Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wow! Waking up to the sun shining through the windows, I couldn't help but jump out of bed and hurry to the back yard. I realize it's still the middle of winter, but I've really had more than enough rain and cold temperatures.

I hate winter. Just last week when rain was pouring in sheets straight down from the sky, I tried to think of warm, sunny days in the garden. I sat on the couch staring out the windows at my water logged, muddy, colorless garden. The roses had been cut back, hydrangeas pruned and the flower borders all pulled out waiting to be replanted with spring annuals. It was not pretty. I looked out beyond the brick wall, and there in the distance, I could see my homemade tomato cages standing empty, all lined up like good little soldiers, as eager as I am for the new tomato season to begin.

Those tomato cages, made of wire sheeting, are large and cumbersome and have to spend the winters out in the weather. These are my extras. I also have a sizeable collection of my favorites, the Texas Tomato Cages. They come in various sizes and fold up neatly to be stored when not in use. Absolute Genius...they may be a bit pricey but so worth it. As I said, they fold up and are easy to store from one season to the next. They are strong and sturdy and I expect they will last forever. It occurred to me that although it's raining now and planting time won't arrive for at least another month, there's still plenty I can and should be doing to prepare for spring.

All of my cages have lengths of twine crossing them which I use to support branches that don't quite reach the sides. There are name tags on them from last season. I need to wipe all of the cages free of cobwebs that have accumulated and remove the strings and labels. Garden tools all need to be gathered and cleaned so they're ready the moment the weather permits. The garden shed itself, could probably use some organizing. Unused seed packets can be collected and put together. Fertilizers and soil amendments should all be in one place so I don't have to dig to find them when it's time to use them.
Decked out in my rainboots and jacket, umbrella in hand, I slogged my way out to the garden shed. With the doors swung open I propped the umbrella on top and created a shelter from the rain. It turned out that even though it wasn't tomato season, in fact it was just the middle of February, I had a lot of gardening to do.

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