Off-season for a commercial gardener is typically filled with other extra-curricular activities unassociated with anything horticultural.  That includes city homesteaders and hobby-gardeners of ornamental beds.  If you’re an homesteader in a city that is zoned for backyard chickens and you are a vegetable grower, there’s no off-season. So ignore this; unless you need something amusing to read.  I’m in the city. So this list might disappoint. Here are 10 things I have filled my endlessly open schedule with this winter: (Ps. I’m home full time with my 3yrs old, so “open schedule” was meant purely in the context of horticulture):

  1. Hibernating.  But really – entimage_569456787583612ertaining said 3 yrs old. Its cold, we’re downtown so it stinks of pollution, and everything costs a fortune. Indoor botanical gardens have been a soul-saver.  And ridiculously inexpensive museums. 
    Over the holidays, it was the mall.  We’re there regularly, but the highlight of this year has been that she’s old enough to start skating. It was fun for a hot minute.  We lasted 20 minutes – all of which included watching the zamboni.  A clear indication that renting skates was cheaper than buying.  She probably won’t want to skate until next year, so, needless to say, I dodged a bullet…
  2. Let my mom turn my kid into a 1940’s deb.


    I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! This little salon date with granny was pretty epic for both.  Velcro rollers are the best innovation ever created hands down.
  3. Binge on late night Netflix. No comment.
  4. Binge on late night Youtube.  Equally as quiet as #3
  5. Absolutely ‘NOTHING’. And by ‘nothing’, I mean no sprouting, no garden plans, continuing education has been on hold, no seed starting. Not even reading. It’s been an interesting year. Interesting enough to teach a lifetime of ‘never-again’s’.  To be fair (because I have to be, otherwise there’s no hope for anyone), I’m a firm believer that when you face the unexpected, it’s not necessarily karma – the typical angry type we like to declare against those who cross us – but life teaching and challenging us to be stronger, sharper, wiser, unified, present.

6. Looking for daycare. Being three means you, as mom, are singularly NOT enough to entertain and teach your kid alone. She/he needs stimulation from other three year-olds, and to be completely immersed in the playworld of a preschool during daytime hours. Also: I’d like go back to work – Thanks!

7. Seedy Saturdays are on its way!! I am SO looking forward to trading seeds this year.  I didn’t get to put much in the ground last year, but the seeds are still viable.  I’m going to say 75% since these were from 2017. I’m looking forward to getting my hands absolutely disgusting in 2019!

8. Binging on Monty and Alan. I already said I would be binging on Netflix, but getting my green fix is a different category altogether.  If there ever was the icon of Horticulture and the kitchen gardener, it’s Monty Don and Alan Titchmarsh. I know Canada’s got its share of gardening gurus. But I’m a die-hard organics girl. I hate to be frank, but no one quite does gardening programs like the BBC.  Come to think of it, Nikki Jabbour is pretty amazing and only on Youtube. and Alys Fowler – another BBC icon… Christine’s garden… OK There are OTHERS besides Don and Alan. But the point is, I’m getting my green fix -either by hook or by crook.

9.  Playground Paradise.  Playground Paradise is an indoor jungle gym that is run by the City of Toronto, Parks and Recreation, and a total god-sent. Free admision has made this place my my go-to winter-proof entertainment locale for my 3yrs old, and we have gone on some of the worst days of this winter so far.  Check out the City of Toronto website for more information

10. Allan Gardens.  Allan Gardens is convieniently located down the street from the Loblaws (once formerly Maple Leaf Gardens), and equipped with an actively functioning dog park seconds from the exit.  We hit the glorious grocer for some hot coffee and indulgent provisions and head to gardens to see the koi and turtles then the dogs.  A productive afternoon is finished off with another pitstop at my choice of retailers [for whatever] then home for dinner. The downtown core can be truely fantastic when you want it to be. 

There you have it: The dullest winter.  I thought about adding my taxes to this list, but I didn’t want to depress any of you. I truely hope your post-holiday winter blahs have been a little more eventful than mine. Here’s to looking forward to my return to my gardens and back to urban homesteading-ish. (Still no chickens)

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