I find it a waste of energy to complain about the weather. I’d rather take the attitude of “this is what I have to work with and how can I be creative with it?” Granted, this is sometimes affected by other constraining factors, but none that aren’t familiar for all of life. Time, money, and energy come promptly to mind. Still, limitations are the stimulus of much creativity. How can I do it better, faster, more efficiently? And being creative often brings more joy than complaining.
So, as I have been looking out the window at freezing rain and snow today, instead of groaning about it, I have been thinking about what I can do right now, while there is no need to spend hours outside with maintenance. What can be done in the way of planning, organizing, and greenhouse seed starting? I have also been thinking about the positive aspects of growing a garden in Idaho.
- The sub-freezing winters and drier climate mean smaller insects than there are in more temperate and tropical zones. Ask me about some of the beetles than dropped on my lap for a visit in Costa Rica last week…
- Ponds and ditches do not become habitat for crocodiles or poisonous snakes. (explanation of why this particularly comes to mind will be given Wednesday)
- It gets warm enough that things DO grow.
- There is a long enough growing time that not everything has to be grown at once, within a couple of months, if one learns to make use of differences in the seasons.
- The low humidity means less trouble with fungal diseases on plants.
- Low humidity also means less trouble with heat being uncomfortable to work in.
- Land is more affordable than in many constantly sunny places.
- Produce does not rot as quickly, on or off the plant, as in warmer, more humid places. I have lived in Taiwan and witnessed first hand how much difference this makes.
- Dehydrating fruits (like cantaloupe and apricots) and vegetables in this climate is much easier. A machine is not always needed and one does not need to be frantic about closing the dried goods up as quickly to avoid rehydration just from the air. (look in the tag cloud below for more posts about dehydrating)
- Each season may have it’s challenges, but the variety is enjoyable.
- The jungle does not need to be constantly cut back to keep the garden space.
- The neighbors are generally not going to come steal the produce. No need for guard towers with machine guns.
- Tulips and other bulbs that need a cold spell grow as perennials here.
- Apples grow nice and crisp.
- Seed saving is easy with the dry heat at the end of summer, especially for seeds that mature and dry right on the plant.
What do you like about gardening in Idaho, or wherever you live? There are advantages to most places and satisfying ways to work within the constraints. I’m looking forward to the green life of spring and summer, but I’m also happy in the moment studying ice patterns and planning my garden. (click on photo to enlarge)