Gardening for Mental Health

A quick post today to share this link that has been circulating on Facebook: Why Gardening Makes You Happy. This is fitting for the season, and explains a lot. Check it out!
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Big Plans

This pretty bunch of spinach came from a hoop-house at JenEhr family farm in Sun Prairie, proving that without a doubt spring really is here. Thank heavens! It' been a long winter, and like every winter, toward the end it was hard to believe that spring really would come.

February and March is usually the time when I most want to get out of Wisconsin and visit somewhere warm, preferably tropical. Winter just seems to go on forever.... this year however, I was glad to be home, and these two months were more exciting than ever before. I spent a fair amount of time at the Wisconsin state capitol. Protesting took precedence over cooking, and it was totally worth it. I've never been one for much political involvement beyond voting every so often, but the state of things in the state I love is just too pressing for me not to get involved. I'm sure there will be more organizing and recalling and get out the vote efforts in my future, but for now I'm able to take a step back and realize that winter is slowly loosing it's grip and spring is on the rise!

As of just a few days ago, the snow is finally gone, and I'm beginning to think about what I'm going to plant and where.

My biggest and most ambitious gardening project this year is the wedding. I am going to grow as much of the food for the reception as I can. As long as their are enough piglets born this spring, we'll get a pig to roast from our meat CSA, The Rustic Table. I'll grow dry beans for baked beans; cabbage, carrots, and onions for coleslaw; collards; flour corn for corn bread; yellow finn potatoes and garlic; and winter luxury pumpkins for the cake. We have a master BBQer lined up to cook it all. I'll give more detail in future posts.... it is going to be awesome!

I'm also growing the flowers for the wedding: I'm planning for aster, bronze fennel, lacinato kale, red Russian kale, elephant head amaranth, globe amaranth, bells of Ireland, Chinese lantern, love-in-a-mist, marigold, statice, strawflower, sunflowers (two types), and zinnias.

This seems like a huge project. We're expecting 80 or more people. The fact that I'll be able to buy things if they don't succeed in my garden is comforting. It should be fun!

Beyond the wedding stuff, I am planning to grow basil, broccoli, Brussel's sprouts, cauliflower, cilantro, cucumbers. Siberian kale, summer crisp lettuce, haogen melon, parsley, shelling peas, snap peas, Italian fryer peppers, red potatoes, salad mix, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes (4 types).

I started digging the strawberry bed yesterday... how good to get my hands back in the dirt! I also have some seeds started in the basement: broccoli, cauliflower, yellow onions, tomatoes, peppers, (actually my Mom has the tomato and pepper starts in her 4th grade classroom) asters, bells of Ireland, Chinese lantern, strawflower, and statice. For the first year ever, I am so organized as to have a spreadsheet started with all my planting dates, expected harvest dates, and other pertinent info. Dorky, yes, but kinda fun.

I found the rhubarb poking it's head above ground yesterday to see if it's safe to start growing. Another year is beginning!

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