LAKE MACBRIDE— In January, the vision of the future is a weed-free and abundant garden. Beginning with a stack of blank pages, through several iterations, vegetables are considered and a plan is made. The change in 2014 is that I am ordering some of the seeds online from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company used by some of the local growers. It’s time to get the order in and make a schedule for the work of soil preparation and planting.
In past years, some seed catalog companies took my order and money, then blew off sending me the seeds. Heck of a way to run a business, but that is what happened. After that, I bought seeds locally at the grocery store or the discount house. The varietal options are much better at Johnny’s, so I am going to give it a try. I am particularly interested in pelleted seeds which make some of them easier to plant. Fingers crossed.
The garden plan includes the idea that we are part of a local food system and bartering labor for food. I struck two deals similar to last year, to process farm seconds and share the results; and to exchange a fixed number of hours of labor for a share in a CSA. What this means is certain vegetables will be plentiful from the farms and my garden can contain less tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, onions and peppers. That frees up space to plant more carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and other vegetables of which we can’t get enough. We can experiment with new items, like I plan to do with celery and Daikon radishes. In a local food system, produce used in the kitchen comes from a network of suppliers, and my garden will be an example of how that will work. In some ways, being part of a local food system is the opposite of “growing your own food.” It is about community and shared labor more than about what’s in it for me.
The rest of the year’s planning will be about how to fund cash flow through our household. When I re-directed in 2009, it was unclear how things would shake out. Now I realize the importance of budgeting income and expenses, and am working to generate enough income to live, and add to our net worth. The year is off to a good start as I start a second part-time job next week. Outside the bartered positions, I have four paid gigs lined up in 2014. I would like more, and the prospects for finding them seem pretty good. What I don’t want is to rely upon a single job as the main source of financial income.
Being optimistic about life comes with the turf of home gardening. I am hopeful 2014 will be another good year in a garden situated in a turbulent world.