They say your garden never looks so good as it does in January. And they’re right. The memory of last season’s failures are fading, and this seasons failures, blessedly, haven’t happened yet. Everything is perfect, because everything is still potential.
Also, the seed catalogs have been filling the mailbox since early December. With the big winter storm earlier this week, it was a good chance to hunker down, leaf through these little shots of summer, and start piecing together this season’s planting schedule.
On the one hand, reading the catalogs is a lot of fun. In fact, it is something of a gardeners’ tradition to get carried away with their fantastic promises.
But on the other hand, I have to confess that I am little daunted. This season is going to be a bigger deal than ordering a few packets of seed for my backyard plot in town, and a more complicated deal than planning a little one-acre plot of vegetables to sell at market. I have to run a twenty-two week CSA program, and I am not quite sure I know how to do that. Yet.
The encouraging thing is that making the plan seems merely daunting rather than simply impossible. Back when I first was a farm intern, I remember being thoroughly impressed (and totally intimidated) by how the farmer had the whole season sketched out and bounded in a spreadsheet fastened to a clipboard. It seemed like sorcery. Now I know the plan was never as bulletproof as it appeared, and creating the plan is not an act of magic, just work tempered with experience.
Plus, I already have the clipboard.