Monday, March 8, 2010

Hope for Spring

Looking at the snowy back yard the beginning of March, it's hard to imagine that in a few months we will be tending gardens here in NW Wisconsin. In fact, right now is when I like to drag out all the seed catalogs that have arrived since the first of the year and look at the beautiful photos of perfect tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and carrots.

I'll soon be starting seeds indoors, although why I put myself through this, I'm not certain. I guess it's just because there's something so encouraging about seeing green life after a long winter, and not just the 'science experiments' that are lurking at the back of my refrigerator! Even the skinniest, most pathetic-looking sprouts from seeds I've planted are met with close and frequent examination, a sigh of relief, and hearty applause.

This year I'm starting tomatoes and peppers indoors. I'm getting them started a little later because we're going to be gone to visit Angela and Gus in Texas. Asking Joe to take care of the dogs while we're gone is one thing...asking him to water my garden seeds is quite beyond the scope.The flowers I tried to start last year, impatiens and petunias, were an utter flop, so I'll stick to purchasing nursery flowers or waiting for June to plant those flower seeds that can be planted directly in the soil that late, like Bachelor Buttons - such a bright and cheery flower!

I'll be scouring the local nurseries for patchouli, so I can tend it during the summer and dry it for later use in my handmade soaps. Also, I'll plan on getting another lavender plant (amazingly, one has survived the winter indoors this year!!), more rosemary (again, this too has survived indoors. Quite unusual - for me anyway), peppermint, and sage. These all did well in the garden last year, and I'm not sure why I didn't get around to drying the patchouli. I probably was in the midst of The Great Tomato Canning Project (more about that in another post) while it withered from lack of attention and died from neglect.

Here's lavender which I just picked from my plant upstairs:

Another seed that will be planted in our garden, and quite early, is the mighty parsnip. Our friends from Herefordshire are the ones who got me hooked on parsnips. Now I can't get enough of baked parsnips! (Recipe coming in a future post, I promise!) Last year I had an amazing crop of parsnips, so I'm hopeful for this year's crop as well. You wouldn't believe how long the roots are on those things! And of course there are peapods, pole beans, potatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkins, beets, and rutabaga that will be planted.

Get this: In England, our edible peapods are called mange tout peas; squash are called vegetable marrow (I think); eggplant is called aubergine; rutabaga are called Swede. Yet again, proof of 'two nations separated by a common language!' :-)

Whether your garden's going to be an acre square or just a small container with a few flowers in it, isn't it satisfying to watch things grow! There's just something about living things - God's creation - and the fact that He allows us to breathe His air and tend His soil, and year after year turns winter into spring and seeds into plants - that makes one ponder His grace.

Are you planning a vegetable garden? A flower garden? Container gardening? Plant something. Tamp down the warm soil over the seeds, water and feed periodically, make sure it's got enough sunlight, and be ready to watch the miracle of life. You won't be sorry. :-)


Deborah said...

So true my friend and reading your post makes me have spring fever even more. I love the photos and I too can't wait to dig in the dirt and watch the miracle of God as new growth appears. Thanks for the wonderful visit today. :)

Cranberry Morning said...

Even though we may get a few blizzards between now and garden-planting time, I remain optimistic. :-) Thank you for your encouragement today.


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