I read a while ago that one of the seed companies surveyed its customers about when they wanted to receive their catalogs. The result is a foot tall stack of catalogs that has rained down on me since the day after Christmas. The usually pleasant task of flipping through a new catalog that came in that day has been replaced with an urgency. With 5 or more arriving each day how could I get through all of them? The days have just begun to lengthen and I already feel behind.
Overcoming my fear of the growing stack, I plowed forward. The process of identifying the new seeds to add to my collection is always the same: star my heart’s desire in the catalog; compile the list in my gardening notebook; cross-reference with my current inventory; identify the new plants; delete those seeds that I don’t need to replenish (always a tough judgment call); keep the seeds that need to be replenished because of age; and finally, whittle down the remaining list to those seeds that will produce a better watermelon or sweet better or butternut squash in my Mid-Atlantic garden.
This year I was good on beans, good on herbs, good on flowers, good on carrots, good on flowers. I was good on tomatoes as well. But how had I never tried the famous brandywine. I had to fill that gap. I never had much success with the broccoli or spinach varieties I had so I must try that “fool proof” variety from Johnny’s. At the end of the day, I bought about 30 varieties of either seed or plants.
Many of the new additions to this year’s gardening palette were inspired by my trip to Italy last October. I am excited to try fennel, even though I have never cooked the bulbs. Instead, I am excited to harvest the pollen which is a wonderful seasoning for pork and fish. (Funny how it seems that every cookbook I open these days has a recipe with fennel.) I will also try artichokes. The smaller italian variety of course. And Tuscan kale. Even though I just received the seed, I can taste the heartiness it will add to my ribollita. Another addition this year is tomatillos, which I haven’t grown since my community garden days.
As the orders come in, I wait. I calculate from my last frost date. I plan. I plot. I am patient. I am hopeful.
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Welcome to Spirit of ClayI'm Laurie Erdman, a lawyer turned potter turned health coach. I love mud, food and words. At Spirit of Clay I get to mix these loves, as I explore what clay means to me. Here I share new pots. I share other people's pots that move me. I discuss the connection between nature and pottery. I explore the spiritual lessons I have learned while working with clay. Grab a cup of tea and stay awhile.
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