WESTSIDE GARDEN CENTER: OFFICIALLY OPEN FOR THE SEASON
Spring is coming: it’s time to get dirty. By the time this article reaches you the westside Olympia Food Co-op’s garden center will already be open for the season and ready to help with your gardening needs. We’ve got big plans for this season. More plants, garden tools, seeds, books, regionally sourced soils, compost, fertilizer, animal supplies, cover crops, food preservation and canning tools and mercantile goods. An expanded classes, workshops and events program are in our future as well. Don’t be fooled by the name, we carry lots of non gardening goods as well.
We’re doing our best to utilize every square inch of space in the garden center. We received a lot of great suggestions from the membership last season and are busily working to source all the items you love and desire.For those of you on the eastside of town who just can’t make the trek west, check out the ever evolving and growing eastside garden department. Christine and Zoe have some very exciting things in store for 2015.
It’s time to shake off the cold, kick off those semi clean work shoes and slip on those dusty ole work boots, crack open the rusty door of the potting shed and start planning this year’s garden. It’s an age-old ritual many of us engage in year after year. It involves a lot of sorting through old seed packets in search of expiration dates and quizzically examining old jars of seeds we gathered and promised ourselves we’d label but didn’t. To be a gardener is a constant exercise in forgiveness. Gardening is a beautiful act that keeps us engaged with the most intimate transitions in the season. The ebbs and flows of the cold winds, the heat spells, the aphid blooms and the mold spores. You win some you lose some, but one thing we never are is bored.
Just like our gardens we, too, experience the ebbs and flows of the season. We start out so excited about all the possibilities. We work hard. We build structures and experiment with new crops and techniques. We sacrifice trips with friends and family. When everyone else is out eating ice cream and exploring the Sound we’re happily, and sometimes begrudgingly, harvesting or weeding our little patches of paradise.
But come October most of us are ready for our gardens to stop giving so we can take a long needed break from all the toiling, weeding, harvesting, processing and putting up we’ve been doing since April. After five to seven months, we’re tired of taking care of our little plant babies and are anxiously awaiting a moment or two to read a book or go on a weekend excursion without feeling guilty about leaving our gardens. We realize we miss our friends and eating ice cream.
So, we take that break we’ve been long awaiting and it feels great. It actually feels amazing. We don’t care that our gardens are mostly dead and slightly hard to look at. We instead chose to spend time with friends, reacquaint ourselves with lost hobbies and sleep in on the weekends. We plow through all the raspberry jam, strange experimental canning concoctions, frozen veggies and fruit, dehydrated herbs and fermented pickles. We wax poetic on the long warm sunny days. We eat and eat and eat and feel so proud of ourselves for all our hard work. We’re gardeners after all. This is who we are and what we do.
Then something strange starts to happen. A rumble in our hearts reminds us that while this is all good there’s something missing. All those months of rain and cold have taken a toll and we’re starting to feel antsy. We miss being outside. Then the seed catalogs start to appear in our mailboxes. One by one we start to flip through their colorful pages. We start to see potential in every yard we pass on our daily walks.
We notice that weeks of unpredictable weather patterns have trees and plants budding out early. It’s only January yet the desire to start planning is firmly imbedded in our psyches. It’s time friends. Like planning a vacation to the Balkans or some far away island, gardening often requires a few months head start to prepare. The time is here…
Now go put on your warm wares, pack up your thermos and head over to your local westside Olympia Food Co-op garden center for a little inspiration. We’ll be open 10 – 6 pm seven days a week and will be awaiting your arrival.
We offer more than just a place to buy really cool stuff. We offer a place for members of our community to work and volunteer and share their love and passion of all things gardening. If we don’t know the answer to your questions on the spot we’ll research the answers and call you back – within reason of course.
By Kim Langston, staff member & garden center manager