Getting Dirty

Regular readers will be relieved to hear that this post has absolutely nothing to do with my bathroom.

Today, I got out in the garden for a bit. Can I just tell you how refreshing, energizing, and absolutely invigorating that was? It was just about 15 minutes, nothing too crazy, but even that was enough to completely lift my spirits out of these winter doldrums in which they’ve been miserably wallowing of late.

In the northern hemisphere, March is the beginning of spring, and where I live, it’s a desperately needed reprieve.  It feels like you’re coming out of hibernation, or worse- escaping from a prison of cold, damp, dark, and gloom that started at the beginning of December and lingered on forEVer. Even yet tomorrow, we might get another inch of snow, along with an inch or more of rain. But the temperatures are climbing a tiny bit more with every lengthening day, and dipping a tad less each night. There’s hope on the horizon!

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Two years ago, I ambitiously had DH help me install a raised bed garden in our backyard. We edged it with concrete blocks and filled it with good garden soil from his dad’s farm. It was a nice arrangement, but I let it go last year, growing only two very sad looking tomato plants, two surprise pepper plants that had managed to reseed themselves from the previous season, and a giant bed full of weeds that were taller than myself.  I’m sure the weeds will manage to reseed themselves this year, since they do that handily when you pull them – and I didn’t pull any.  What was I thinking?!

I seem to do a lot of these ambitious things, and not just in the garden. Whether it’s crafty stuff, or home projects, or activities with the kids, I start off big, bite off a giant bite, choke on it, and then lose interest in the whole thing because it’s just too much work. This is my modus operandi, every time.  But this year, I am on a diet of sorts. I’m going to just nibble, instead of chomping.

There are no end of websites (and books, of which I own shelf-fulls) devoted to home gardening.  I’ve been scouring them all, anticipating the season, and today came across a little nugget from a survival-gardener.  She recommends planting something every day, starting with the earliest days of spring and continuing on through summer, until the first crops are ready to harvest.  At that point, she says to switch gears, and to harvest and put something up for winter every day until there’s nothing left to pick or pull.  I think this is marvelous advice.

Last year, part of the reason I didn’t plant much was because there never seemed to be a good day to prepare the garden beds.  In my mind’s eye, this was a giant hurdle to jump over before I could do anything else.  As a result, I spent one afternoon turning over one half of the garden (which is where the tomatoes and pepper plants struggled), never finishing preparing the other half, and consequently, never planting the boxful of seeds I had ordered.

This year, there will be no gargantuan Preparing the Garden Day before setting anything out.  With everything that’s going on here, such a Day will never happen, which means that neither will the garden, if I wait for the beds to be ready.  Instead, I am simply planting something every day, as time and weather permit.  Likewise, there won’t be any moaning and gnashing of teeth if I skip a day here or there.  Tomorrow, for example, is supposed to be completely horrid with thunderstorms and downpours.  It’s probably not the best day to plant something, seeing as it would probably just wash away.  But, that can’t be helped.   I can at least take stock of my seed stash, or launder my filthy gardening gloves, or sketch out the flower beds, or whatnot.  Baby steps.

Til then, it sure was nice to get outside and into the dirt today.  I like looking out the backyard and seeing my muddy boots next to the rake and shovel.  Even my sore arms feel sore in a really good way.
And speaking of planting something every day: if all goes according to plan, we’ll see some leeks and peas in one little corner of the garden very soon.

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