Spring is almost in the air. Today the temperature was in the 40s, and I felt hopeful. While walking downtown I spotted a couple tiny flowers poking through the mulch and I realized that winter is almost over, and I actually smiled at the thought.
When walking Rufus around the neighborhood, with the baby asleep on my chest, I thought out loud about the garden this year, and my excitement grew. I recited to myself the things I want to grow: tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, spinach, lavender, strawberries. Maybe broccoli, maybe potatoes.
We arrived home, I let Rufus off his leash and brought Finn's bouncy chair outside. I sat Finn down, wrapped up in a blanket, and I started measuring the front flower beds. They are the beds we've grown tomatoes and basil in for two years. Last year Sean (he used to live upstairs) and I gardened, the year before Sean and his friend Phil tended the garden. This year I will be without Sean, but I won't be alone. I have Gen, Mimi, Natalie and Luke who are all interested in helping garden. A real community garden! I hope that they all want to help weed occasionally and help water, but I plan on taking full responsibility (more or less) for the garden, since it's in my front yard. They will surely help me reap the harvest.
I took "before" pictures of our beds. Dormant, sleeping, readying for the spring.
I kicked around the mulch (dry leaves from late fall) and found a ton of pill bugs in the soil. It kind of grossed me out because of the sheer number of them, in general insects do not bother me, so I researched online whether they are a problem for gardeners. It seems that they like strawberries and tender plant shoots the best. I found some good advice on controlling them.
In this last month before planting, I relish the thought of planning. Choosing and ordering seeds, drawing out a plan. Figuring out when to plant what. Learning about organic pest control, watering, sun and shade. Contemplating moving the compost into a container so that we'll have those extra square feet to plant food. Oh, and as always, trying to get the invasive spearmint out of the beds and into a pot instead. I don't know who planted that ridiculous plant, but it will not die.
These are the only things I pulled out today - a tiny dandelion shoot and it's root, and these sprigs of spearmint, so help me.
Not entirely true - I pulled out the spearmint roots, too. As many as I could grab.
After coming back inside, I noticed how different I felt - refreshed, downright cheerful. And all I did was dig around a little in the mulch and pull up some roots. Just getting out there, smelling the dirt helped clear my mind. I am praying for success with our little garden this summer, and for growing relationships along with spinach, lavender and strawberries.