Saturday, January 16, 2016

Seed Catalogues and Marshalltown Trowels

Look what just came in the mail this week! 
I did it, I just did a happy dance. 

Each winter around this time the West Coast seed catalogue comes in the mail and I start dreaming of new garden beds, different heirloom varieties to try, and what I can tweak what I’m doing so the plants have a stronger chance. There is something exquisitely satisfying about growing your own vegetables, fruits and kitchen herbs. 

For anyone who is reading this and feeling the least bit intimidating, don’t!! My idea of a trowel still is my archaeology Marshalltown. Even now, I still use that one instead of a proper gardening one . . . except when I borrow my daughter’s “play” garden set. My mother-in-law got them for her and those things are metal, sturdy, and perfect for a bunch of the container gardening I do. She only sometimes rolls her eyes when I ask to borrow them. “Mom, you know those are toys, right?” Not if they do the job, then they’re implements.

Can you tell I did not grow up gardening. I figured when I grew up, you know, stopped living in a tent for archaeology field seasons and stop moving every fall/winter to a new city or town for school or work, I would eventually settle in one place long enough to be able to entertain the idea of gardening. Turns out Calgary was where we did that. For the gardeners out there, Calgary is Zone 3, with some pockets of Zone 2. I didn’t know what this meant, and I’m still learning how to play with how Mother Nature in my neck of the woods, ‘er . . . prairie. But what’s a perennial elsewhere works as an annual here. Our growing season is short, but the sun is hot and plants will all of a sudden take off across your yard (true story) when they get those long hot days of 30+ (90+ fahrenheit). 

This year a raspberry patch is so on the list! And more native species, too. No need to grumble about zone 3 when there really is a plethora of plants that have always thrived quite nicely here. As far as the rest...I’ll have a flip through the catalogue, research online and scour more books to see what to add to the usual seed and plant suspects.

Speaking of zones, I have a happy little gardening story that I will share Monday about my life-changing trip up to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. The Territories are many beautiful, wondrous things, but I never expected my trip up there for work to turn me into a gardner . . . stay tuned!


  1. Love it! I too plan to garden this year, though I've never done it before in my life. Buying the new house, we now have patches that I plan to grow vegetables in. We'll have to trade garden-war stories

    1. Say the word and we can play gardens together...seriously. I love learning this stuff!