Don’t panic, this isn’t going to be a story of dread, terror and frenzied destruction. Dawn broke this morning on to what I hope will be a perfect day as this day is special. It’s not any old day – it’s the first day of spring. The seasons have changed and this is the season of new life. It’s the season that gardening can begin in earnest. I love spring, but I only really get disproportionately excited about this first spring day, and this year it has blessed us by falling on a Saturday – So I shall be able to enlist workers – willing or otherwise. I’m sure Hubby the Un-Gardener couldn’t possibly have plans for the first sunny weekend in absolutely ages?!
Winter was gracious enough to provide us with the most incredible last day. It was warm and sunny and it hadn’t rained in ages and so the ground while still a little soft is miles away from the soggy boggy of months gone by. It provided a feeling of excitement like that last day of school before the holiday – everyone is buzzing – and in my gardening there was no exception – there were bees and bumble bees everywhere!
In preparation for the new season and to embrace the gorgeousness of the day I spent every minute I could in the patch, starting to get it ship shape. You might even go so far as to say I was “spring cleaning” my garden. I did so much and this morning my old bones are a little weary, but nothing will stop me from getting out there and doing stuff today.
The greenhouse is beginning to develop that lived in look. The first job I did was transplant all my peppers and chillies as they had grown a magnificent set of true leaves and were strong and tall, without the hint of a “window lean.” I hope they survived their first night in the greenhouse – it probably came as a bit of a shock, after all the pampering from the formative days of their lives! Then I did a wee count up to see who was missing and sowed extra seeds so that I end up with a full set of plants to go in the garden, a full set of backups should anything untoward happen and heaps of spares to give away.
Emerging from the potting shed I seemed to be drawn to the first bed I saw: the old carrot bed – I knew there were carrots in there among the weeds – I planted them well over six months ago and hadn’t eaten them. The haul wasn’t all that flash – they were there in the right numbers – but size… hmmm leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe I shall tell everyone they are those mini gourmet ones – only aged like a good wine! I also found some beetroot that should be harvested and processed, parsnips that have reached the point of parsnip perfection. The last of the turnips and a row of radish that I planted with the intention of making radish relish but never got round to it, had bolted and had flowers on tops of some very tall stalks. I decided to leave these in for the time being as they appeared to be bee magnets and I want all the bees to know this is “the” place to be this summer. So we shall call it a floral taste of things to come; although not a sign my garden will be a weedy overgrown mess as this year I have full intentions of keeping on top of the weedy interloper invasion and I shall keep on top of the harvest!
Then I looked across at the potato bed. The spuds have been chitting for ages and their bed was weeded and dug over weeks ago. I even took the effort to calculate back 100 days from Christmas so we will have fresh Jersey Benne potatoes on our festive table. So with 15 days to go before I’m going to plant the spuds, I was a bit mortified to see that the bed had developed a green fuzz, which on close inspection revealed a load of weeds that are too small to just grab by the leaves and yank, and too numerous to even be bothered to try and remove them one by one. So over the next two weeks I have to just keep turning over the soil until they all give up and die – well that’s the plan.
As much as it pained me to remove my beloved kale from the garden – it was looking so sad and had started to bolt so there was nothing else I could do. So I removed it and gave it to the goats, who couldn’t get enough. I made sure they didn’t see where I had come from so they couldn’t plan an escape plan to see if there was anymore. Pulling out the kale revealed two of the fattest fennel bulbs I have ever grown but had forgotten that I had planted. I can’t wait to eat one in a crisp salad and other slow roasted… mmmm….
So slowly but surely there is the stirrings of change as the garden transforms itself from its winter slumber to a hive of frenzied activity.
Come again soon – spring has sprung!
Sarah the Gardener : o )