I’ve always found it difficult to take the garden apart in the fall, remembering all the wonderful things that happened during the spring and summer, still tasting the fresh tomatoes, still agonizing over whether or not the cauliflower was really going to take, and enjoying the fruits and vegetables that are now stored on the shelves and in the freezer. It’s a difficult time at best, to take apart such a magnificent place.
On the other hand, late winter and early spring are filled with anticipation as my wife and I champ at the bit, knowing full well it’s almost too early to plant, not too early to start the little darlings inside or in the hot house. So, while the last stages of winter fall gently on unbroken ground, piling up in white drifts that will last at least another month, we plan and plan and plan.
“No, Johnny, I want the corn there,” as we plot out the garden for spring 2013. “That way it will help shade the tomatoes. Remember?” Of course I do, I whisper, she knowing full well I don’t. But, she’s right, one must have a plan before planting. The plan should indicate where old Sol’s arc will be across the sky, keeping veggies that need sun in the sun and those that don’t in the shade. And, a plan will make your watering and irrigation that much easier as well, along with harvest time. Maybe, this year you won’t have to fight off the cucumbers to get at the beans.
This period of time when it’s too early to plant, but planting time can almost be felt in the air, is the right time to make sure all the garden implements and “stuff” are ready. Shovels and hoes need to be cleaned and sharpened; tool handles need to be checked for burrs, splinters, and cracks; pots and vases need to be cleaned and filled with fresh soil; and let’s not forget getting that hot house ready for another season. Even with snow on the ground, if there’s plenty of sunshine during daylight hours, and a means of gentle heating at night, early planting is possible.
Spring, that glorious time of the year when rebirth is in the air, when snow drifts can be seen to retreat hourly, when visions of corn stalks dancing in the breeze and fresh tomatoes with basil and goat cheese are on the lunch menu, is just around the corner. I’m almost ready, just a few more things to do, like clean the bar-b-que and get the beer well iced.