One of the highlights of winter is having longer evenings during which to study seed catalogues and read farming and gardening magazines. The current issue of Small Farm Canada Magazine is extra delightful because it includes the annual seed buying guide, a list of various seed catalogues sure to get your heart a-thumping! At least, it got my heart going which, to be honest, doesn’t take much these days.
I have already spent several sessions going through The Whole Seed Catalog (from Baker Heirloom Seeds), a fantastic publication that not only includes a huge selection of unusual heirloom seed varieties but also has articles, recipes, profiles of growers, seed fanatics, farms and farmers. The gigantic version of the catalog is available for purchase and the regular seed catalog is still available for free. I’m so glad I splurged on the fancy version as it will stay on my bookshelf as a reference to be used for years to come.
I think one of the reasons I get so excited about seed is all the incredible potential crammed into that tiny, perfect, amazing package. Stick the seed in some soil, add water and sunshine and presto – something starts to grow! And, given half a chance, plants will grow – in so many ways plants are forgiving and will fight to stay alive, produce fruit and go to seed even when your soil conditions aren’t quite right or the weather doesn’t exactly cooperate or you get a little busy and don’t weed quite as often as would be ideal.
I get a similar thrill when I see mushrooms sprouting up all over the place right at the time of year when the leaves are dropping and the plant world seems to be going to sleep.
Moss is another plant that reminds me that winter is a time of rest and renewal and not death and desolation, as it sometimes appears at first glance. The moss is never greener and more vibrant than at this time of year when it seems to shout, “I am alive! I am still here! I am drinking all this rain and reaching for that low-slung sun!” Moss makes me smile and I would happily replace all of my lawn with the stuff. Contrast the soft blanket of green with the gorgeous lustre of natural stone after a good rainwater scrub and you can see why moss is a fixture in so many Japanese gardens.
Until I get a chance to work on the Japanese garden of my dreams, I steal my moss moments when I can. Early in the morning when I find myself on the north side of the fruit trees all I can do is admire the sturdy but delicate forest of green that thrives in the damp, refusing to cough.
Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days agriculture blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about this month? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!