Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Down on the Farm: Spring Planting!

I received my Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co. 2011 Spring Catalog today!  For those of you unaware of Gurney's, it's "America's Most Complete Seed & Nursery Company," as advertised on the cover of the catalog itself.

 There's something about looking through a magazine filled with trees, seeds, flowers, bushes, and everything green that just shouts SPRING!  The delectable descriptions of the fruits and veggies have me salivating just reading them.  For example, under the Pixie Crunch Apple picture, we read, "This sweet beauty is absolutely unparalleled for fresh eating.  One bite and we guarantee you will agree. This apple 'explodes' with a breaking crispness, tantalizing your taste buds with mouthwatering flavor and juiciness."  How clever to get English majors to write up such descriptive narratives!  I just want to shout, "I'll take 35!"

Of course, it's only February, and although in many places you can see your lawn, my beloved Birdseye is not such a place.  With freezing temperatures normally going into the first part of July, there is still plenty of time left to go sledding, build snow forts, shovel sidewalks, scrape windshields, and bring in coal. 

I have to admit, I tend to jump the gun, just a little bit, every year when it comes to gardening.  All of the gardening books say that there are certain things that you can plant as soon as you can "work the soil."  Well, if you have the right tools, you can dig through three inches of crunchy snow and work the soil just fine.  Just ask me.  I do it every year.  But I can't help it.  You can only spend so much time reading about the enticing produce found on every page of my new magazine or looking out the frosty windows planning which row you're going to dedicate to your newly-ordered, buttery-sweet beets, ("that even kids will love,") and which row to use for those sweet and crunchy carrots, ("you don't have to be a rabbit to love these").

Although beginning my planting so early does seem to go through seed quicker than it should, (I have to buy a two-year supply of seed for my one small vegetable garden every year to allow for all the replanting I do,) I just have to get that early start.  Besides, positive thinking on my part tells me that everybody plants their gardens three times before temperatures reach 50 degrees.

On the plus side, planting early uses so much less water, in theory.  For one, the hose can't be used, (it's still filled with ice from last fall's "last watering of the year.")  Secondly, as the remaining snow melts, (for the next three to four months,) it provides all of the moisture you need.

Someday, all eight planets will align, the Earth's axis will tip just right, and two major stars will collide, sending Spring to Birdseye in March.  Until then, I will look for my radishes to pop up out of the crisp white snow, (if a snow crocus can do it, so can a radish) and then replant them again when they don't.

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