New year, new garden. Thank goodness.

My favorite time to go to the cabin is in the winter — there’s nobody else there. We have the snow-blanketed trails to ourselves, only the occasional bird chirping or tree creaking in the wind to interrupt the stillness.  And the really loud crunching of snow under our snowshoes, but whatevs. It’s peaceful, okay?


The other thing I do during our annual winter pilgrimage to the hinterland (Craig’s family cabin is Up North, near the border with the UP) is plan my garden. There is nothing, NOTHING like cozying up under a blanket with a fire in the fireplace (after begging your husband to start said fire) and combing through seed catalogs. Whenever I tell a fellow Midwesterner this they can’t believe it (I can hardly believe it myself), but when I lived in San Diego, I missed the seasons. There is just something about the anticipation of a new year — a rebirth, to get all corny — that I love. You need the cold to appreciate the warm, the dark to appreciate the light. And all that. Yup, I’ve tasted the Dairy State snow cone kool-aid.

I’m especially looking forward to a clean slate this year because my garden last year was such a bust. As in, we had to get a CSA share because absolutely. nothing. grew. I’m lucky my first summer at our house was a winner, because otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have given up on this whole gardening thing. And considering that was the whole reason I wanted to buy a house, that would have been sad.


I thought I was pretty much all set with my seeds — I have a bunch leftover from last year and tried to do a better job storing them this time. So I was expecting to buy a few, maybe some carrots, and parsnips since I’ve been in love with the idea of parsnip mashed potatoes since going to a wedding where said dish was served last summer.

Yeah, right.

I leafed through the garden porn and couldn’t stop myself. I realized I’d forgotten a few basics — arugula is one of the few things I’ve been able to grow consistently, how could I skip that? — but then there were some others. Radishes? Well who wouldn’t grow those, they grow so quickly in the spring, right? Never mind that I don’t really like them, I’ll eat anything out of the ground come April. Oooh, curly cress grows in 20 days. What about watercress? Raab sounds interesting…. And so on. In fact I’m writing this as I try to resist looking up more information about ground cherries. But c’mon, ground cherries, doesn’t that sound enticing?

So here’s where I landed…

Current seed inventory:

multicolored pole beans
golden beets
rainbow lacinato kale
sugar snap pea

Seeds ordered:

“perpetual spinach” chard
curly cress
broccoli raab

Buy as transplants: (unless I get motivated)

tomatoes (cherry, slicers, sauce)
peppers (sweet, hot)
onions (shallots?)
rhubarb (finally…)
ground cherries


Alright, I’m ready to get my hands dirty! Anyone trying anything new in your garden this year?

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