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Garden Reading in January

Tuesday night the UPS driver pulled up to our home at 6:00 p.m and dropped off a package.  Since Jacob’s birthday was Monday I assumed it was probably his gift from his brother. (We won’t scold about it being late we are just happy that he got him a gift).

However, waiting by my front door was my new book the backyard parables, lessons on gardening, and life by Margaret Roach.  I discovered Margaret via the Internet on her blog A Way to Garden, or so I thought.  Once I devoured her site I realized I was familiar with Margaret from way back when she was the first garden editor of Martha Stewart’s magazine “Living”.

the backyard parables by Margaret Roach

I still have the “Living” magazines from 1992-1995, so I went back and looked through them.  They were actually my first gardening literature.  My sister-n-law bought me the subscription back when I was pregnant with my first son and had started spending time in our back yard planting flowers, that I might add I had no idea if they were annuals or perennials.  My sister-n-law must have recognized how much I enjoyed spending time with my hands in the dirt and thought the magazine would be an inspiration, and of course she was right.  I have thought about throwing the magazines away several different times over the years, magazines are no fun to move around, but always decided in the end to keep them.  I am thankful that I have, I still pull them out at least once a year and go through them.  Feeling a connection to Margaret I pre ordered her book before Christmas and have been patiently waiting for it to arrive.

I have been sitting down each night and reading the backyard parables.  It is beautifully written, Margaret is very thoughtful and transcendental with her writing about nature and her relationship with it.   I highly recommend you getting a copy, you will learn, laugh, but you will also have more insight into the art of gardening.

Along with Margaret’s book I have been scouring the seed catalogs and placing my orders for this years seeds.  I also made a trip to pick up seed starting mix and seed starting trays.

I am always so excited to start seeds-partly because I have started to miss my garden but mostly because of the challenges and the rewards that comes with starting your own vegetables.  There really is nothing like knowing when you eat a tomato, cucumber, or chop herbs for your recipes that you grew, supported and cared for the food you are eating and the people you love are eating.  You know everything that it took to get that food on your table and you know that it is the best, most clean and healthy food possible, because you made sure of it.

If you have never grown your own seeds, I really encourage you to try it out.  Don’t worry if you might fail.  Its better to have tried and failed then to never try it all.  As Margaret writes in her book “As I often remind myself and anyone listening, there is the one thing I know with certainty about gardening after thirty years of study and practice:  Things will die.”

I can’t convey to you enough that there is something magical about planting a seed and caring for it and then stopping by the next day to see a little green head popping up to say “hello”.  Margaret is right, things will die, but even if you only have a single plant to pop into the garden when the ground warms, you will have learned so much along the way.

If you don’t have a lot of room in your yard or you don’t have a lot of time, try growing tomatoes, peppers and herbs in pots on your back patio or deck.  That is a wonderful, easy, and inexpensive way to start out.  If you have a garden and you have always bought your plants at the nursery, think of all the different kinds of vegetables, herbs and fruits that you could have growing this summer only if you start them yourself.    Purple green beans, yellow cucumbers, orange tomatoes and yellow carrots all beautiful and delicious produce that you won’t see in your grocery store, but you could find in your own back yard.

Summer produce from my garden-green beans- carrots- peppers, zucchini

The catalogs I am searching through:

  • Seeds of Change
  • Johnny’s
  • R.H. Shumway’s
  • Jung’s and John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds

I will be growing Purple Amethyst Bush beans and Sweet Chocolate Purple Bell Peppers again, both were a huge success in the garden last year.  Some new items I am trying out this year is Romanesco Cauliflower, it is a alien looking cauliflower that is light green and wildly grown throughout Italy.  Also, I am adding a mini purple eggplant that only grows 3-4″ long named Hansel.  Claims state that it is great for grilling and topping your pizza.  I am also adding a Kaleidoscope lettuce mix that is a blend of green, reds and purple salad mixes.

I hope you will try growing seeds this spring, and if you already do I hope you will share with me which are your favorites and why.  I am always game to try something new, so would love any recommendations.

Stay warm, xo Amy

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7 comments on “Garden Reading in January”

  1. Amy, I plan to grow a small garden on our Kentucky farm, and I want to grow those pretty blue and yellow carrots. Can you tell me where to find them and what they’re called?

    1. I have used ‘Seeds of Change’ colorful carrot mix and ‘Burpees’ Rainbow carrot mix. They are fun to grow, make sure you add a little fine sand to the soil so your carrots grow straight. The finer the mix the straighter the carrot otherwise they will grow around rocks and be mangled. Hope you are doing well. Would you mind if I did an on-line demo when we put the bees in their hives this spring??

  2. Hey Amy Sue, have you thought about growing wheat grass?? It is a wonderful treat for the dogs, maybe even your chickens. It is full of nutrients that is not in regular grass when our animals are looking for something to help their bellys. :0) It is even great for humans! I use it in my vegetable juices.
    Hope all is well.

    1. Hey Cindy Lou, No I have not tried wheat grass, but I will. Thanks for the tip. All is well, hope you are staying warm in Michigan! love ya, Amy Sue 🙂

  3. Now I absolutely MUST grow purple and yellow and white carrots. Damn you. (Imagine them drizzled with honey.)

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