Totally Unorganized Ramblings

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Someone once commented to my brothers that I was an organized person. My brothers exchanged looks that said “Are you talking about one of MY sisters?” No, I’m not oganized. Sometimes I’m good at planning, or coordinating things, but I am not organized. If I ever had a filing cabinet, I would never waste my time looking for anything INSIDE of it. I would always look for things in the sloppy piles ON TOP of my filing cabinet. I would probably be able to find everything I wanted, but it wouldn’t be neatly filed away. If I ever actually put something INSIDE my filing cabinet, it would be because I wanted to use the top of my filing cabinet for something else–so I opened a drawer, dumped whatever was on top of the filing cabinet inside of one of the drawers, and neatly (hey, something has to be neat, right?) closed it. Works for me.

Same thing with seed orders. I wasn’t planning my seed order in December. Or January. Once Febuary rolled around, then I said, “Hey, don’t I normally start leeks in Febuary?”, and scrambled to put an order in. But, the good news is, when I scramble I get things done. As of yesterday, I have received all two of my seed orders AND started my leeks. Yay!

I also don’t get these people who order something from 14 million different places–I much prefer one stop shopping. (No offense to the people who do order from all over the place, but I think maybe we’re different species.) For the last couple of years, I’ve ordered from Johnny’s, and only Johnny’s. Hey, they’re especially good at catering to beginners in cold climates. (They are also good at beginners and non-beginners everywhere.) When Johnny’s says “start your leeks in Febuary,” I knew I could start my leeks in Febuary–without looking anythng up in refrence books or counting days back from last frost or anything like that.

But this year my hand was forced. For one thing, Johnny’s vegetable selection (worryingly) seems to be declining, and I wanted to find a plan B to fall back on, just in case. The other thing was my determination to buy the famed Wall-O-Waters this year, and I was kind of appalled at Johnny’s price. Thus, the bargin hunting began. Through the most thourough garden search engine I know (a.k.a. my Mom), I found a better price at Seeds of Change. (Johnny’s–$3.93 per Wall-O-Water, Seeds of Change–$2.53 per each {5% web discount}. Okay, maybe $1.40 per each isn’t much for most of you, but I’m on a budget, and it really adds up.) Once I knew I was already going to be buying from Seeds of Change, and I knew what types of things I wanted to be buying, it wasn’t too much work to see which place sold it cheapest.

My seed order this year was a nice mix of new-and-exciting, and old, comfortable, reliable stand-bys. New-and-exciting includes a different kind of leek. Johnny’s didn’t put their ‘Laura’ leek in their catalogue this year, which is what we always used to get. Alarmed, I looked at their website, and did find it. But I still took it as a Portent of Doom, and decided to try out a different varitey this year. Seeds of Change carries a leek called ‘Sheerwood’ that, under optimal conditions, can grow to 1 foot before leafing. Woo-hoo! That sounded worth experimenting. (But the pessimist Purdy side of me said, “Seeds of Change is based out of New Mexico, how the heck is a cold place like New York going to have what they call optimal conditions?” We shall see, we shall see.)

Another thing I decided to be Bold and Daring on was lettuce. I wanted to try a red romaine this year, and none of Johnny’s really appealed that much to me. ‘Rueben’s Red’ at Seeds of Change some how managed to look absaloutely perfect, so I got that. Then, while still skimming through the lettuces, I also found one called ‘Jericho’. “Bred in the hot desert of Israel, this extremely bolt-resistant variety stays sweet and crisp, even in hot weather.” We’re bound to be either drowning or droughting this year. If by some mirical we happen not to be either, I will almost assuredly plant the lettuce too late so that it tries to peak at the hottest time of the year. Chances are, I need this lettuce. (“Knowest Thyself.”) So I got that, too.

And I’m being really, really, really risky with a tomato. (Nobody believed that “really, really, really risky” part, did they? Hah. I’m still growing my reliable, super early ‘Oregon Spring’ tomato. This tomato is not “instead of”, this is “as well as”.) It’s—-‘Brandywine’! I’ve seen it said in a million different places that ‘Brandywine’ is the best tasting tomato in the world. So what’s risk? Well, ‘Oregon Spring’ is ready in 60 days, ‘Brandywine’ in 78 days. I’ll plant the seeds, and the seeds will probably grow, and the plants will probably flower (take nothing for granted, don’t you know. This IS gardening), but will I get any fruit before the destroying frost? Enter: Wall-of-Waters! I hope you weren’t kidding about harvesting weeks earlier. (I got ‘Oregon Spring’ from Seeds of Change, but Johnny’s had a special on ‘Brandywine.”)

From Johnny’s, I took the advice of my aunts and got ‘Fortex’ greenbeans. I normally don’t do beans, because around the time that I’m supposed to be planting beans I’m trying to get seedlings in the ground. But they gave ‘Fortex’ such rave reviews that I went and bought them. Hopefully they’ll get in the ground and not sit on the shelf, but my track record is not good.

Ooo, and I got a new kind of spinach. Mostly because my last couple of spinach crops completly bombed on me, so I was ready try something new. (‘America’ spinach, Seeds of Change.)

Reliable stand-bys include ‘Arcadia’ broccoli, ‘Little Leaf’ cucumbers and the aforementioned ‘Oregon Spring’ tomatoes. I really, really wanted to get the ‘Dakota’ peas I got last year, since they were such a stunning success and always seemed to taste good no matter how big and (usually) gross they got. But, alas, Johnny’s must have had a bad crop. So I’m trying their ‘Caseload’ peas instead, but I hope they have the ‘Dakota’ peas again next year.

So now I’m ready to go! I’ve got my seeds, I’ve got my dirt, I’ve got my cell-packs, and I ready to get started!! But—I’ve got weeks to go before I can start anything else. Otherwise, I’ll have seedlings pouring out of my ears long before I have ground to stick them in. Don’t cha love June 7th frosts?

Among my other New Gardening Year Resoultions, I have “I will not abuse my seedlings.” Which, I’m ashamed to confess, I have a tendancy to do. Whilst busy pondering many other deep thoughts, I read somewhere that “The strongest seedlings produce the best crops!” (Please read the words in quotes while imagining someone with a permanent smile and a high-pitched I’m-always-excited voice.) At first I thought, “Well, duh!” But then my enitre life flashed before my eyes, or at least all the parts with root-bound, light starved seedlings, and I guiltily swore off seedling abuse.

About the Author

Talitha spent the last few years doing an absurd combination of work and school, and found it wasn’t very pleasant. Now she’s doing work, school and a garden, and life is a little better! She also enjoys photography and hand feeding her ducks. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: herbs, vegetables, cutting garden, cottage gardening

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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Talitha February 26, 2004, 11:40 am

I have seen the repair kits being sold all over, as well. I guess I figured I wouldn’t buy them till I needed them. I hadn’t ever heard of Peaceful Valley Farm Supply before. . .I’m sure they’re a great company, but ouch! Shipping things out to us would really kill. They count us as “Super-Rural”, and it would cost $8.52 just to ship one pound of stuff to me!

bill February 25, 2004, 10:07 pm

Just a comment to say that the Wall o water is a great investment. We got some a couple of years ago and they really work. We also got the repair kit from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, because we have critters here who like to bite into them.