Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring hopes eternal

Two days ago, the snowdrops were blooming. My garden was mostly bare, muddy, half-frozen ground.

Today, my gardens looked like this:

Happy spring. (Grumble)

This time of year, I need something to look forward to so  I go out for pancakes and syrup, because sap boiling is a sign that spring isn't here yet, but it's getting close, and sugar shacks give me something to look forward to in what would be a month of mud and slush and fresh snow that nobody but skiers wants.
I need some brightness, so I buy bunches of daffodils every time I go to the store and cut branches of forsythia to force for our Easter tree.

I need to act like spring is coming, so I buy seeds anywhere I see them (and I never remember what I've bought so I always have way too much lettuce and peas and none of something else.) I never start seeds because I don't have a good place to do it, but last year I read about winter sowing in milk jugs. Today, in honor of spring, I started my garden.
 I gathered the seed starter and the seeds and the saved milk jugs from the barn. Then I schlepped through the snow to the compost pile out back. Even as I grumbled about the snow, I noticed that the sun had come out and the air had a hint of softness to it. The snow was still a solid covering, but underfoot it was yielding. You slid ever so slightly in it instead of crunching. And, I had to admit, it was pretty, clean and sparkly instead of dingy and dull.

I dug into the compost pile, clearing away a layer of snow and a layer of leaves. Underneath, instead of frozen ground, the new soil was warm and rich and fragrant. I scooped two small buckets full and added them to my pile of supplies in the kitchen. 

I prepped the milk jugs by cutting them most of the way around and stabbing drain holes in the bottom. Kathleen helped me fill them and plant the seeds. I labeled them as we went along. We spritzed them with water, and I sealed them up with tape.

Then we put on boots and brought our mini greenhouses out to the sunny side of the house.

Now we wait—and hope. I didn't plant all the seeds. I'll stagger my plantings and use some to direct sow in the garden, whether or not our little winter (or spring) sowing experiment works.

We finished just in time to get Elizabeth up for her nap. We all took a walk around the block with hats but no mittens, boots but no snowpants. We ran into neighbors and stopped to say "Happy spring" and Kathleen and Elizabeth and their friend from around the corner ran in circles and giggled and shrieked. It was bright and almost warm and we stayed outside until we should have been done eating dinner.

Spring is coming. Today, even with a covering of fresh snow, I felt it.


  1. I can't help but not the garden contrast between Henry's garden and Liam's:

  2. I love the way you insist upon spring and celebrate it, even in the face of ridiculous snow. I hope Spring manifests itself in sunshine and green and growing things soon.

    I've been buying seeds myself. I think Dot and I will do some container gardening this year - cucumbers, carrots, peppers, and beans. Also flowers, because I need them.

    1. Flowers are necessary, aren't they? I'd throw a few herbs in your containers too—mix and match the flowers and veggies and herbs.

      My snowdrops are no longer covered with snow, so something's blooming : )