This Time of Year

Oh how I dread this time of year.

It’s cold. So cold. I am a wimp. The days are growing shorter, and darker. My hands are like ice cubes almost all of the time. The days of fresh tomatoes and basil are coming to an end. Sweaters, warm socks, and months of dust are coming out from the back of the closet. My book manuscript, photos, and designs are due soon.

It’s getting cold enough at night now that most of my cold sensitive houseplants need to come back inside for the winter. This process takes time. Lots of time. It involves a lot of repotting, shifting, and rejigging my haphazard indoor growing situations (I can’t give these homemade contraptions a more formal description) to make room for my most beloved plants.

Now is the time when I am forced to make decisions about what stays and what simply can not be shoved into a window or underneath a light. Just how did I end up with 10 agave plants? I often wonder if the local cops have looked up at one of my south-facing windows and considered what goes on there. Surely no one would bother to put forth so much energy, time, and money into growing plants without a street value?

Davin jokes that I need a plantervention. Either that or more space and bigger windows.

One thing I do like about this time of year is taking the time to appreciate the great plants I am growing and seeing them in a new light after they’ve had months replenishing outdoors.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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6 thoughts on “This Time of Year

  1. Ciao Gayla-

    I just used a bunch of your Broadleaf Thyme in a big batch of shrimp jambalaya over the weekend and it was fantastic. I got 10 litres of it for the winter. However, apart from filling my pantry with gumbo and other Cajun things, what else can I use it for and even more importantly, would you be at all interested in cuttings to babysit over the winter? I confess to being a miserable failure with houseplants and I know they’d die between now and March when I start to gear up and start my seeds downstairs. Not only that, but with a pride of 5 cats now, I’d have to keep them downstairs so they wouldn’t eat them. I have both the solid light green and the variegated one you gave me at Mel’s plant exchange. They grew amazingly well and I was pretty shocked by how big the leaves got. I’m going to bring some leaves over to Munchkin’s former 3rd grade teacher this week. She’s from Barbados so I’m sure she’d like some.

    I’ll be pulling plants this weekend before it gets seriously cold. Right now, it’s more sad than really really cold. That’s not going to last and I’m with you, I do NOT like doing yardwork when it gets to the point of frozen fingers.

  2. I’m in North Carolina and we had a hot, dry summer. Now that the temperature has cooled a bit, my tomatoes plants have exploded with growth. I don’t think the fruit will mature, so there is going to be a lot of fried green tomatoes are in my future.

  3. I was mournfully digging up my favorite herbs, pepper plants and hibiscus to take inside today. :(. Its getting pretty cold at night and I want to try and keep some of them going this winter, I hope they don’t die on me.
    What are the chances that I could transplant and overwinter a tomato plant from my garden? Is the root system too extensive?

  4. Sorellina: Don’t worry about the Cuban Oregano. I still have both varieties. Next spring there will be lots more where that plant I gave you came from.

    I still don’t have other uses for it. It’s a strong, very distinct flavor so it primarily lends itself to Caribbean-type dishes.

  5. last year I resorted to giving away a lot of plants & cuttings & plastic pots away by advertising on the free section of craigslist, most everything was scooped up within in the hour, still have too much, but at least not WAY too much

  6. A few years ago my husband told me I was not allowed to have any more house plants. To be fair, they were starting to take over the house and I have got rid of a few since then, but this year he was also offering opionions on what I do not need to grow outdoors next year. Silly man. Whose garden does he think it is anyway? :)

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