Being a Colorado girl myself, and having a firmly instilled frost date of May 15, it remains a source of constant surprise and delight to my soul that February (yes, February) is when green thumbed Richmonders begin to plant their gardens.
Excuse me while I swoon.
In February in Colorado, we were still busy ice skating and snow tubing.
In February in Richmond, spring is right around the corner.
Take last week for example: the thermometer read above 50 degrees F every day. Substantially above 50, in some cases.
With that in mind, can you blame me for jumping on the garden-frenzy band wagon? No, you cannot. Neither can I. Which is how I found myself trotting around the yard several afternoons of late brewing up trashcans full of compost and upturning rows of dark brown dirt.
I should stop at this point and inform you that by “upturning rows of dark brown dirt”, I am speaking of the old fashioned hand-to-pitchfork method as opposed to the newfangled notion of rototilleration that has sprung up among so many.
This becomes significant in light of how sore my back is right now and how little progress I’ve made on upturning the soil in my garden plot. But we’ll get to that later.
No, actually, as a matter of fact, let’s talk about it now: my back is stiff and sore from hours of back-stiffing-and-soring labor, and I have progressed at such a great rate through my grassy yard that the upturned area now rivals a baby blanket in size. Furthermore, in addition to such astounding success, I am developing biceps of steel.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me back up and start at the beginning.
Three Christmases ago, mere weeks after my enchanted engagement to the love of my life, my delightful and insightful siblings gifted me with a beautiful red pitchfork.
It was a real beauty, this red pitchfork.
Of such pitchforks, dreams are made.
Two summers ago, mere months prior to my marvelous marriage to the live of my life, said pitchfork broke ground on a little tiny garden in Tim’s grandfather’s backyard.
It was a real beauty, this little garden. It grew and prospered and began to bear fruit. And just as we were about to reap the glorious firstfruits….the very thoughtful and generous neighbor accidentally mowed it.
Last summer, the pitchfork again made an appearance…this time in our very own backyard. It faithfully upturned a small plot, which was then planted with such delicacies as tomatoes, peppers, chiles, spinach, carrots, herbs, etc–and then diligently weeded, nursed, and cajoled only to be pretty much fried by the hot-hot sun. I’m pretty sure I harvested 8 lettuce leaves and 2 snap peas…total…before the whole thing proverbially scorched. Went up in smoke. Burnt to a crisp. Withered to dust and ashes. Etc.
But now it’s this year. And this year, my friends, will be different.
For one, I moved my plot to the front yard, where I think it will be less likely to be trompled, mowed, stomped, or fried.
Second, I’ve made the difficult decision to use *gasp* house water in the event of a drought emergency.
Finally, my very own beloved greenhouse that I’ve been working at for the last three weeks is going to grow my starts for me. Which means they’ll begin life with a much better chance of survival than previous seedlings have enjoyed in my windowsill. Thanks, Greenhouse!
In light of all these things and more, I’ve been digging away out there like a possessed mole. Or vole. Or whatever dirt digging creature it is that owls eat and then barf back up for enterprising 4th graders to analyze in science class (guess what lucky class learned about digestion today?).
I’ll keep you posted as to my trusty red pitchfork’s progress, as well as update periodically on how, where, when, and what I plan to plant.
But I will tell you this now:
I’m pretty much all about counting my tomatoes before they’re ripe. And tasting them, too, while I’m at it. And boy, is it going to be one yummy summer.