The turning of spring

As a year-round gardener, spring doesn’t hold the flurry of activity for me that it does for many gardeners, especially those in colder regions.  Winter is for big projects; spring is for routine planting and maintenance, summer is for taking breaks on the hammock and planning future endeavors with iced mint tea in one hand as you meander around the property, fall is for planting perennials, shrubs and trees and starting those sweaty projects you don’t want to do when it’s hot.

Spring in the Mid South is normally fickle, brief and stormy, but in late winter we almost always get some warm, sunny days in the 70’s that promise more than they deliver.  They are good for setting seedlings outdoors, as well as people.  This year, though, we’ve had no really warm days and more gray skies than sun.   The seedlings haven’t been outside even once.  Other than the garlic, which won’t be ready for a few months yet, my garden has two lonely cabbages left from the winter (but I always plant too much cabbage).  Sure, the peas, spinach, radishes, turnips and other early crops are sprouted, but they’ve been languishing waiting for some sun to give them energy to grow.

There comes a moment when you realize the season is about to turn for good.  Winter is on its way out.  The perennials are coming up, the trees are blooming, the squirrels are chasing each other and the birds are staking out prime nesting spots.  Sure, we’ll get a blackberry winter and some cold days here and there, but ultimately you can’t argue with axial tilt.

And I’m ready for it.  I never have liked cold weather.  In another 30 days, we’ll have heat and humidity to deal with instead of rain and cold.  And, probably, fresh radishes and peas and other tasty items.

(By Nicole Castle)

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