New Year, New Garden

For the last week my social media feed has been filled with friends' New Year's resolutions, jump-start diet plans, and tips on finally getting organized. But I can't seem to focus on any of that because it has arrived. The first seed catalog for 2016 has arrived in my mailbox, and I can't put it down.

Territorial Seed Company catalog

Territorial Seed Company catalog

I've been poring over all of last year's notes. Did we start enough pepper seeds? Did we use up the last of our home-canned peaches? I've also been drawing design layouts. More rows for tomatoes? Where can I sneak in a few more herbs? But mostly, I've been thinking about how much I love the whole process, and the closeness it brings to my family. My kids are great helpers, and it brings me so much joy to see them take an interest in where our food really comes from. My sweet little Rachael, 3 years old at the time, planted 186 onions by herself last year!

Rachael drying fresh onions

Rachael drying fresh onions

Ellie and Martin have both been spotted eating peas and tomatoes straight off the plants more than once. All of the kids help pull weeds, pick vegetables, and haul buckets of scraps over to the compost pile. It makes my heart sing. But what really makes me happy is getting to start another garden with my husband. He and I struggle to work together at times -- I tend to plan things to death, whereas he just jumps in and gets things done. In other words, I'm a procrastinator and he does everything wrong because it isn't my way. The poor guy rarely catches a break. But when it comes to the garden, we're always perfectly in sync. I start planning the second the catalog arrives. For two whole months I draw, label, order, sort, and analyze every little detail -- on paper. And then, when that first week of February comes around, he jumps into action. In just one day, our seed starting trays are all filled, planted, labeled, watered, and on temperature controlled heat mats with lights hanging precisely over the top. Without him, this garden of ours would likely never get off paper and into the ground. But with his help, things just get done. And we grow a lot. We grow nutritious food for our family. We grow hundreds of plants for our community. We grow our marriage. 

Katy Penwell

of Milk and Honey, Lynnwood, WA 98087, USA