Yes, I know, spring is still technically a month off–and with the weather of late, it’s not going to be “reliably” spring for at probably a few weeks to a month after that. Still, February is rapidly rolling to a close, and if nothing else, it’s time to start planning for springtime.
The joy of this time of year is watching everything come back to life from its winter hibernation. Most of our trees–the live ones, anyway–are already showing signs of leaf buds. There are daffodils already up, with blooms forming. Tufts of the hardier varieties of grass are already taunting me in the yard. Before long, things will be in full swing.
In the meantime, I keep eyeing the area we’re planning on putting in our vegetable garden, wondering if I’ll be able to get to it after the temperature rises and the ground thaws, but before it’s too late to put in anything. With everything else that needs to be worked on (ah, the joys of a 125-year-old farm), I’m about resigned to having “just” a late-season garden this year, the better to prep it for next year.
Then there’s the joy of deciding what exactly to plant. First and foremost on our list are fruit trees, to supplement/replace the ones already there. We need another apple, and somewhere between two and four cherry trees. (When is the best time to plant a fruit tree? Five years ago. The second best time? Today.) We’re also looking at another blueberry or two, in addition to some more berry canes, because you can’t have too many blackberries or raspberries.
The vegetables are a bit more of a challenge, though: tomatoes are traditional, and easy, but become such a mess so quickly. My luck with peppers has been mixed at best in recent years; I’ve done much better with eggplant. I’ve also tried my hand at root-type vegetables lately: garlic went well, shallots not so much. Potatoes are a surprisingly easy thing, and we’re going to try out a new method this year involving used tires for a “planter”. Our leafy greens were good in the early season last year, but quickly fizzled; hopefully, in our new (cooler, rural) place we can stretch them out a bit longer. The beans were a success last year, although we need to devise a better trellis for them to climb…
And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s still squash and pumpkin and cucumber and sunflowers and herbs and an entire raft of other stuff. Not to mention poking around the corners of the homestead, seeing what’s already growing there–I know we’ve got at least two types of mint, as well as chamomile and a couple of other things. (If nothing else, makings for some nice tea!)
Indeed, my only real issue with the season is how quickly it moves, once it starts–it’s hard to keep up, particularly with a day job, to say nothing of getting the old place on the market and sold. Fortunately, my wife is a compulsive planner. We may not be able to accomplish everything on the plan (she’s generally quite ambitious with her timeline), but at least it gives us a framework.
What are you folks doing to prep for the coming season?