Monday, February 27, 2012

Mild Winter Sowing?

“Well, it’s been a pretty mild winter…”

Those words were spoken by the woman working at Farmer Seed & Nursery.  I had decided to go there to see what additional seeds I could buy for my winter sowing project. 

She was very helpful, even going so far as to show me an article on winter sowing that she had read.  The article was written by a woman that teaches winter sowing classes in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis is about an hour or less away for me, so I’m seriously contemplating a day trip!

The woman that I spoke to at Farmer Seed was concerned that because the winter this year is so mild I may end up burning my little seedlings.  Yes, plants can get sunburn, too.  She had good reason to worry, too, considering her experience with gardening far surpasses my own.  She suggested I stick to flowers (Good thing I planted canterbury bells!) and herbs.

Now, I’ve been growing herbs for years.  I’m particularly good with basil and cilantro.  The idea of starting them using winter sowing methods didn’t really appeal to me, when I could just plant the in jiffy pots and let them grow in a window sill.

Flowers were what I had remaining.  While I do want a few flowers, for the sake of variety, I primarily want an edible garden.  With an edible garden I know what has gone into growing my food, I reduce food miles by a ton, and (if done correctly) it’s cheaper.  Winter sowing would allow me to get a head start on this endeavor.

I dragged my feet back to the car and drove home, worried that my winter sowing dream was going to continue being just that – a dream.

Then I called a good friend who used to live in this area of the country.  I told her about my conversation, bemoaning my misfortune.

Frined:  “You have to remember… when they have a ‘mild’ winter up there, they think they’ve gone tropical.  What’s the weather like right now?”

Me:  “Warmer than usual…”

Friend:  “Ok.  Now what’s the temperature?

Me:  “Mid thirties, roughly.”

Friend:  “You’re from the desert!!!  Is 35 degrees warm to you?!”

Me:  “No….”

Friend:  “There.  You see?  In the desert we can grow things that we shouldn’t be able to.  We learn to work with the warm climate.  I say that you can do this.  You’re not in the desert any more, but that doesn’t mean you’ve left your skills behind.”

How can I argue with that?  I can’t.  She’s right, and so I’ll now be shifting my focus to mild winter sowing… and crossing my fingers.  A lot.  My friend, after all, has a thumb that’s much greener than my own.
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