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Seasons Gleanings

Happy HolidaysDid you notice? The sun came up seconds earlier this morning. The winter solstice has passed. Though there’s plenty of cold weather left — the year’s coldest weather comes after the solstice — our hemisphere’s tilt back towards the sun means warmth and light are on the horizon. And more warmth and more light means… gardening!

Okay, those days are still months off. These are the days we go back through our gardening journals, we study seed catalogs, we make sure the living things in our homes — green and not — are well-taken care of. Still dealing with last minute holiday tasks? For your last minute shoppers, here’s a list of gift ideas that just might save your reputation as a thoughtful and generous person. It’s an oldie but a goodie… we especially like the last idea; a “promise” gift that involves an activity or helping out a friend or family member. Still looking for blooms on your Christmas cactus? Here’s helpful suggestions for all your Christmas-themed house plants including poinsettias and Norfolk pines.

But our biggest task this time of year is to acknowledge the gifts we’ve been given. It’s often difficult to match what we’ve received with equal gratitude. But then again, it’s not. Recognition is its own reward and this year, despite dark and discouraging events, we can easily call out those things which give us the greatest gift of all… hope.

Your humble and compassionate Planet Natural Blogger is grateful for all the help and advice he received this year, all of which will help his garden grow. We are inspired by the growing movement of community gardens, by the spread of farmers markets and organic-minded growers, by the availability of healthy and nutritious produce of the sort we can’t grow ourselves. There are little things that loom large: the bouquet of basil an indoor gardener raised under lights that will add an especially festive touch to our traditional holiday lasagna, the gifts of organic goat cheese, the seeds given to us by an heirloom gardener, seeds that he saved himself.

So here’s our hope, all bundled into one brightly wrapped package: that next year’s garden grows in your best soil ever, that your vegetables are abundant and untreated, that your fruits are unsprayed and unblemished, that your beneficials — whether microbes or insects — take care of the pests and deficiencies that impede healthy growth; that the lawns where your children play and your pets romp are safe for everyone. I hope that the continued love of organic gardening continues to grow and that its benefits to individuals and the environment at large multiply. And I hope this all gives you a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction, and, especially, peace. Most of all, I hope that my hope is yours.