It’s still winter and it’s still cold and no matter what the groundhog says tomorrow it will be months yet before I can do any gardening outdoors. This week the forecast is promising a few nights will slip below zero (-18C). In spite of that, the worst of winter is behind me but the hardest part is still ahead. This is the time I begin to get a bit of cabin fever. And while Bookman and I have a Valentine’s date planned that includes a trip to the conservatory, it is only temporary relief.

So I’ve been gazing at gardening books and gardening catalogs and doing garden planning like a thirsty person in the desert. Grocery shopping Friday night, our natural food co-op had the seed rack out already and I immediately spied a package of cosmic purple carrot seeds. Since I forgot to order carrot seeds with all my other seeds I grabbed a pack. I’m still hoping to find atomic red carrots somewhere but if not, the purple alone will do.

And then I got an email from the urban farm supply store saying it’s time to order chicks if you want any. And I couldn’t help but look at the varieties they had on offer. Such beautiful birds! They offer a class on backyard chicken basics and you get to pet chickens too. The class is next weekend and I came this close to signing up just to pet the chickens. Plus, Bookman said I should totally do it. He figures if I took the class and learned all about it I will either a) no longer want chickens or b) want chickens enough that I will be able to convince him that he wants some too. But I decided to wait until next year to take the class. We have far too many other plans for this year in the garden to be able to find the time and energy to proceed with chickens if we decide to go there. Something to look forward to for next winter!

I spent a good amount of time studying up on season extending gardening techniques and mini hoop houses. Bookman also came up with an idea of making a temporary unheated greenhouse that we could walk into from the backdoor of the house. That is an exciting prospect. It has a few complications we will have to work out if we decide to do it next winter, but just the thought of it has me jittery with excitement. The mini hoop houses though will be easy. The hardest part will be timing planting the things we will grow in them because once daytime temperatures drop below freezing, the plants inside will stop growing. Which means the size of the lettuce and spinach and whatever else will be in there at the time will be what we have to work with all winter until it warms up enough for things to start growing again. In a hoop house, that will be much earlier than in the ground, but here in Minnesota I’m still looking at four months at least. I’m not sure I can grow enough lettuce plants to last four months, but even if they only last two or three that’s something.

I’ve got the seed starting for my tomatoes and peppers all worked out including the timing. Bookman and I will be making our seed pots from newspaper, a cool thing because we just plant the paper pots in the ground in spring and paper composts right there. We’ll need quite a few pots, haven’t worked out just how many yet. I’ve been saving up newspaper from work so we’ve got plenty of that ready to go. The pots are quick and easy to make and I want to make them now just for something to do but it’s far too soon. The seeds won’t be started until mid-March and I have no place to keep a pile of paper pots safe for a month and half.

But February is a short month and it will fly by, right?

It was a good weekend for reading. I finished two books and am very close to finishing a third. I am very happy to have books to write about for the coming week. I also got an email from Library Journal to let me know a new book is on the way for me to read for review. This one is a gardening book called First Ladies of Gardening: Designers, Dreamers, and Divas. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I have two books to pick up from the library that have been in my hold queue for a time, the hold queue to which I have not been adding anything no matter how hard it’s been (yay me!). I can tell you my library list has gotten really long though! The books I will be picking up are Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg and Pico Iyer’s The Art of Stillness.

Now off to enjoy what remains of the weekend.