April 03, 2007

Rise and Shine!

I have tried not to get too caught up in the 60-degree sunny days we've been having. But I'm not the only one at risk of getting ahead of myself - the trees and lilacs and grass and bulbs have all been going crazy. Explosions of green, pregnant buds. Ironically, this beautiful Spring weather is quite tragic: I can't remember the last time we DIDN'T have a devastating late freeze. [I keep reminding myself that there was a foot of snow on the ground when I came home for Doug's funeral last April.] The more progress things make now, the harder it will be for them to recover from a hard freeze. Sure enough, I awoke this morning to patches of white. I assumed it was just frost but my glasses revealed that it was actually snow.

Luckily, the warm days inspired me to start planning my garden. I hemmed and hawed about where to put my garden. With so many projects planned for the near future, I thought it wise to attempt to keep out of the 'path of destruction'. I finally decided to put it about where Grandma used to have her garden, in a nook between the shed and the pond trees. I can see it from the kitchen window and have spent a few afternoons working on clearing the view on down to the pond. Dad tilled the grass under for me last weekend. It is bigger than I had imagined, which will likely lead to an overly-ambitious garden. But George and Karen won't have a garden this year, so I can justify a large garden somewhat as it will be feeding two households (even though that is really only 4 people).

I ordered seeds from the nonprofit Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa - they collect, propogate, and preserve heirloom and rare seeds. The best part about buying seeds from them is that they tell you the story behind each variety: how this cucumber was brought over from Germany in 1821 and passed down through generations of the family or how this tomato was thought to be extinct and then was found growing in a crack in the sidewalk in Philadelphia or that General so-and-so grew this lettuce and his great-granddaughter gave the seed to the Seed Exchange.

I raided my Master Gardener mother's supplies yesterday and set up some grow lights in my kitchen. I tucked in six varieties of tomatoes, two peppers, fennel, rosemary, and broccoli to start. The buzz of the florescent grow lights is a constant reminder of the stirrings under the soil - I imagine the little seeds slowing coming awake from their long nap, with a yawn and a stretch. Rise and shine! It's time to wake up! Time to get going.