Playing in the Dirt

I started piddling around with gardening about ten years ago, around the time I had my own yard and no kids.  I still have the journal I kept because it has my first mistake.  You’d think writing it down and keeping it around would help me to learn from it, but you’d be wrong. See, I know all about Arkansas weather.  I know we’re just as likely to get a blizzard in April as we are to get a heat wave.  Every single March, when Spring Break rolls around, I stand outside in the warm sunshine and see the dandelion invasion gearing up.  Then, knowing it is a bad idea, I head out and buy several flats of flowers and vegetables.  I spend a few days happily filthy getting dirt under my nails.  Then, in a few weeks, I’ll be checking for freeze warnings and cursing the weather.

But this year, I have a new plan.   I put up a pair of 8×8 greenhouses, one on each end of a raised bed.  I’m not putting anything but flowers in the ground until late April.  But I’m going to play in the dirt today.   (Well, not putting anything in the ground that isn’t already there.)

My blackberries and raspberries are showing new growth.  My strawberries all made it through the winter in spite of a late autumn transplanting.  Two little purplish-green fingers of asparagus have already peeked out of last year’s bed and some of the volunteer seeds out of my compost pile are germinating.  My guess is that they’re pumpkins, butternut, or acorn squash – since those were the last to go into the pile before I shut it down for the winter.  My mint has once again proven its immortality by sneaking out from the sides of a newly raised bed.   Onions and garlic are about an inch tall, competing with the first tiny leaves of lettuce mixes I’ve scattered.

In my greenhouses, tomatoes, zukes, yellow squash, purple-hull peas, and okra are starting to unfurl from their cozy peat cylinders.  Rosemary is losing its scrawny winter coat and filling out fragrantly.  Parsley, sweet basil, oregano, cilantro all peeking out from their pots.

Why am I in here typing on a computer when there’s dirt and sunshine outside?

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