The recent sunshine and warmer weather is coaxing all of us out of our winter shells, isn’t it? In the past week or so, I’ve seen more people outside, more people smiling, more people taking their time than I have in months. What a luscious time of the year. It’s as if, before the crocuses and snowdrops, hope is the first thing to grow.
Michael and I speak regularly about getting out of town and moving to the country. As odd as it seems, one of my major criterion is that wherever we move must have winter – not grey and rainy, but full snowy days, cold wind, and bright sunshine. I’m a small creature with very poor circulation – but the reason I love winter is because it makes spring feel so good. I will gladly put up with months of dead fingers and chilled bones for those two glorious weeks where everything comes alive again. The way my heart sings, the way everybody’s hearts sing, makes it all worthwhile.
At this time of the year, when it’s still cold but our animal bodies feel the hibernation quietly dissipating, there is something else that warms my heart. Planning the garden!
It begins with the ideas: a big brainstorm.
What will we grow this season? Michael prefers to say “What plants will we grow?”. I prefer thinking outside the crop box, adding “community” and “grass” and “happiness” to the list.
And then comes the plan. Michael brought out his big garden sketch book and went out into the garden for a long while. Vaguely to scale, he sketches out a detailed version of the backyard, including the places we’ll keep some grass, sectioning off areas for dedicated vegetables, noting where we have already planted.
The cherry tree in the left foreground will be getting a massive haircut in the coming weeks. Pruning a cherry tree: blog post to follow. The Manitoba Maples along the fence in the background will get a good hacking as well – but to decrease their productivity – the woody weeds they are.
Next, we pull out our seeds. Michael and I have both been saving seeds for years and when we coupled, we put together our seed collections; some saved from years of harvesting, some purchased, some swapped. It means that each year, however, we need to really go through the whole lot, deciding one carrot over another, Delicata Squash over Butternut, and so on. It’s a process and that’s why we start early. That, and we’re excitable.
The sandwich bag in the foreground is a small selection of the Calendula seeds we harvested last year. It’ll be great to see which of the varieties flourish. One of my favourite varieties of our last year’s garden was the Painted Calendula.
Ohh…the memories of summer.
It’s coming soon, my friends. Another winter melting away to fill our rivers and to give space for the beauty of springtime.