We started the New Year with mild weather, then it switched back to some below zero nights. As I write this, it's back up to 53 degrees, but it will be dropping to more minus zero in another 48 hours. Long stretches of below zero temperatures were the norm in Wisconsin just a few years ago, but now super-cold is infrequent. I have to say that I don't miss the negative numbers.
A bigger problem than warming in the whole upper Midwest is lack of precipitation. With only one serious snowfall so far, we are way behind what is normal. We had drought conditions for much of last year and the threat of too little rain is out there, again.
Gardeners have to be optimistic, however, so I'm planning my garden and what I'm going to grow this coming year. I've set up my indoor lights and I'll be starting some salad greens, shortly. I'll follow them up with my seedling starts. The catalogs are showing up and those always encourage forward thinking. I'll take inventory of what seeds I have and decide what I'll need to buy. By February, I'll be outside pruning the fruit trees and raspberries, cutting back what's left of last year's asparagus fronds, and launching the 2013 garden.
Last year's garden was exceptional in the amount and variety of food we grew and harvested. I hope I can come close to repeating our success. Growing food has been my nearly life long hobby, and the value of growing your own food can't be under estimated. The variety of food available to the home gardener is extensive and the quality is nearly always superior to what can be purchased from mainstream sources.
Home gardeners and small scale growers make a positive impact on reducing environmental damage associated with industrial agriculture and there is an argument that if enough people gardened using intensive organic techniques, there could be a positive effect on climate change. In any case, it's hard to argue with the quality of the food that growing-your-own delivers. So get growing!
The winner of a $50 gift certificate for our newsletter sign-up at the Porter County Master Gardeners Show in Valparaiso, Indiana was Sue Christman. Congratulations!
We'd like to remind all our readers that we love to grow our own food and to help others do the same. We post articles about food growing and cooking with home grown food on our website blog, and we almost always have a discussion or several going on about food and growing on our Facebook page. You can help us spread the word by forwarding this newsletter to a friend and if you have any gardening questions, drop us a note. If we can't help you we'll find someone who can.
Thanks for reading our newsletter.
Noel and the CobraHead Team