Thursday, March 14, 2013

Go for launch!

Last week, on an unassuming and snowy afternoon, a small miracle occurred.  The 2013 garden was born.  The annual rite of spring happened as it always does...... quietly.  Every year in early March, the first seeds are sown and the renewal begins.  It starts slowly with only a few varieties being planted at first.  Things like leeks, celeriac, and heliotrope are always the first to start the trip but virtually every week from now until early May something will require sowing.  By the end of it, it will be all-consuming, gobbling up all of my free time and dominating my thoughts.  Slowly, the amount of sowing will give way to transplanting, growing and maintaining the seedlings.

With the amount of plants that we start here (~5000 cells) it is important to stay organized and on schedule.  Good record keeping helps.  If you start your own seeds you know that crop timing is important.  Not all plants grow at the same rate.  You do not want to sow too early so it's important to know your crop and follow the advice given on the seed packet.  Obviously, you want your plants ready to plant when the time is right.  Around here the first or second week of June is the target and most things can be planted out safely then.  That may sound late to some of you but this is gardening in the North and frost in early June is not at all uncommon.  With some crop times stretching to 12 to 13 weeks, starting in early March is just about right. 

Onion 'Jaune Paille Des Vertus'

One thing about gardeners: They're always looking to the future.  It has been said before but it bears repeating here that being a gardener means you are an eternal optimist.  Every year presents new challenges and thankfully, triumphs! It seems that everything we do is an investment in the future with hopes of an eventual payoff that will make it all worth while.  The payoff usually does not disappoint.  The food and a year's worth of therapy is started by the simple act of planting some seeds in a pot and watering them.  It is somewhat magical this personal harbinger of spring.  When the lights go on and the room is filled with the aroma of damp planting medium, it fills my soul with anticipation of what is to come.  My lazy days of winter leisure are numbered, but that's okay.

It's odd to think about vegetable gardening when there are still 18+ inches of snow on the ground with more forecast for later in the week, but it is also exciting.  Sowing seed is the signal that change is coming.  The snow will eventually melt and the sun will warm the soil. The grays and whites of winter will soon become the greens of spring.  The countdown has begun.  It is only a matter of time and when the time is right, we will be ready. 
"Houston to Sillydoggarden:   ......You are go for launch!"

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