By Phyllis Galowitz

It’s that time of the year. Catalogues are in the mailbox every day and although I keep saying I’m not going to plant anything, that I’m cutting back on gardening, how can I resist, when these marketing specialists assure me of “60 lbs. of tomatoes from a single plant, foot long cucumbers that hang straight as an arrow and are vigorous as well as burpless!” They promise that I’ll be a “gardening wizard overnight” without digging or weeding. They even promise me tomatoes grown above ground while potatoes grow on the same plant below ground and strawberries that produce four seasons of the year and jumbo strawberries as big as peaches. How about five fruits on one tree? How about an easy-to-grow kiwi vine that flowers in the spring and bears “clusters of delicious, ripe fruit by the end of summer”? I’m hooked… but where will I plant them all? Where will I get the energy to care for them? Where will I find the sunny spot to nourish them, now that the river birches have grown so big?

Trees are wonderful. They grow without care. They afford shade on a hot, summer day in the house and outside when they’re in full leaf, while allowing the sun to warm the house when the leaves have fallen. They are nature’s own energy savers.

Just writing this column brings me back to my senses (and I hope you to yours). I will not plant more than I can care for… well… not more than a few tomato plants and one or two cucumbers and, of course, lettuce that seems to like the shade and maybe some impatiens under the canopy of those river birches. That’s all!

Amy, John and Ian gave me a small greenhouse for my birthday last summer. Maybe I can start some pepper plants in it by the end of March, and I’ll have a wonderful salad garden. ~

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