It feels ungrateful to even utter those words: “Will Spring ever get here?” After all, here in northern Illinois we have had a remarkable, tumultuous and…warm…winter. We have barely topped six inches of snow for the entire snow season, although we have had significant rainfalls. Many, many days in what used to the dead of January or February we were running around in short sleeves. My senior citizen mare has even gotten to go naked for days at a time! Now that is remarkable in the land where we hold the record for the number of freeze-thaw cycles every year.
Even, so, at the risk of being accused of not counting my blessings, I long for Spring. The dreariness takes its toll on me as it does many people, but even on the warmest of days my hands are still tied in regards to gardening. It might be 60 degrees in February but that certainly does not mean it’s time to work in the garden!
We are relatively new to this five-acre tract of heavenly-preview, but it certainly is not the first time we have lived a rural lifestyle. Even so, it has been a lot of work to get settled in here, learn the sun, water and wind of the land and make plans. Growing our own food is important to us, so we did get some fruit trees in right away; awaiting bud-break in Spring are whips of apple, pear, peach and cherry trees. The two raised beds I started my garden with are still sleeping soundly.
This week, however, I got a call from a friend, asking about some composted manure, and about getting together to plan her garden. I know I have way more seeds than I will use this year, so I busted them out to take inventory of what I had, and see which seeds could be shared or exchanged.
Seeing their tiny shells, pregnant with expectation was gratifying to see, and feel. The slick coats of the beans rattled in my hand, and the startling geometric shapes of the swiss chard were treat to behold. Even their names intrigue and stimulate: Rutger and Oxheart tomatoes, Italian Borlotti beans, Jarrahdale pumpkins. Speaking their names out loud sounds like poetry, and inspires images of a garden of color and sustenance.
It might be a warm winter, but it is still winter. Come on, Spring, arrive… we have the business of growing to get on with.