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Planning for spring: Gardening signals new life


On a cold afternoon a few weeks ago, I sat down with the garden seed catalogs and started putting together orders. With help from the boys, we thumbed through four catalogs, picking out varieties for beans, peppers, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, peas, squash, lettuces, tomatoes, artichokes, sunflowers, morning glory, nasturtium and more.
It’s time to prepare – gardening season is upon us!

It felt so hopeful to place the orders. Snow was falling, but we believed in the promise of new seasons and new life. This summer would be full of colorful blooms and fresh vegetables. We could almost feel the warm sun on our faces and taste the sweet burst of a ripe tomato just picked from the vine.


The orders started arriving this week. Even though our eyes and dreams clearly were bigger than our garden plot, we remain excited for what we have planned. With careful editing, we should be able to get at least most of the varieties in the garden.


It’s time now to dig through the basement and find the warming mat and grow lights and light timer. We’ll need to get new seed trays and peat pots and starting soil. This year, with the quantity of seeds we’ve purchased, we might need a second warming mat.


We need to get out some graph paper and carefully arrange all the areas of the vegetable garden. We need to get some supplies to build a simple trellis for the peas. I meant to make a trellis last year, but never quite made it. Perhaps it would be a good project for an afternoon during spring break in April. I’ll ask my husband to check the Roto-tiller. I’ll pick a better area for composting this year. I’ll make lists for the rest of the garden – what shrubs need to be pruned and what perennials moved or replaced.

Once we have started down this thought path, it seem even harder to wait for spring and the last frost date.  So we commiserate among our fellow optimists: The spring flower show is in just a few weeks. There are bound to be even more ideas there. The timing of the show, of course, is meant to help weary New Englanders make it through the last variable weeks of winter. The convention center is full of greenhouse grown (or flown in from another part of the world) color not natural to our climate in March. We relish it; we revel in it.


While the vision of the garden is shared by the whole family, the work of it mostly is an adult thing. That’s okay. The bigger point is getting us all outside in the fresh air of spring after a winter of gazing through windows. It’s the promise of the new – it’s nurturing the optimist in all of us.


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