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Wishing for Warm April Showers

Daffodil

The weather remains cool and breezy or windy.  And dry. I wish we had some of that early warm weather, and rain.This morning there was spitting rain – and snow flurries. There is very little sense of seasonal progression in the garden. This is the single daffodil in bloom, besides the very early Van Sions, but you can see (if you look closely) that buds are showing some color.

Apple tree - radically pruned

Over the weekend my husband got all the little motors checked out and operational. The only one he put into use was the chain saw. He did a radical pruning of this semi dwarf apple tree to make room for a serious, high fence  we are building to keep out the deer. With some luck we’ll keep out the rabbits, too.

ScillasUnderneath that apple tree I noticed that the scillas are starting to bloom. They seem to have scattered themselves rather widely this year.  A few Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa) are also beginning to bloom down here in what we used to consider the orchard. Now only two trees are left, the nameless tree just pruned, and Liberty, disease resistant apple that gave us a good crop last year. Over the past few years we have gradually taken down the other trees that limped along after being severely damaged by horses the year we rented our house while we were in Beijing.

Coldframe

Yesterday it dawned on me that instead of moving my little flats of greens in and out of the house every day, I could move them into my makeshift coldframe. It is not very lovely, but it is functional. I checked the plants this morning and they came through the night in good shape. Then I closed them up again. Lots of wind this morning.

Seed Starting

Ready to start seeds March 6, 2012

It seemed a little early but on March 6th I started some seeds indoors. Now, three weeks later it seems like it might have been totally unnecessary. I have neighbors who tilled sections of their garden and have already planted a number of cold hardy plants: lettuces, spinach, snap peas, carrots and beets.

Who can gauge the risks in times like these? I might have been too cautious in starting my seeds, but my neighbors may have been too bold. Actually, I hope they have not been too bold because I am about ready to follow in their footsteps. I tilled what I am calling my Early Garden right in front of the house.  I planted Tango lettuce, radishes and golden beets. They are watered and now I wait.

At the same time I continue to hedge my bets and I am starting some other seeds, broccoli and parsley.

Whether or not it is a necessary step in getting a jump on the season, or an economic move – getting dozens if not hundreds of plants from a pack of seeds instead of six seedlings for the same price – starting your own seeds is fun.

I do use seed starting supplies. The little plastic six packs are cheap and disposable. The plastic trays that hold them and provide a good watering system can be used from year to year. Of course, you can use plastic containers that you get in the supermarket for grape tomatoes, mushrooms or salad mix just as well. I like to reuse before recycling and double my sense of thrift.

After assembling my equipment, six packs, trays, and label sticks, I dampened a bowl of seed starting mix, a light soiless mix, and filled the six packs very full and tamped it down. Then using seeds leftover from last year I planted a few seeds in each cell: Johnny’s Winterbor kale, High Mowing’s Waldman’s Dark Green lettuce and Rouge d’Hiver lettuce; Botanical Interests Sundance Red Gallardia; and Renee’s Garden Raggedy Ann Zinnias that I just noticed dated back to 2006. I really have to weed out old seeds better.

I also planted two kinds of lettuce in a plastic spring mix container, but forgot to label them. One type is doing well, the other has poorer germination. I might be able to figure out what they are when they get larger, but I am not counting on it.

I planted several seeds in each cell, covering them with a little more seed starting mix, because these are last year’s seeds. I figure the germination might be a little lower, but you get a lot of lettuce seeds in one packet and I can afford to be generous.

Seedlings March 16, 2012

I put the seed tray in a south window where it has to be turned every day to keep the plants from always leaning. Seeds will germinate on a windowsill, but a few years ago I splurged and bought a heat mat that provides just the little bit of heat that helps seeds germinate more quickly. Soil temperature is a key element in the germination of any plant. Some like cool temperatures, and others don’t thrive until the soil is relatively warm.

Watering is key. The best way I have found to keep these six packs watered is to put enough water to cover the bottom of the tray where it will be absorbed by osmosis. That way you don’t have to worry about knocking the tiny seedlings down with a stream of water from a watering can. I water almost every day in this manner.

Within a week I could see green pushing through. Two weeks later the first true leaves have appeared. Now it is time to think about “hardening off” the seedlings.

These new seedlings are very tender. They need to be acclimated to the harshness of direct sun and wind slowly and gently. On these warm days they can be put in the shade outside for a few hours and then brought back in the house. Depending on the weather they can be left outdoors for longer and longer stretches each day, until they are strong enough to be planted in the ground. This will take at least a week.

I put my seedlings outdoors for three hours on March 21 and will increase that time every day. I plan to plant them in my Early Garden under a row cover next week. The row cover is not to protect the seedlings from the weather as much as it is to protect them from rabbits! When they get a little bigger I’ll be able to spray them with Deer Off or some such.

I have also used a little cold frame to harden seedlings off. I keep it open during the warm part of the day, using an old sheet to throw shade when necessary, and closing it late in the afternoon so it will be protected from colder nighttime temperatures.

Whether you choose to start seed to begin gardening early in the season, for reasons of thrift, or to have fun, growing plants from seed gives its own satisfaction. It is a joy to watch every step of a plant’s growth.

First day of hardening off March 22, 2012

Of course, since that first day in the sun and air, I have had to bring the seedlings in again. Below freezing temperatures and even hail have kept the tender plants inside, protected from this strange weather.

Between the Rows   March 24, 2012

Timber Press and a Spring Giveaway

Jennifer Kujawski signing the book she wrote with her father, Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook

I spent today at a wonderful Spring Symposium organized by our local Master Gardeners who do so much to help us all improve our skills while offering us lots of inspiration. I bought a copy of the Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by Ron Kujawski and his daughter Jennifer, who live near by.
I know Ron from his days as a Cooperative Extension educator (and my days on the Extension Board). This sturdy spiral bound book published by Storey Publishing has all the down to earth information I expect from Ron, but it also has pages that make it operate as a three year garden journal. I am looking forward to putting the book and journal pages to good use.
Many Timber Press books were on sale too, and I have just started reading Ivette Soler’s book The Edible Front Yard which is part of a big Timber Press Giveaway.  If you click here and leave your email address on the Timber Press website you’ll be entered in a drawing with a basketful of prizes.

Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables

First you will get 35 packets of organic heirloom vegetable seeds (worth $87) from Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply, and a bare root fruit tree, also from Peaceful Valley. In addition you’ll get a whole edible gardening library from Timber Press including:

Click here to leave your email address and be entered in a drawing.

Everyone is thinking about how they can take a little more control of the food they eat, and thinking how they can get more enjoyment out of the day. Timber Press is helping us all to do this with their excellent and beautiful books – and this chance to win them  Good luck!

The Contest ends March 23! Don’t wait another moment.

Seeds: Heritage, Hybrid, GMO

Seed Savers Exchange catalog

The Native Seeds/SEARCH catalog arrived in my mailbox this past week. This company located in Tucson is new to me, and so is the term native seeds.

Included with the catalog that offers a variety of open pollinated seed from amaranth to watermelon was a tiny separate chart listing the best ways to choose seed. They say “Whenever possible, source your seeds first from the area where you live. Seed libraries, seed exchanges and local seed companies that actually grow the seeds they sell are ideal choices.” I was confused to receive this catalog here in Massachusetts because the company touting local seed is located in Tucson, Arizona, and the names of the varieties offered like Escondida chile, Guarijio sweet corn, Calabaza Mexicana squash and Hopi Red watermelon indicate that they are native to the southwest. If I were to plant these seeds I would be disobeying what seems to be the first tenet of this seed company.

There is a lot of concern about seeds in the farm and garden world these days. As more and more large farms use Genetically Modified Seed (GMO) for commodity crops like corn, soybeans and wheat, there is a countervailing interest in open pollinated seed, which is seed that produces plants exactly like the original seed.

The Seed Saver’s Exchange was the first group that I was aware of that was actively working to preserve the open pollinated seeds of vegetables and flowers grown by gardeners and farmers all over the country. Since 1975 this non-profit organization has been making it possible for seed savers to exchange seed with each other. At the same time they have a farm where they can also keep rare and unusual seeds going. The SSE now has its own catalog, paper and online, so that gardeners can order what are now often called heritage seeds.

An advantage that heritage seeds have is that the crops they produce are often specially adapted to certain areas, thriving in a certain kind of soil, with a particular type of weather. When you look at all those thousands of varieties you have a wide and deep gene pool that can be used when scientists prepare to create a new hybrid that will meet a particular situation.

Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog

I buy some of my seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. This is partly a sentimental choice because I met Johnny when we were living in Maine in 1975. The company was very new and I was fascinated by the idea of a seed farm, something I had never considered before. I also think seeds of plants grown in Maine should be right at home here in Heath.

Johnny’s, like Native Seeds/SEARCH and their Tucson Seeds, sees a benefit in being a local source. Unlike Native Seeds he includes hybrids in his catalog. I like knowing that Dunja, a new variety of zucchini is disease resistant and has higher yields. I guess I can hear people saying who needs a higher yielding zucchini – but I can bring my extras to the Center for Self Reliance!

Hybrids have been around for centuries because plants do cross pollinate naturally, sometimes resulting in an improvement, or sometimes not. I am happy that scientists can cross one squash with another to make a variety that is more disease resistant in this natural way so that my harvests can be a bit more dependable.

I do not like the idea of GMO seeds that have had genes of a different organism put into my soybean (or whatever) plant. I can understand that big farmers like to get rid of weeds with  Round-Up, but don’t like killing their crops with Round-Up. Finding the answer to this dilemma by developing a GMO soybean that won’t be killed by Round-Up might sound like a good idea, but we all know that living organisms can become resistant to threat. We are now urged not to use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary because germs become stronger and resistant to the antibiotics. It seems to me there is a danger in GMO crops also becoming resistant. I fear the damage to the soil, and indeed to people who eat these crops.

I know GMOs are controversial, and I don’t claim to understand all the ramifications, but I try to avoid GMO products when I can. GMOs are not readily available for home garden crops, so that is one worry I don’t have in my own garden.

High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog

I do like the idea of supporting companies like Johnny’s that grow their seeds more locally than Tucson. I have also been buying native seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds which is located in Vermont. Even here I have a sentimental attachment because I spent some years of my childhood on a Vermont dairy farm.

Others may also like buying seeds from High Mowing because they are a local(ish) company, but also because every seed in their catalog has been grown organically. They offer heirloom varieties as well as hybrids that promise disease resistance or some other benefit. They even note which lettuce varieties like Gaviota, and Sula, are good for eating at the baby leaf stage, but not at full size.

Have you been thinking about seeds? Where to buy them? Whether you like heritage varieties or hybrids? Do you have a variety you must have in your garden every year? Let me know your thoughts by emailing me at commonweeder.com and I’ll share your comments.

Between the Rows  February 18, 2012

 

Spring at Last?

Easter Sunday

In spite of Saturday’s snow and sleet which continued most of the day, after a warm night with temperatures constantly increasing, Easter Sunday dawned warm and sunny and blissful. This is all that was left of the snow. The breeze was gentle and it was a perfect Easter Sunday.

One of the first fences we removed over the past months was the wire fence that formed the ‘fourth wall’ of the Sunken Garden. These dayliles grew along the northern section of fence but they are going to be removed.  A few will be moved to the Daylily Bank in front of the house, some will go to the Bridge of Flowers Plant Sale on May 14, and some will go to whoever will take them. These were bought from White Flower Farm in shades of yellow and gold more than 25 years ago. The names are gone, but it is a wonderful selection. I will have to wait for this swampy site to dry out before I start digging, although I doubt that the daylilies would care very much. The intent is to have a smooth green swath from the main lawn into the Sunken Garden. I do use the word ‘lawn’ loosely. No fine turf at the End of the Road.

After we enjoyed the sunny morning the clouds moved in, but our guests began to arrive and we just concentrated on the sun in their smiles.  We had a wonderful day of visiting with young friends and our son Chris and his lady.  This morning before Chris and Michelle departed for home, Chris helped me move the lid to the cold frame and I moved in the seedlings that have been growing on the guest room windowsill. Here you can see Tango lettuce from High Mowing Seeds, Amadeus broccoli and Tower Mix China Asters from Johnny’s Another tray held  Gigante parlsey, Bling Bling and Green Envy zinnias from Renee’s Garden.

Today it is cloudy again which makes it perfect for a first day in  the cold frame. The prediction is for more showery weather which is not a bad thing. I think I might be able to put these seedlings in the ground early next week. It feels like spring. I hope it is here to stay.

Jere Gettle and Comstock, Ferre Seeds

Jere, Emilee and Sasha Gettle

Fourteen years ago, at the age of 17, Jere Gettle put together his first list of heirloom seeds and mailed it to 550 gardeners. Now he oversees a veritable empire consisting of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, the Bakersville Pioneer Village complete with seed store, bakery, restaurant, jail, herbal apothecary, music barns with monthly festivals and more in Missouri, and the Petaluma Seed Bank in California, which opened last spring. Most recently he bought the Comstock, Ferre Seed Company in Wethersfield, Connecticut, New England’s oldest seed company that had been in business since at least 1811. An Amish construction crew went in to start working on the Comstock buildings shortly after the sale was completed in November of 2010.

Gettle’s passion is for heirloom seeds, seeds that are not hybrids, not patented and  not genetically modified. In the new Comstock, Ferre catalog, Gettle has written a letter to his customers about his criticism of GMOs. “Our company boycotts all companies that practice the new-fangled technology called genetic modification. We feel that it is an abomination to insert toxic animal genes into seeds or alter them in order that they can be sprayed with unlimited amounts of weed killer. We are also boycotting the ‘American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). They have become a powerful GMO lobbying group that is putting profit first and trying to make patents last even longer, keeping farmers from saving seed!”

Gettle is very aware of the developments in modern agriculture, as he is aware of developments in the modern business world. Even though he is usually photographed in overalls and colorful shirts or a tunic common to the 19th century farmer, he knows his way around marketing and the new media.

Sasha Gettle at Comstock, Ferre

I spoke to Gettle on the phone earlier this week and asked him about the contradiction between the homespun presentation of his businesses, and the fact that he has a big presence on the Internet with his Rareseeds.com website, Facebook pages for both seed companies and the Seed Bank.  “To keep the old ways alive you have to have funds.  Brick and mortar stores aren’t enough.  You have to adapt and have retail and online. You have to use everything you can.  The seed market has been growing these past few years, but it is still a difficult business. Catalogs and shipping are expensive, and we are selling things for two dollars a packet. We need to sell a lot,” he said.

It should be mentioned that Gettle does actually sell more than seeds. On his website you can buy mugs, t-shirts and calendars, and hand tools.  When you visit Bakersville festivals you will be able to shop and eat.

In September Gettle will be cooperating with the Seed Saver’s Exchange (he’s been a member since 1996) and the D. Landreth Seed Company to host the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, California at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. On the bill will be growers and chefs. “We hope this will be an annual event, although we are talking about possibly alternating locations, one year on the east coast and one year on the west coast.”

Gettle explained that other heirloom seed companies are not his competition. He is happy to work with these other companies. It is the companies that sell patented and GMO seeds that he competes with.

Gettle is always on the lookout for delicious heirloom vegetables. Their seed list now numbers about 1,400 varieties. He looks for American varieties, but he has also traveled to Asia looking for good vegetables and seeds that will grow here. “We haven’t traveled too much in the past couple of years while we were working on these big projects, but I’m hoping to travel again soon. Sometimes we are given connections in other countries, but we just travel and talk to people when we see interesting seed packets in a store, or vegetables at a market. I don’t travel with a translator usually.  Usually we can understand each other one way or another, or sometimes there will be a person around who can speak a little English,” he said.

When we were in China, we found, like Gettle, that if there is a seller and a buyer, commerce will win out and a sale will be made, with very little language needed. It can make for a funny picture, though.

When I asked Gettle what there was about him, what made him so successful, he brushed the question aside. “It’s just been a blessing to do what we love, and the timing is good. The interest in sustainable farming and local eating has grown a lot over the past ten years, and that has helped a lot,” he said.

I am sure that is true, but I think there is always a mysterious something that drives and informs a man like Jere Gettle that enables him to turn principles and passions into a successful business.

The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog is beautiful and glitzy or gardeners can go online to www.rareseeds.com.  Gettle also publishes a quarterly magazine, The Heirloom Gardener, and the fall will see the release of The Heirloom Life, the first of three books he is writing with his wife Emilee. I guess he knows how to use the old media, print, as well as new media.

Websites for other heirloom seed companies include: www.heirloomseeds.com; www.landrethseeds.com; www.seedsavers.org;  www.sustainableseedco.com: www.victoryseeds.com

Between  the Rows  January 8, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

Snow on April 16

A wet snow was falling on Friday morning. It did not last long on the ground, but the day continued wet and chill and not suitable for gardening.  I was happy that I had spent most of Thursday cleaning out, weeding and putting some semblance of an edge on the Herb Bed in front of the house. Since we added the Entry Walk to the Piazza and Welcome Platform, the Herb Bed has expanded to approximately 33 feet long, and 5 feet deep.

With all that room I added a rose, and three golden Henryi lilies and three White Henry lilies last year. I can’t wait to see them. I also seeded some spinach on April 1 and it has sprouted and has managed to survive the snow and cold rains. I guess that’s why they call it a hardy cool season crop.

I also moved some six packs of lettuce, broccoli – and even cosmos – down to the cold frame early this week.  The seedlings survived strong sun on the two days when I needed to open the ‘lid’, as well as near- freezing temperatures. They are sitting in a plastic tray so that I can add water every day and keep them watered through osmosis action.

Seedlings in the cold frame

Other six packs of parsley, cosmos, and zinnias are doing well on a windowsill upstairs. I planted more seeds as well: Sakata Sweet Treats cherry tomatoes sent as a sample; Seed Savers Exchange Hot Biscuits amaranth given as a sample at the nursery trade show; and purchased seeds including High Mowings Belstar broccoli; and Renee’s Garden cosmos, and Blue Boy Cornflower. I am determined that this year I will have flowers for cutting and arrangements as well as veggies on the plate.

Nothing much is happening so far in the new Front Garden. Lettuce and spinach have been planted, but without composted manure from the local horse farm I haven’t tried to plant the second bed there. I did go down to the Potager and weeded and dug one bed. I planted blue sweet peas, another sample from Seed Savers, as well as swiss chard and onion sets. I had to hurry because I did only have the day – as it turned out.

Daffodils are still coming. Everytime I have to drive down Route 2 I see more and more of the Mystery Daffodils coming into bloom. This is the third spring for these beautiful flowers which appeared mysteriously – and no one knew who had planted them. The secret leaked out a little bit, but I have kept my lips sealed. I love thinking about this Secret Sharer, making all of us smile as we drive back and forth to work or on our necessary errands.

I have daffodils, obviously of late varieties, but I have been admiring the progression of foliage on the trees with special attention and joy this spring. Flower arranging is not my forte, but I thought I would have some luck with foliage arranging. There are wild cherry buds, deep red ornamental plum leaves, birch catkins and I’m not sure what else.   I stuck in a handful of daffs and brought the arrangement to sit on the Coffee Table for social hour at church. It was admired!

Two Beautiful Sights

Forsythia

Yesterday I went to Greenfield to hear a talk by the charming Ed Himlan of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition talk about rain gardens, but we didn’t have to stand out in the rain to enjoy it and learn. Did you know that the major cause of pollution in our waterways is from rainwater runoff?  More on that later.

During my drive about town I admired the forsythia in bloom everywhere. It hurts me to see bushes pruned severely into tight little hedges, but I love the glory of gracefully arching branches and exuberant tangles. What a beautiful sight!

My own forsythia is not blooming yet (it usually doesn’t) but the flat of seedlings that I planted a week ago is another beautiful sight.  Every morning I check progress and pour water into the tray to be absorbed by osmosis into the cell packs.  You will notice that the parsley has not yet sprouted.  There is a saying that parsley has to travel down to the devil and back three times before it sprouts.  I don’t know why, I only know it can take three weeks for parsley seed to germinate, even on a heat mat.

Grow Something New

Dreaming of this year's delivery

We are only halfway through January so I think we are still in new resolution season.  Now that I am a garden blogger, as well as a garden columnist, I read other garden blogs. One of my favorite bloggers, Carol at  May Dreams Gardens in Indiana has challenged gardeners to grow something new this year. Actually, Carol challenges us all to grow something new every year.

It is fun to try something new, even if we never plant it again. I planted stevia in the herb garden a couple of years ago. Stevia has amazingly sweet leaves, 30 times as sweet as sugar. At the same time it does not raise blood sugar levels and has almost no calories. You can buy stevia powder or liquid and use it as a sweetener, or a medicinal mouthwash to retard plaque, but I never figured out how to use my stevia leaves in any practical way. I never grew it again, even though I did have a lot of fun getting people to chew a leaf and being really surprised.

I’m not sure whether Carol means I should grow something I have never grown, or something I haven’t grown for a long time, or at least not last year. Gardeners let some plants fall by the wayside for a host of reasons, sometimes because not enough people in the family like a particular vegetable that was tried, sometimes because it took up too much room for too little payoff in a small garden, sometimes because that plant has failed more than once before. I know some people don’t give up on a plant until they have killed it three times as a general principal. If I fail three times, I am not ever likely to give it another try.

I’ve decided I can choose a plant I have grown in the past, but not last year.  For instance, last year I didn’t plant cucumbers. I like cucumbers so I don’t know why I don’t plant them more often. They are perfect as a new choice, especially since another resolution I have made is to grow UP. Daniel Botkin at Laughing Dog Farm has inspired me with all the trellises in his garden.

Having chosen cucumbers the question is which one. Renee’s Garden offers some relatively familiar varieties like Endeavor pickling cucumbers. Renee also has another small cuke, a baby Persian variety named Green Fingers, as well a small bush cucumber named Bush Slicer that has regular cukes six to eight inches long.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds has Diamant cukes that can be used for slicing or pickling, the standard Marketmore, Tasty Jade  a burpless long Japanese cuke that likes to be trellised and Striped Armenian cukes.  Armenian cukes seem to be one of the fashionable cukes these days. Johnny’s has 22 cucumber varieties.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds offer 34 varieties of old cucumber varieties, many from other countries. Beit Alpha is a small burpless variety from the Mediterranean, De Bourbonne, a tiny pickling cuke, is from France, Telegraph Improved is an English heirloom that produces 18 inch long fruits, and Uzbekski from Uzbekistan has fat fruits that are good keepers. Who could have imagined a cucumber being billed as a good keeper?  I guess I still have time to choose my cucumber.

Castor bean

When I was wandering the aisles of the Greenfield Farmer’s Cooperative on High Street before Christmas, I admired the Botanical Interests seed display. The packages are so pretty, and there was a packet of castor bean seeds, Ricinus communis.  I had never seen castor bean plants before last year and I found them stunning.  Lilian Jackman of Wilder Hill had a couple of imposing plants that took my breath away.

During a garden tour I also saw a handsome pot filled with a castor bean plant, hung about with signs saying, “Poison. Do Not Touch.” The poisonous beans are definitely not for eating, but the “do not touch” part of the sign had to do with the owners not wanting the plant to be damaged. Castor beans are not poisonous to the touch. This amazing plant grows to a majestic size in one season. The large palmate leaves are dark green with a reddish tinge; the fuzzy bean pods are red. This needs to be started indoors to get its full growth.

Knockout double red on 10-1-09

Of course, I grow  roses, and add a couple every year. This year I learned about the EarthKind designation for roses. This is not a new variety name, but a stamp of hardiness by Texas A&M University. They have been testing roses for a number of years to find those that thrive without resorting to chemical fertilizers, and poison sprays to handle insects and disease.

The Fairy on 11-2-09

Although I did not know it, I already have EarthKind roses: The Fairy, Knockout, Carefree Beauty and New Dawn. They are carefree!  This year I will add Belinda’s Dream, which I first saw in Texas and which my daughter says loves her garden near Houston. However, Belinda’s Dream is hardy in Zone 5, which is to say it will tolerate temperatures of minus 20 degrees. This is less iffy on my Heath hill than it used to be.

What new plant will you grow?

Between the Rows   January 16, 2010

Beautiful – but . . .

The skies are brilliant and the snow is pristine.

Krishna surveys the snow-filled Sunken Garden at dawn and wonders why there are no cows,  or milkmaids to thrill with his pipes.

But my thoughts have gone beyond snow, to sweet soil and seeds. I could not resist the display of Botanical Interest Seeds at the Farmer’s Coop in Greenfield yesterday. I will have my Castor Bean plant this year! And many colors of  morning glories and bush beans in the new vegetable patch I am planning. The mung beans will be sprouted before the next Winterfare farmer’s market in Greenfield on Feb. 6. The days are growing longer.