Sunday, January 5, 2014

Getting Organized and (Not) Winter Sowing

No, this isn't a Martha Stewart-esque, Pinterest-driven how-to blog post.  My earthly cares haven't been solved by California Closets, Thirty-One, or even Tupperware.  But I am in a general "clean it out, box/keep or toss/donate" frame of mind.  Our kids have had a VERY long winter break this year (16 days!), and I was out of work the week before Christmas break began with bronchitis, so I feel like I've been under house arrest for three weeks.  I need to do SOMETHING to feel like I'm moving forward and preparing for the future.

Maybe "house arrest" is too strong a term - I'm not a prisoner in any way (although I willingly hunker down indoors when the temps get as brutally low as they've been recently - wind chills pushing -25F?  NO, thanks, I'll stay inside, with my coffee, computer, and cats).  But I'm not a winter outdoor activity enthusiast.  So, like many people, I guess, I nest a bit during the winter.  I clean things out, sort things through, work on indoors house or craft projects, and generally turn inward for a season.  My big accomplishment over the past week was really cleaning out the office and organizing my craft and art supplies.  One less room to face winnowing out right before a move - it's already done.  January will also see me tackling closets, and February, the basement.  I don't want a last-minute cleaning/packing marathon.  The more I can do now, the less stress I'll have down the road.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Normally about now I'd be gearing up for winter sowing, but with a move a strong possibility for us this summer, I'm reluctant to fill the back porch with recycled milk jugs full of seeds (and eventually, seedlings).  I'm not sure when we'll put the house on the market, and the containers full of dirt and held together with packing tape aren't really what people want to see on the deck when they scope out a property.  They want pretty, and clean, and tidy, and everything in its place.  Not a dissertation on the joys of winter sowing.

It's strange and sad to not have that forward-looking, garden-dreaming, spring-anticipating, hands-in-the-dirt outlet for the winter blahs and blues, after doing it every winter for about a decade now.  It's actually been quite painful to contemplate leaving this garden that I've poured myself into, to the point that I've been throwing out gardening catalogs as they come in, without even looking at them.  It's just too sad, another sadness on top of other sorrows.  I have saved a handful of large containers (cat litter jugs, actually) to use to sow tomatoes and zinnias.  Those I can use in the raised beds out back, and not take up a lot of porch space while they germinate and get their initial growth, and be done with them by early May.

I'll be direct sowing a lot of stuff in the yard this year, all annuals for quick and easy color, and also easy veggies to make the raised beds look full.  I have to be mindful of curb appeal - prettying up the yard for someone else to look at as part of the house.  (And knowing that whoever buys our house will most likely get rid of a lot of the garden space I've worked so hard on.  It hurt like hell the last time that happened.  I don't expect it to be any easier this time.)

Come April, I'll be digging and potting some things I'd like to keep and move with me - special daylily seedlings I've hybridized, mostly.  Plus one or two peonies, which take years to mature and came with me on the last move.  Well, "some" is a relative term.  I mean, probably a few dozen one gallon and two gallon containers, and the peonies in larger pots.  I hope, wherever we move, that I will have either a balcony/deck to put the containers, or a sympathetic landlord who will let me dig a holding bed in the back yard.

So much looking ahead and planning, working and organizing, and I have no idea where or when we'll move, or where I'll be working.  Still, doing what I can to prepare helps me cope.

Pinterest, anyone?