When the wind is whipping through your jacket and pants, chilling your hands and making you curse your climate, it can be difficult to imagine gardening. But when it's necessary for survival, you think about it daily during the dark days of winter - especially when the most recent harvest is fully depleted.
In preparation for this year, my mother and I have hoarded seeds like house-bound field mice in late autumn. While shopping the Macy's of Maine, Marden's, we discovered packets of seeds for a quarter apiece. We loaded up on marigolds, beets, and I picked up some peppers. In fact, I picked up a lot of peppers this year - green peppers, carnival hybrid sweet peppers (literally a rainbow of peppers!), banana peppers, Big Jim Chili peppers, and pepperoncini. What inspired this pepperpalooza? I'm hooked on snacking on miniature sweet peppers...which none of these varieties are, but I am determined to make good use of whatever I can grow. Ma, on the other hand, chose to clean out Galusha's stock of shell beans since they are usually the only ones to carry that variety.
Today, we enjoyed the fun and exciting phase of Seeding. Ma pulled out her small plastic tubs, filled them with starter soil, strongly discouraged the cat from treating them as litter boxes as she ran upstairs to retrieve a knitting needle, and gave the soil a nice healthy drink before violating it with said knitting needle. My responsibilities included handing over seeds and plant markers inscribed with the intended crop. After another soil drenching, Ma moved the temporary seed homes to the large basement window sills, again instructing the cat to leave them alone. Fingers crossed they will survive both the cat, and my inability to remember such tasks as, say, watering.