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From Lallah’s Garden Time to plan for tomorrow

Today we plan for tomorrow with thankfulness.

I like to get up early, start the fire to warm the house, then I sit at the kitchen table with a hot cup, looking out the window for the first light. It is a new day with lots to do. I have my seed catalog and must get the order ready – also answer the mail before starting the daily chores.

I’ve had so many of you ask questions about how I am coping now that Richard is gone. I promised to answer to the best of my ability in this column.

Number one: I want to live! Attitude is so much of survival.

Numbers two, three and four: Good food, good exercise, and good thoughts.

Number five: Keep busy.

January is a beginning, a time to plan for the months ahead. Being a gardener, the planning is very important.

Gardening is a year-round project. Plant what you can care for. Keep notes – do not overplant. I like berries. Plan your berry patch so that you can have them to enjoy all season. I just saw green leaves on my Black Satin Blackberries.

I have kale started for months ahead. It withstands both heat and cold. There are lots of magnesium in those dark green leaves, it helps with the tired feeling and a fast heart beat.

Grandmother Stevens would say, “If you want to be strong, eat vegetables and fruit that have the strength to stand the cold and heat.” I still have her winter onions growing (from 1860). They give flavor to a stir-fry meal or salads year-round. One more thing about raw onions: These are Grandmother’s words, “They thin your blood and give you a long life.” Mama paid attention and ate raw onions twice a day when she could get them. She lived well into her 90s. Onions were about the only good things in her meals during her later years.

I read that there are over 30 kinds of sulfur. Sulfur fights germs, bacteria and virus. Garlic will do the same when used raw. We put garlic cloves in our juice each day.

I covered my winter garden with a frost blanket and put plastic over that before the snow came. The snow mashed the plants down, then stayed so long the plants smothered. When I finally uncovered them, I found celery and parsley still alive. I was feeling so bad over losing so many plants that I forgot to be joyful about the ones that survived.

When we don’t go forward, plan and rejoice over what we have, we go backward. Spending our time bemoaning what is gone. There is no need to dwell on yesterday. We have only today. We can use today to plan for tomorrow.

Mama would say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today.” Having a purpose will bring meaning to our lives. This life has a lot of good in it. Give yourself a chance. Look for that good.

A couple more things to share with you: 1) The sense of smell can bring joy in midwinter. Last spring I bought some alpine strawberries. They bloom all the time and produce tiny berries. When ripe, they fill a room with an unforgettably wonderful smell! I hunt and find the berries. They taste as good as they smell!

2) You can grow Jerusalem artichokes. They stay in the ground all winter, dig what you need to make a salad. I grind them with turnips and mix them with a dressing that is ½ mayonnaise and ½ yogurt (homemade). Most people like this. We sure do!

Whether it is January or May each day can bring us joy as we plan for the next new day.

Lallah Lee Ostergren has been an organic gardener for more than 35 years. If you have a question for her, send it in care of the Democrat at P.O. Box 119, Clinton AR 72031 or e-mail

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