Spring came early to our next of the woods and then ran away. In February we had temperatures in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s. I actually had to turn our air conditioner on for a couple of nights. The daffodils and azaleas in my yard started blooming, I even had to cut the grass. But that all changed in March, back to winter, bitter, windy, cold, with even a day of snow.
I worked on my garden area yesterday wearing way too many clothes for March. I hadn’t walked through the garden gate in months and the place was a mess of leaves and tree branches. I am a little OCD about a couple of things, my garage, my tool shed and my garden. I like my garden to have a certain look, a zen quality if you will. My raised beds are perfectly aligned with each other with pea gravel walking paths between each. My tools are neatly arranged and placed in an order that only I understand. My garden is a sanctuary, a church where I can feel the spirits of Spring and Summer, of warmth, growth, and new beginnings.
I am ready to plant, chopping at the bit to get something in the ground which will be lettuce first. But despite what my OCD psychotic mind tells me I know it is too early. So I cleaned, raked, and arranged. I spread and hoed 300 pounds of compost cow manure into the ground disturbing the busy work of earthworms. The hard packed dirt that has been sealed shut all winter long, keeping my friends the worms warm looks soft, rich, dark and ready to accept the roots of plants that will provide me with a summer bounty of fresh vegetables to eat if, it rains this year.
Short of more lettuce than we could eat for three months last year’s garden was a bust. From July to September we got less than three inches of rain and it was very hot, 90 + degrees hot. I will water my garden to a point. But that point quickly evaporated last year. You realize, with a garden my size and the time that I have allotted in the day, that Mother Nature can be, no, is a bitch, and a bitch not to be trifled with. If she says your garden is going to die a slow dry death, it dies a slow dry death right before your weeping eyes. No amount of wishing, praying, or naked rain dances are going to change this harass realty.
So I will try again this year. I may put some lettuce in the ground Saturday and then Tomatoes, Squash, Cucumbers, Pole Beans, Eggplant, Carrots, and Cantaloupe sometime mid-April. I will supplement the water if I need to, keep the weeds at bay and sit on my bucket with a cold beer and watch and wait. Oh and listen to the five-year old next door with his nose pressed up against the fence ask me 200 times, “What are you doing?” Enjoying a beer in church, go away. I will try to just say that to myself.