It's done. My seed order is in and in five days I shall be digging about in a bag of dirt and tracking said dirt about the house. The girls will eagerly help fill the seed trays with soil and water. For the next two months, dirt will settle in a fine dust over most of the main floor and the dining room will smell like summer after a hard rain.
There is nothing that gets me through the last couple months of winter better than starting seeds indoors. I love what it affords me: healthy, organic seedlings for a tenth of the price at the greenhouse. I love how it makes me feel a little rebellious, like I've defied the natural order of things. My little tomato seedlings wave like middle fingers at the snow.
This love affair has introduced hundreds- quite literally!- hundreds of seedlings to our home. They fight us for sunlight and expand on all available surface areas. Mat is regularly bewildered by the sheer volume of plants littering our 700 square foot main floor. He sputters, "Where exactly are you going to plant 36 tomato plants?" And, "What the hell is feverfew?"
It's true that I've regularly gotten carried away with the sheer seratonin of it all. But, in deference to my family and part-time job, this year I aim to show restraint. Cutting back is hard, especially in the heat of the moment when ordering "Gogi- the elixir of life" is just a mouse click away.
What do I cut this year? Annual flowers. In the past, many of the annuals I started inside (petunias, snapdragons) have not flowered until well into the summer. With our short growing season and my lack of a greenhouse, having blooms in June is worth my buying annuals from the greenhouse. Since I've had great luck growing sweet peas, nasturtiums and marigolds from seed started outside, I'll do this again (my marigolds seed themselves really successfully. I let them start where they wish then transplant them to other parts of the garden as I need them.).
What else do I cut? Experimental plants. In years past I've grown eggplant (tiny harvest!), sweet peppers (only the hot ones have grown easily for me), corn (two failed years), stevia (shrivelled in the sun) and strawberry spinach (grew well, but took up lots of space). While I may give these crops another go- this year my goal is to fill the freezer and cellar with the basics: carrots, onions, potatoes, peas and tomatoes. These are the crops we love to eat, so these are the crops I will grow in my tiny space.
Did I mention ordering zucchini, cucumber, arugula, beets, basil, parsley, mustard and butternut squash? But at least this year I didn't order feverfew, quinoa, oats and flax.... I promise I'm keeping it simple baby.