Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Winter Solstice

Most people assume the new year starts in January. For me, it begins on the solstice. This is when the days start getting longer and spring starts calling.

As this is my first entry, I suppose it would be a good idea to tell you a little about myself. My name is Tom. I'm 35 years old and recently rediscovered the joys of gardening. As a kid, my parents would force me and my sister to work for long hot hours under the SC sun picking and hoeing row after row of vegetables. They planted butterbeans, peas, okra (cotton socks over your arms are good for keeping the 'itchies' at bay while picking), and tomatoes. We also had watermelons, cantaloupes, and once in a while, corn. I remember one year when my dad decided to use our great-grandmother's property for planting. Standing at one end of the field, you could just make out a person at the other end. So while I had experience in gardening, I wasn't keen to repeat those childhood memories.

In June of 2007, I purchased the house on 7th Street in a small town about 45 minutes east of Charlotte, NC. Originally, I had my heart set on a house outside of town with a 2 acre wooded lot in a cul-de-sac community. Unfortunately, things didn't go as I had wanted and the mortgage would not be written. So I started to look again. I found this neat little house online and scheduled an appointment. On the first visit, I was horrified by the condition. It was a rental house with an absentee landlord. Structurally, the bones of the house seemed to be in good shape. I decided to rescue it from the renter and moved in 30 days later. Just this past month, I've managed to remodel both the living room and the bathroom. Next up is the large bedroom and hallway.

In the summer of 2007, a heat wave of biblical proportions kept me indoors for much of the summer. When I was outside, it was with water hose in hand trying to keep the few plants I had purchased from dying a long slow death. A few made it, most didn't. I tried again in 2008 with the same results. This past fall, I decided I needed a better option.

With ideas in hand, I went searching the internet for information about propagation. So far, I've rooted cuttings, raised flowers from seed, and just begun my search into root cuttings. It's a cheap way to realize my long term visions for this house and yard without spending a fortune. Over time, you will see that when I find something I like, I'll post a link to it on the right hand side of this site.

I've also taken some time over the past year and a half to remove some of the wooded areas surrounding the house. While it's located in town, it's a large lot than most houses in my neighborhood. Because of a drainage creek, only one house could be built on what should have been two narrow, deep lots. The builder of this house recognized this and turned the two lots into one. I couldn't be more pleased.

Today, as stated, marks the Winter Solstice. For me, that means getting my hardy perennials in containers and letting them sit out the rest of the winter. When they're ready, they'll germinate and I'll plant them out once the danger of frost has passed. Today I sowed 80 containers. Yes, eighty. Each one contains a different perennial flower seed that should help me realize the dream of the cottage garden. For more information on wintersowing, you can visit Trudi's website or google it for lots of pictures, ideas, and experiences.

In the future, I plan to use this blog to record websites I've found or information I've read that I think would be helpful. Be sure to check out the links section of my blog. I don't plan to have a schedule for updating. In the spring, I'll probably spend more time outdoors than in front of my computer. Right now, it's 55 degrees and the temperature is falling. I'm hungry. I wish I had fresh tomatoes.

Thanks for stopping by.


Unknown said...

Awesome, Tom! I'm excited that you started this! I will be checking in occasionally... especially on the companion planting and seeing your pics. Thanks!


Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Tom,
I checked to see how long you've been blogging, and saw that you are new. Check out blotanical if you are wanting to get to know more garden bloggers and have them read your blog.

It sounds like you've been very busy with all those baby plants!