It’s Almost Time

2009 Vegetable Garden Boxes

Image by Jeff Cushner via Flickr

February 19,2011

Waaahooo, as we Ozarkers like to say.  Gardening time is near.  In the coming week, I’ll start my transplants, draw up a little plot map for this year’s garden, pore over my charts for local planting times and generally try to restrain myself from throwing everything into the ground all at once and far too early.  I have a bad case of cabin fever.

We went from highs in the teens and a low of minus ten degrees the week before last to highs in the seventies with lows in the forties this past week and that’s a bad thing only because next week we’ll be off in some other crazy weather direction.  That’s the nature of gardening life in the Ozarks, as it is in many places in the central United States.

Soon enough, though, the weather will settle into its spring patterns, I can get out into the backyard to hoe and plant and garden to my little old heart’s content.  The asparagus and rhubarb will poke their noses out of the soil to see what’s going on.  The early vegetables will go into their newly turned beds, the seedlings for the later crops will begin to look like real plants and I will have to fight the urge to plant them before the soil is warm enough.

Before all this comes to be, of course, the weeds must have their way with the soil.  Henbit already crouches along the back of the house, waiting for its chance to sprint across the yard and I can see short, green spears that tell me where the wild onions bide their time, for now.  Poke weed and plantain will send up their tender shoots, as will the dandelions – all edible.  And new mint will soon begin to crowd out the dead leaves of the old mint that froze in the blizzard a few weeks ago.

I still have vegetables in the freezer from last year’s garden.  With today’s supermarket prices, that’s a good thing.  With hunger stalking so much of the world and oil prices going up, I suspect keeping a garden is a wiser investment than even gold.

But, truth be told, if the world were settled and smooth as glass, I would still long for spring and the chance to ruffle up my little corner of that world with a garden, to eat of its delights and to share its abundance with my neighbors and those in need.  It’s my age-defier, my fist in the air to wrinkles and gray hair.  My strike against all that is proud and greedy and selfish in the world.  And it’s almost time.


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