We've had one half-hearted snowfall so far and a very mild beginning to winter. I took the garbage out in my bare feet the other day. I take my coat off on the bus because it's just too warm. We have definitely been given a break so far this winter. But today I got my first garden seed ad, and it just seemed a little too early to be thinking of it. I mean, I still have lettuce and kale in the ground from this year's garden! I can't start planning what to plant in the spring while I'm still eating from last year's crop.
Except I can. Ever since the ad arrived, I've been musing about what to grow next year... We're planning to be out of town quite a bit, so I have to plant things that won't need babysitting during the times I'm gone. Things that can be basically ignored until harvest. So I'll plant winter squash and cooking beans, carrots and potatoes, and the other early-to-ripen or late-to-ripen stuff, and I'll probably forego the tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and other things that demand attention mid-summer.
They're saying on the news today that the cost of food is going to skyrocket in the spring. In addition to planting the garden, I need to replenish the food storage we ate last year when my son's family was living with us. I get big #10 cans from the church cannery of oatmeal, flour, beans, sugar, powdered milk, dried apples, and dehydrated onions and carrots and potatoes. In the basement I already have home-bottled apples, grape juice, and tomatoes, though we're about out of peaches, and I didn't do any pears this year. There are jars of dried herbs. The freezer is full of vegetables from the garden, but we should probably stock up on meats. And of course there's the lovely bin of garlic fragrantly residing in the laundry room. Can't have too much garlic.
If I could just keep some laying hens...and turn the backyard pool into a tilapia pond...and plant a few more fruit trees and berry bushes... Well, I could basically provide everything we need except milk, olive oil, and salt. (Well, and chocolate!) And if I got an angora rabbit or two I could provide clothing as well.