Thursday, February 27, 2014


I know, I know, spring is not here QUITE yet. But we had that magical moment this morning when I told the children is was spring outside because I saw the daffodils peaking up under dead leaves when I went to close the gate earlier. They began jumping up and down shouting "spring!" and demanded to be taken outside to check out the little buds. Our peach tree still has at least another month but it's little brown buds are already swollen and beginning to show just the faintest shade of pink. I'm always so concerned when I see my little ones coming up on a warm afternoon. I want to tuck them back in and tell them winter isn't quite over yet and they'd do much better waiting another few weeks. But they're just like my children and eager for even the smallest sign of spring to kick off their winter gear and enjoy the sunshine.

Every season has its good points and I really love them all. The hot lazy days of summer, the crisp golden smell of fall, the warm coziness of your house while you look at the white beauty of winter. But spring. OH SPRING! I'm not simply being cliche when I tell people I could never live in a warm climate because I'd miss spring too much. The Ohio spring when the grass is soft and dark green and you watch as every day things wake up. There is no other time when you feel as in tune to everything else as you do in spring. We're all tired of the winter coldness and humans, plants, and animals can all be seen happily enjoying the return of the warm weather and each other. Even the rivers seems to be happy and bubbling along...a sound that is missed under the ice and snow.

Here's one of my favorite new winter soups. Butternut soup is typically infused with Indian spices but this one is a bit more creole and the tomatoes add a nice sweet and smokey flavor. It's really wonderful.

So we are all beginning to wake up from our winter blahs (and not a moment too soon!) and start the great project that is the garden. I'm not one of those analytical, organized people. I tend to do something as poorly as you possibly can and then work my way up to how little I can do to get by. I'm not lazy as much as easily distracted. Its a stretch for me to remember what day it is. So after 4 years of living in our house and having a garden I've finally come to the realization that I have to keep a garden log. Don't tell my husband, but I've wasted so many seeds (and money. yikes) simply because I can't remember where I planted what and how long it's supposed to take to come up and what it looks like when it does come up. And some other things, like broccoli and cauliflower, I have had absolutely terrible results with. Turns out they need a lot more space and a lot more fertilizer than I've been giving them. The things I could learn by simply reading descriptions.

In these last few weeks of winter I've been working on getting my act together for what will hopefully be a much better planting year. I already know that we're supposed to get pretty dry and hot during the summer so I've been planning on installing some rain barrels and hording some of the incredible amounts of rain we're getting this spring. I've also started my garden log to help me know what I should be doing, as well as to keep track of where things are. Last year wasn't terribly great but I kind of came right up to the brink where I could clearly see what my problems were. We still haven't had a good peach harvest, last year they only grew to about the size of a small plum, but I've found their problem, as well as deciphered the fungus infection our plum tree has. Hopefully I'll be able to get my act together and give these plants what they need so we'll be able to finally have what I would call a really successful harvest.

Last year I spent 70 some dollars on seeds and we got back approximately 300 dollars worth of produce. Not including the fact that it was "organic," which would bump that price up even more. So even if you're not particularly good at gardening I would definitely encourage you to give it a try. Planting from seed is well worth the money.
I'll definitely be posting more about gardening as the year goes on but here are some of my past posts to get you started:
How to Start Seeds Indoors
More on Starting Seeds

And if you haven't already you should really sign up for the Food Growing Summit, which is held online from March 3rd-7th. It has some pretty big names like Joel Salatin, Will Allen, and Vandana Shiva holding lectures on home food production. Here is the full list of presenters and topics.