Winter Garden Dreaming -- It's Not Too Early

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Daffodil alert! Well, daffodil foliage anyway, has managed to pry open the frozen soil and point up a green middle finger at the last of the winter.

And not a day too soon -- has there been as unrelenting a winter as the long freeze of '10? Only garden catalogs made February bearable. Time to plan the urban vegetable Square Foot Garden.

Johnny's Selected Seeds has fascinating heirloom varieties that are so tempting. Costata Romano zucchini -- the catalog says it has a nutty taste and is good for eating raw. The zukes are ribbed and sage-gray color, and the bushes yield half as much as contemporary varieties -- better tasting zucchini and less of them is just what the garden needs.

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Last year's vertically grown winter squash choice (pictured at right) was whatever the garden store stocked, and it was fine. This year, though, the Cha Cha kabocha squash has too irresistible a name, so it's under consideration.

Gardens of Babylon in Farmers Market carries the organically produced Seeds of Change. We picked out a Plum Purple radish for early sowing and an heirloom pumpkin for growing vertically. Babylon's shelves are stocked with onion, garlic and potato, as well as rhubarb, strawberry plants and asparagus crowns.

Matt, the all-around guy at Gardens of Babylon, says the trickle of customers will be picking up volume soon. "Anytime the temperature hits 45 or above," people start thinking about being outside.

What garden dreams are underneath the fertile soil of your imagination?

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