We’ve had it all in January, haven’t we, gardeners! Temperatures close to -50 degrees, a day or so of melting temperatures (imagine, puddles on the driveway!), and winds that were almost strong enough to earn an F1 status. But, on the up-side, the days are getting longer, most noticeably in the late afternoon. Isn’t that nice to see? There is hope for spring!
On that January Monday when it was so extremely cold, I was thumbing through one of the seed catalogues (T & T) and I saw something interesting that I want to tell you about. There was a page called “Freaks and Giants”, and it had a selection of interesting seeds that are very unusual. For example, baby corn, ready in 75 days, and the catalogue says that the plants will have “up to 40 pinkie size ears, perfect for stir-frys or pickles and as crunchy finger food. Ears are loaded with multi-colored kernels.” Or how about a cantaloupe called “Giant Cantaloupe North Carolina”, 100 days, that is described as “the largest variety of cantaloupe, but very easy to grow. The giant fruit will easily reach 5 kilos (11 pounds) and larger.” And then there are the weird and wonderful pumpkins called “Knuckle Head” and “Goose Bumps”, members of the “Super Freak” series of pumpkin seeds. These pumpkins are covered with interesting bumps, and would make very unique jack-o-lanterns! Don’t all these sound like fun?
I mention them to you because the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society offers a Junior Gardener program in the spring and summer, and also has special categories for junior gardeners at the annual show in August. Why not try growing a fun new plant with the kids?
Gardening with children is wonderful on so many levels: quality time together as a family, good outdoor activity, and the chance to introduce them to a hobby that could become a life-long passion. I treasure the memories of time spent with my precious parents in our garden. It was so special to watch them work as a team at a hobby they both loved, and this enthusiasm became something that is part of my life today. But back to the kids. Gardening also teaches children to have respect for the earth and gives them an appreciation and understanding of where our food comes from. I think the children of today have grown up with the concepts of what can hurt the environment, and on the other side of the coin, how to care for the environment, so gardening is a natural extension of those concepts.
Someone asked me once if it pays to have a garden, and my answer was yes. If you can eat delicious veggies from your own little patch over the summer, the price of a few packages of seeds seems fairly minimal. Just one harvest of lettuce for one salad can easily equal the price of a package of seeds. And the investment of your time and energy, working out in your garden, will give you returns in the form of exercise, fresh air, enjoyment, and stress relief!
So go through those seed catalogues, find something fun to grow, and give it a try! That’s part of the joy of gardening!
The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be holding their first meeting of 2014 on Thursday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Sunshine Room in SIGN on North Street. We hope you can join us! New members are always welcome, and you don’t have to be a member to attend our meetings (although we would love to have you be part of the group!). So circle that date on your calendar.
Have a great week, gardeners!