Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Miracles Every Day

Snow on the dogs:



Snow on the boy:



Snow on the blueberry bushes:



Snow everywhere:



In my own mind, miracles are the unexpected things that go my way. These are not to be confused with what a Cajun would call "lagniappe," the unexpected little something extra that comes along with the usual expected events/items, or a bonus. These events stand on their own.

Just lately, I've experienced the Atlanta area's first white Christmas since 1882, the last ping-pong table tomato's not being eaten until TONIGHT (almost the end of December!), and finding a live bat in my kitchen (also tonight!). The mail lately has been stacked high with seed and garden-related catalogues, and everyone at my house is well during the holiday season (usually, someone has a cold). Right now, I am feeling really blessed in this season of miracles (yes, weirdly enough, even with the bat).

If you count as miracles the flashes of insight that sometimes strike people, I've had a couple of those, too. They are both related to a book Joe gave me for Christmas, "The Resilient Gardener," by Carol Deppe, who also wrote "Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties." I am using that second book as a guide in dehybridizing my favorite canary melon.

In "The Resilient Gardener," Deppe points out that she has a large garden only because she and a friend lease a two-acre property on which to grow it. Her own house's yard is too small to grow many veggies. If she can lease garden space, it is likely that I can, too, if I really want more garden space. That is definitely something to think about.

The other insight was something I've suspected but haven't wanted to totally face: if I want to find a really good list of veggies that do well here in metro-Atlanta, I can't wait for a seed company to pull that together for me. I have to make that list myself. It's going to take some work, researching seeds and sources, and it could take years of experimentation. I've been growing veggies here for a long time, but it seems I have a long way to go . . .

Deppe recommends that gardeners begin with seeds from a local, or at least regional, seed company. There isn't one for the Southeast, not really. Park Seed in South Carolina is the closest, but it sells plenty of varieties that are more trendy than region-appropriate.

The next closest seed source that might count as regional is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and it is in Virginia.

Locally, my best source so far in a lot of ways is Ladd's Farm Supply up in Euharlee. It offers some seeds, to measure out from bins, that local farmers have been growing for years. It's a good starting point, but its offerings also have a lot to do with what is commercially available. For example, the owner would like to offer some other varieties in particular that customers have asked for, but hasn't found a good source for those.

I have a lot of work ahead of me! That, too, is a miracle. How wonderful it is to have goals and plans.

7 comments:

  1. Your blueberry bushes look big and full! How tall are they?

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  2. Garden fever...it usually hits right after Christmas,lol! Sounds like you have a busy year planned!

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  3. I have been reading your blog since the fall and I was happy to find another gardener so close in NW GA. When you mentioned Ladd's I knew we were living in the same community. I appreciate your struggle to find varieties to work locally. I don't know if you are familiar with the Market Bulletin published out of Atlanta, but I occasionally see seeds offered there. Also there are some plant and seed swaps in the spring Roselawn has one and I know of a couple of others where you might pick up some ideas. Let us know if you find resources, as I am always looking too. Also, looking for space to expand my garden this year. Good luck w/ your search.

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  4. Owlfan, The blueberry bushes are more than eight feet tall. Every couple of years I whack them back so the berries are easier to harvest, but they shoot up again pretty quickly. They are among the first fruits we planted in our yard. They've been moved a couple of times, but they are more than fifteen years old.

    Melanie, I will have to say that I ALWAYS have a big gardening year planned! I have noticed (reading on other blogs) that other gardeners have already ordered seeds, and by this time last year I also had ordered seeds. I am still trying to work out my exact direction for this year, though, so I am running behind. I hope your garden planning is moving along better than mine!

    Southern Sass, I have received the Market Bulletin on and off through the years, and I remember seeing some seeds offered that aren't commercially available (Hastings sweet corn, for one), but I didn't know about the Roselawn seed swap. I will have to look for that! I think that this year I am going to try to find more Southern varieties that are not just disease resistant, but that also have a lot of flavor and good "keeping qualities" using traditional storage methods. For example, almost any green bean can be used for leather britches, but some varieties will make a more outstanding meal than others. I'm looking for an outstanding variety for that particular preservation method. When I find good sources for locally-great seeds, I will let you know!

    Hope you all have a great New Year! -Amy

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  5. Snow is pretty magical isn't it? Happy holidays!

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  6. I'm finally catching up! No kidding on those seed catalogs - I had a STACK when the mailman delivered our hold mail! Can't wait to dive in...

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  7. meemsnyc, Down here in Georgia, snow is magical. My Mother-in-law, who grew up in a German section of Buffalo and began raising her family in the NE before moving to South Texas, thinks snow is a dirty mess. She tells about snow lasting so long on the ground that it turned brown from dust, auto exhaust and chimney smoke, and getting kids in and out of snowsuits about a million times a day. She gives the definite impression that snow was not fun for her.

    Erin, Glad you're back and that your little family is all together! The seed catalogues are good, too. Hope you have fun going through them.

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