I keep thinking I’ll finish the winter sowing and post about that, but no. This weekend I was gone; Monday we were talking finances; Tuesday I was on a crying jag (hormones + bad news = weepy me) and then calling my parents and my best friend to get a grip because Eric was out; yesterday we talked about Eric’s prospective placement (no money, but would allow him to finish school on time, so yay) and played World of Warcraft together. And tonight is the Joshua Bell concert, so it’s unlikely I’ll get to it tonight either.

Instead, let’s talk about The Growing Challenge. I was pointed that way by Meg and someone else I found while randomly skating the surface of the gardenblogsphere (ahem). I’m not sure whether it’s cheating to consider my expanded growing list a challenge after the fact, so I added another rule, which is: save more kinds of seed this year than last year. And more specifically: try hand-pollinating, which scares me. I’m growing two kinds of cucumbers, so I can see next year (well…in two or three, more likely, if we move next year) whether I succeeded or not.

(Here’s hoping I stick to this better than Green Thumb Sunday…the problem with that was my tiny space allowance on this account for pictures and how quickly I noticed it dwindling.)

This is what I’m growing this year (or trying to) that I didn’t last year:

Brussels sprouts
Fava beans

*I planted these last year, but I can’t say I grew them. In the spring the broccoli plants grew and grew and never produced actual broccoli, and I pulled them up so that I could plant other things. In the fall the cauliflower got choked out by the monster zucchini and the broccoli didn’t get very big before winter hit.

Admittedly, it’s easier for me to do such a challenge since I haven’t grown very much at all yet. In later years I can see this challenge getting harder, and consequently more fun. I do foresee this as a way of finding more good garden blogs, and I’ll enjoy that–it’s nice to see what other people are doing and thinking and trying, and the stories are almost always good. It’s an interesting combination, the occupation of gardening with its solitude and isolation and the follow-up occupation of blogging with its community and cross-pollination.

(Incidentally, I got an e-mail yesterday from a mail-order nursery asking if I would publish an “article” of theirs–an advertisement–on my blog for $75. I’m going to decline, of course, but I was flattered to get such an offer. Eric’s first response–as it always is when I mention anything about this blog–was “But nobody reads it!” and while I was getting over the urge to smack him he followed up with, “Well, I guess somebody must or she’d never have found it.” It does make me wonder whether this company knows to give a different “article” to each blogger who accepts, since we read each others’. Also, whether they would offer more money to big-name bloggers.)