Garden Planning

Every year there's the wondering: do we start the garden NOW or do we wait? Spring is a bit wavy. You'll be in the throes of winter and suddenly, POOF! The sun is out, it's 80* and you're sweating just taking out the trash. But always - and I mean ALWAYS - a strange cold spell comes through, usually right before Easter. If you decided to plant your garden early, well, you probably just lost half your harvest. There's no rhyme nor reason to it except this: every single year, when you feel like it's time to plant the garden, wait at least one more week.

There's an Old Wives' Take where I'm from that says you should wait until on or after Good Friday to plant your garden. My Mother held to firm to it and so did my grandmother. And, if I'm honest, so have I. I've planted a few things before Good Friday but they never do well and we're usually, as mentioned above, always due a last cold snap just before Easter. 

This year, I decided to start everything by seed. So far, that has been, well, a bit of a disaster.

Back in February I started so many seeds! Tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers. I was so excited when those first bits of green popped up several days later. Most of them were bright little sprigs within a few weeks. Some, however, failed to ever break the surface. They were doing well and I thought I'd help them along by warming them up in a window. And they did great! Then, I decided to repot them to give them some more room. Every single one of them died. My guess is I disturbed the roots too soon and they all just withered and gave up the ghost. Also, our house is just too cold to keep some seedlings alive and to sprout others.


The light at the end of this dead seedling tunnel is that I now have a greenhouse that I hope (fingers crossed) will let my NEW seedlings flourish until they are big enough and strong enough to go into the ground. And, as you can see in the photo above, I'm not entirely without plants. This is our herb bed that we created three years ago. We filled it with nothing but cow manure and the herbs and been AMAZING! Funny since a lot of your herbs don't like rich soil but these babies are so happy! They were green through the winter and the mugwort is coming back bigger and bushier than it ever looked last year.

All in all, garden planning is a lesson in patience and frustration. It teaches us how to pay attention to things we take for granted: temperature, light, subtle shifts in the way leaves grow on tiny, thread like stalks. We learn that we can smother some things and neglect others. We learn that what is right for one plant is the wrong thing for another. Sounds a lot like people, doesn't it? There's no one size fits all for anyone, I don't care what the tag on the garment says. 

Right now, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I'm going to slip off my socks and dig my toes into the dirt. I'm going to shuck off the political garbage that's been rolling through my feed this morning and through my head and dig in the dirt, plant some seedlings and plan my vegetable gardens. There are wildflowers to plant and blueberries to baby. When I'm out in the sun, everything feels better. I'm encouraged by the dark soil and the tiny seeds I bury. I'm enlightened by the honey bees and the squirrel chatter. The answers to the riddles of the universe are out there, burrowing down deep alongside the earthworm.

I just have to be willing to wait and watch and learn.



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