painful to my soul. (It’s almost as hard as culling seedlings, where you thin out the weak ones to give the strong ones a better chance.) The part of myself that reveled in the Sears Toy Catalog every year as a child (turning down every page corner and making elaborate demands of Santa Claus), the part that wants everything right now, with icing, gets a little chapped that she can’t buy every item in every catalog.
So now the anal-retentive grownup sits at a lovely table with a view of the neighbors’ cows, and makes very sensible choices from a plethora of seed catalogs and sites. I mean come on, I’m using a calculator, ruler, dedicated notebook, graphed garden plots, and the Farmers’ Almanac. I should get a grown-up discount from…life.
By the way, this seed catalog madness process from beginning to end takes about three months. Three months of revisiting the pile, finding new items (how is that POSSIBLE) where you say, “Holy crapple, how did I miss *this* little gem? This is definitely going on the list!!” and driving your partner batshit.
The seed deliveries and in-store purchases starts a whole new level of crazy. And I haven’t started with the Farmtek catalog. A’s going to need cocktails.