Ah yes, seed catalogs, sowing schedules and those ambitious dreams of spring, growth, garden abundance!! We are not self sufficent in produce (yet), but what feels more important is that we are closer to being self sufficient in a knowing of our place. We are more intamate with our land, our home, our garden, our seasons, our cycles. Our relationship to this little plot deepens every year and with that comes so much abundance and so much grace. I feel less frantic about planning and planting, as I know my way now, I have a rhythm, I have a pace and more than anything I have an understanding of what me and my land can do together with a little planning and good effort. That knowledge is precious to me, that faith isn’t something you can read about or acquire in a school, but through doing, through practice, through trial and error through work and patience, time and space. Through doing and trusting and letting that guide you allow the dance to dance you.
I have learned quite a bit about this 1/5 acre in the past three 3 years I have lived here. I have learned about the warmest, coolest, earliest and latest growing spots in the yard. I have learned what crops really yield and what is simply not worth the square footage. I have learned who can stand low water, or sometimes lack of water completely and what simply will not tolerate such conditions. I have learned snap dragons are a perennial in my yard, opposed to the annual they are supposed to be here in NM, and Calendula does better than I had ever dreamed. I have learned my greenhouse has aphids and only diligent soap sprayings and power washing helps, but doesn’t ever truly eliminate them, ever!!.
Ah yes I have learned many things, and it is this layering year after year, seed after seed, that piles up upon each other inside me and teaches me about this little patch of ours and guides me to know how to grow in it. It is this intimacy with our place, the deepening of our knowing that truly makes our garden grow and thrive more and more each year. And thank goodness for that, because this year, i am thankful for some of the autopilots in my brain!!!
It is of course much more than my memory and good notes that guide me every year, it is mostly observing and reading what is going on around me. Simply paying attention guides me greatly. The amaranth weed seeds have started to sprout in the greenhouse, so I am close behind with my lettuce spinach and cilantro. When I see the spinch sprouting outside, I throw a bunch more in on their heels. It isn’t hard to be guided by your garden if you know how to read it.
But of course, every gardener has a plan and the question I get asked most if “how do I know when to plant, what?” After a few years, you too will just know, but I still have a few helpers, one is the Bio-dynamic Planting Guide that simply gives some form to when I actually do the plantings I know I need to do, another guide is this handy planting guide on Johnny’s Seed Website. You punch in your zone and it give you a list of what to sow when, genius!!
So I have indeed begun. I did a test sowing of tomatoes on Jan 13th, early around these parts, but according the the Biodynamic Planting calender, it was an am exceptionally good fruit day, with the moon in Virgo, who knew?….So I went for it.. and yes the germinated and are growing well, though it did take 3 weeks to sprout. They waited until the time and temperature were right, and as I fretted I seeded too early my husband reminded me, ” they will wait and arrive when the time is right, seeds know, that is their job afterall”…so true so true!! So now I have taken out the seed jars and boxes and bags and sat down with my Color coded calender, to make my plan for sowing. In the coming weeks I will be making my own soil mix, starting seeds, and yes, harvesting from my very own garden… inch by inch my garden begins to grow.