What a Gardener (This Gardener) Does in the Off-Season
Photo by Melody

What a Gardener (This Gardener) Does in the Off-Season

By Timmy Jo Given (timmijo)January 30, 2014
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The Off-Season: a time when the garden lies fallow, giving the hard-working gardener a well-deserved break. Considering that we all live in various climates and growing season zones, the off-season is a little different for everyone; yet for all of us, it is rapidly coming to a close!. Before the off-season turns into the "On-Season", let me tell you what the off-season is like for me.

Gardening picture

At the end of autumn, I said goodbye to all the vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and I hung up my shovel and hoe. The vegetable plot was finished, and it was only a matter of time before frost descended.

A feeling of melancholy came over me as I glanced around at my little clay pots of plantings scattered about the yard. Many of the potted plants were left right where they were; only a few choice ones came indoors for the winter due to space and time limitations.

I brought the wandering jew and some of the purple heart indoors, and I snagged the babies from an outdoor aloe vera, feeling quite guilty for leaving the rest of it outdoors in my zone, 7a. I knew what was coming but did not have the resources to save everything.

Yet winter came very slowly this year; in fact, it was rather mild—at least until the Polar Vortex showed up in January. That's when we finally got the snow that I wanted for Christmas.

The polar vortex stuck around for a long time and is still here as I write this; we experienced wave after wave of its incredibly cold temperatures for some of December and most of January. That is why I am writing about the off-season—because I am still in it.

As a procrastinator, I try to extend my off-season for as long as I can. This seems like a paradox for someone who is itching to get back out in the garden, but I am a hibernating bear in the winter. A cup of hot tea and a thick blanket, and my needs are met. I just want to sit still, all wrapped up in a blanket—and maybe zone out in front of Facebook. At least for a little while.

The nurturer in me that had been busy outdoors during the warmer months now finds reward in taking care of other living things indoors. The houseplants are going strong as they always do in their sunny windowsills, and I have even taken up raising Corydoras from the many eggs that I regularly find in my husband's 50-gallon tropical fish aquarium.

In due time, we gardeners will switch gears just as surely as the garden sections of the retail stores have already done. They are now well-stocked with rows and rows of seed packets, potting soils, fertilizers, planters, tools, gloves, and lawn decorations to name just a few of the many products that beckon those who have thumbs of green.

Moreover, the Winter Solstice occurred back in December just before Christmas when the days began to lengthen, bit by bit. I can always "smell" it in the air, and as December comes to a close, with a heightened spring in my step, I tell my husband that winter will soon be over. He usually receives my cheerful news with a blank stare of incredulity. After all, didn't we just decorate the Christmas tree?

But that's how it goes.

I am glad to see more and more sunshine streaming through the windows even though it has been incredibly cold outdoors in these first few months of the New Year. Yes, I am putting off my "On-Season" until I can venture outdoors without suffering, but in my heart of hearts, I am glad to see those packets of seeds lining the shelves at the discount store. 

 


  About Timmy Jo Given  
Timmy Jo GivenAs a gardener and photographer, Timmy Jo enjoys documenting nature's wonders, especially those found right in her own back yard. When not elbow-deep in soil, Timmy Jo carries around a Pentax digital camera with vintage film lenses attached. Follow her on Google.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Bring it on! jmc1987 4 24 Feb 11, 2014 1:40 PM
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