Gardening, even in temperate Southern California is guided by the calendar. Each seasonal phase brings the promise of new beginnings and the letting go of past glories. The transition from 2020 to 2021 feels like a jail sentence drawing to an end, a culmination, a new chapter. So lets take a deep breath of crisp winter air and look forward. January, for me is especially potent. Barely a week into 2018, I was nearly killed in a head on car crash. I spent a month in the hospital and then three months recuperating in my home, isolated, with my life on pause. Sound familiar? Suffice it to say I had a blueprint for how to ride out a pandemic. Well, more like a garden plan. In March, when we all began this Covid 19 induced virtual journey I immediately went into accelerated planting mode. Gardening had rejuvenated me before and now it would sustain me. I planted up flats of seeds and boosted my existing crops with fertilizer. Soon, I was trading my Valencia oranges, kale, and Swiss chard for flour, eggs, and meat. I had lost my spleen in the accident and my doctor advised me to isolate. In those early days I depended on friends to drop off groceries. It was so exciting to return to a time when bartering was a part of everyday interactions.
So this year, with 2020 hindsight, my New Year’s resolution is to be ready…for anything. Here is my list.
- Clean up my raised beds and start composting in place.
- Replace any old raised beds with new ones.
- Build a new Compost Bin
- Draw up a detailed plan for my vegetable garden and new pollinator cutting garden.
- Refinish my garden furniture
- Build a Potting Bench
- Repair or replace my garden tools
- Prune and plant more fruit trees either in containers or the ground.
- Help my friends and neighbors grow their own food regardless of their living space.
- Do things in the garden that I’ve never done before!
Life is unpredictable but what gardening teaches us is that the end of each season is the beginning of the next. As a child I loved school shopping. Just as buying new pens and a three ring binder filled me with anticipation so does cracking open a new planting journal, buying seeds and shopping for a sharp pair of pruners. Every garden starts with a seed, a bulb or a bare root. They are tiny hopeful things. Give them the proper sun, water, and soil and in time they will grow into something awesome.