We had our first real freeze the other day, bringing a more “official” end to the gardening season. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it…the leaves of the plants and the grass coated in crusty white frost, glimmering in the sunlight.
Just like in sports, there are things to do even in the “off season.” Teams trade players, call up rookies, hold meetings to prepare for next year. So it is with gardening. My head is filling with plans and ideas for the next year, and even more so than usual because I will be moving in the spring out to the country where my soon-to-be-wife and I will have no shortage of space for growing things. So I’ve been diving right into my seed catalogs. In particular, my favorites: Seed Savers Exchange, Territorial Seed, and Totally Tomato.
The number of varieties of tomatoes alone is staggering. I don’t know how people can narrow their seed wish-list down to just a handful. This past year, I grew some heirlooms for the first time: Green Zebra, Chocolate Cherry, and Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The flavor was every bit as wonderful as the catalogs had advertised, so I plan on growing more heirlooms next year. Besides the flavor, I love the idea of saving the seed from these varieties that date back as far as the 1800s, and passing it down to my kids, who can pass it down to their kids. It’s like preserving a piece of history.
With all the land that we’ll have behind our house, an idea is growing in my mind to possibly become a market grower and sell heirloom vegetables at our local farmer’s market, as well as setting aside a portion of our garden to donate vegetables to the food bank. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the new year!