Winter (Gardening) Solstice 2008


The winter solstice happens in our northern hemisphere at the exact moment when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its most southern point of the year. This year it is tomorrow morning at 4:02 am PST. This is when the sun will be at its greatest distance from the equator to our south, providing us with the year’s longest nights and shortest days. Many religions, cultures and traditions provide for winter solstice rituals and we gardeners are no different….

For us the winter solstice means it is time to begin the important seed catalog ritual. Now I know most seed catalogs don’t actually arrive until January or February, but the solstice seed catalog ritual is never-the-less very important to gardeners. What happens is that the solstice awakens us to the hopeful reality that the days will soon start to become noticeably longer, and eventually warmer. It does not matter that realistically we still have months to plan for next year’s gardens or that we will not see the 2009 seed catalogs for a month or more. The ritual is still unavoidable.

The first part of the ritual involves wondering why the seed companies don’t send out their catalogs sooner than they do. This sometimes involves looking on-line in a futile attempt to see if next year’s seeds are already available on company websites. Even though some of my favorite seed companies do now send out a catalog in late December, there is little or no on-line information describing 2009’s seed selection at this time. Even if there was, the reality is that the only successful seed buying experience, (one that guarantees a high germination rate and beautiful, pest and disease free flowers and vegetables), requires a paper catalog, a favorite beverage, and a large, comfortable easy chair.

As happens every year, I will just have to be patient as the ritual plays itself out!  Eventually the catalogs will arrive, the days will get longer and warmer, and next summer all the gardeners of the northern hemisphere who faithfully follow this ritual will once again have a garden full of perfect vegetables and flowers.

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Will Sig
1 Rob

Hi Will,
It looks as though our seed companies are keener to take our money from us than yours are of you! But, there are no problems only challenges and opportunities!
…………Start your own seed catalogue with seed ordering in the autumn providing a better service for grateful gardeners!

Robs last blog facts for Christmas


2 Anna

Hey Will I guess I still have to learn a lot about gardening, lol. My goal in the future is that I will have one big garden, but for now I have to grow Matthew, lol. Thanks for sharing this post with us, everyday I learn something new. Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..Letter to Santa Claus at the Northpole


3 bob

Solstice here means the Sun doesn’t get above the treetops even at high noon, probably why the -39c temps, -52c with the wind, ouch.

bobs last blog post..Winter Solstice Sunrise and Sunsets


4 Will

Hey Anna – Having a garden when you are growing Matthew is actually very important. Not only will you have control over the purity and freshness of the food you grow, Matthew will have a great time in the dirt!

Ouch is right, Bob! I need to remember to not complain about our weather here when you north of the border friends are listening!


5 Anna

…you are so right Will, I still remember how my sister was taking a bath with potatos, she was only 1 year old, lol…..

Annas last blog post..Letter to Santa Claus at the Northpole


6 Atniz

The place I’m living here got no winter. So, I don’t really understand the concept of winter gardening.


7 karen

Hello Will,
Chanced upon your website looking for ideas on a winter garden (veg). I have just moved to France and having lived hotter climes thus far have no idea of what will grow at this time of year. I have ploughed an area and would like to plant something now- am I too late for anything? Karen


8 Will

Hi Karen – I suppose France has different climate zones like anywhere else and it will depend on where you are. We have a definite winter here with a little snow and high temps ranging from 40 to 60 degreesF. Our low temps are normally from 30 to 40 with many nights in the 20’s and a few in the teens. I still can grow fall lettuce, and kale. I use floating row covers to protect them so the lettuce usually lasts until about Christmas. The kale will be good all winter. I also plant onions and garlic now and they overwinter and are ready in the spring. About a month ago I planted peas and they look like they might have a crop before winter really sets in. I would ask the locals there what you can do this late in the year.


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