Really. I appreciate winter. It is the time of year when water, albeit in solid form, collects in the mountains, stored up for the growing season in the valley. Winter is when many insects die, or at least hibernate. Because of winters, our Idaho bugs don’t tend to be as large as tropical ones. Weeds are finally on hold for a few weeks. The trouble is that all this comes at the price of extreme cold and frozen ground.
The seed catalogs arrive in winter. It gives rise to the gardener’s common winter condition known as SOO. Seed Ordering Obsession. The photos in the catalogs are often devoid of size reference points, plus the photographers add extra blooms or fruit to the scene to stimulate the senses. My winterized brain imagines lush green jungles and masses of flowers in my backyard that only exist in different latitudes. Even the plants that I know to be invasive woo me with their siren songs.
Obsession is not all bad, though. As long as I hold it firmly by the reins, and occasionally hit it over the head with a chair, it can be good motivation to do some worthwhile planning. Such efforts will not only sooth the troubled soul, but are steps toward a more rewarding garden-to-come.
Seed Ordering Obsession is best controlled by remembering the pitfalls of winter enthusiasm.
- Neither my family nor myself can stomach very many new exotic vegetables in one year.
- There are still only 24 hours in a day during the warm weather.
- I will still need sleep during the growing season.
- I will still have the same basic household responsibilities.
- Idaho’s growing season is not long enough for some things.
- Or wet enough.
- I am not feeding the whole neighborhood.
On the positive side - If I order seeds now
- I can get varieties before they sell out.
- I am more likely to grow more of my landscaping flowers from seed, and thus save money.
- If items turn out to be unavailable, I have time to adjust.
- I can organize my planting charts according to the seeds I really have.
Okay, I talked myself into it. It’s time to order seeds. Breath of relief, followed by a supervisory caution. Now, I can look out at the winter tundra of my southwest Idaho backyard and envision things sprouting in the not too distant future. Yesterday, it was hopelessly dead and frozen. Today, it is just spring sleeping.