In an effort to coax spring into shedding its light here, I’ve taken to the growing of various plants and such indoors. The winter will is strong and is having its way with us, but my pull toward the bird calls and the “force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” is potent. It’s time, I say!
I think a bit about Boulder in times like these. Where spring is surely on its way. Bestowing its blossoms and verdancy there. Where I used to live and love.
But this is where we are now. And it’s a good place too. Our winters are just a little more unyielding.
And I have hesitantly, really hesitantly begun growing a few plants indoors because, given the current state of our vegetable beds, my husband and I are of agreement that this year’s garden may be more of a challenge than we’d anticipated when we were putting it to bed in the fall.
A few years ago when we were living in Boulder, CO I got my Master Gardener’s License. It’s probably partly because of that that I always feel the pull to garden around this time of year – I feel I know so much that I just must make it happen.
Truth told we live in a very un-gardening friendly area. Very. Like one of the worst. So, I also tend to feel slightly defeated even before I begin. This year even more so.
Haltingly, I open my gardening books, pull out seeds. Where I used to believe I had an almost farm going here, I’m realizing with my chickens dead (a bear, then a bobcat), and my garden fallen asunder, the most I might eke out this year is a lavender plant and some herbs. I could be wrong. I often am. Once the warm temps arrive, things seem to come together when all had seemed lost only a few weeks before.
A few gardening books that I love, then?
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Complete Guide to Natural and Chemical-Free Gardening – not only does it have bright photos, but it also provides a plethora of info on many plants.
The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food – this literally gives you the particulars on EVERYTHING you need to know to grow organic food in your garden.
Garden Anywhere – I picked this up at Anthropologie many years ago. I use it so much. The author offers fun, often offbeat ways and places to grow gardens. Garbage cans, cinder blocks, etc. etc. The photos are great and the author is darling!
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live – I haven’t used this one yet, but I love that she offers ways to garden in the snowy winters. And I’ve heard really good things about it!
The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook: Make the Most of Your Growing Season – I bought this for myself this year. Why? I’m a glutton for punishment? I don’t know. I’m told it’s suitable for all zones but especially for zones with long winters.
Country Wisdom Almanac: 373 Tips, Crafts, Home Improvements, Recipes, and Homemade Remedies – Lots of gardening tips but also chock-full of other useful projects for DIYers :). I dip into it regularly.
What Grows Here? Mountain Gardening In Northern California – This is my personal go-to guide. If you live in the mountains of Northern California, and you plan to grow a garden, this is the gardening bible for you!
July & Winter: Growing Food in the Sierra – This is another local book specific to gardening in the Sierras. It’s actually more geared toward farmers, as Gary Romano is a local farmer (and overall cool guy – he gave a talk at my bookstore a couple of years ago) who can speak volumes (and does so in this book) about what to grow, when to grow it, how to grow it, etc. in our crazy climate.
All New Square Foot Gardening – This is the gardening method I’m trying this year. Pack it in!
The Suburban Micro-Farm: Modern Solutions for Busy People – Start a small-scale farm in your back yard! Tons of very useful information on growing a lot of food on less than an acre. Includes links to her online planning spreadsheets that I use religiously.
Grow a Garden and Be Self-Sufficient – I bought this book last year when I was thinking about bio-dynamic gardening. Lots of valuable info here! Many ideas I’d never tried before but did try last year (and last year was my best garden to date here in Truckee). I didn’t create any of the potions that are common in bio-dynamics but I did try some different types of companion planting, etc. This is an expensive book but it is THE original English translated guide to bio-dynamic gardening. It’s a very pleasant read on top of being full of practical, logical gardening advice.