Tips From the Potting Bench: Jot it Down

By RITA JACINTO, Flying Blue Dog Farm

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”– James Allen

With solstice right around the corner we are fast approaching the winter season, the garden is all but put to bed except for those hardy veggies that can fend for themselves through the short days and long cold nights of winter. If you were on it you got carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels’s sprouts and other assorted leafy greens planted back in July or early August. The garlic and onions are planted and mulched so except for going out to harvest something for dinner it’s time for a little rest and lots of garden dreaming.

This is my favorite time of the gardening year, this interval from November to late January. Short days and long cold nights compel a being to pause, slow down and gather in. By all appearances things seem to be at a standstill and yet, if you look closer and pay attention you can feel so much is going on under the surface and out of sight. The earth is taking a much-needed breather, resting and gathering her energies together and we should too.

For we gardeners, it’s time to sit back, take a well-earned breath and contemplate the year. How did things go? What went well, what didn’t go so well?  Was there something you especially liked, or really didn’t like after all? This quiet time of the year affords us the perfect opportunity to start a garden journal. You know you have always wanted to.  So why not take advantage of this down time and get snuggled into your sit in your favorite comfy chair with a hot cup of tea and spend some time considering these and other questions and jot down a few notes. A great place to begin is to record the names of your favorite varieties, what did especially well and what was a bust and why. There is nothing sadder for a gardener who really liked a certain variety of tomato to have lost the name of it!  It doesn’t have to be prosaic, you don’t even have to use whole sentences. This is a simple and pleasant way to give yourself some time to focus in and contemplate your gardening activities. The more tuned in we are the better our gardening goes. Give yourself this time to start seeding dreams for next year’s garden.  As Bloody Mary (in South Pacific) would say, “You got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true.”

Have a wonderful holiday season and if you are wondering about the perfect present to give a gardener I can tell you flat out the best present is your time and labor!

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