First Sign of Spring?

13 02 2010

What’s the first real, honest to goodness, reliable, first sign of Spring?

Narcissus flowers
Where I live, I don’t have to wait for the snow to melt…I see green all winter.  I know that sometime between Christmas and Valentine’s Day that the grass starts really growing and putting on length.  However…you can’t even think about trying to mow it, because the ground is still pretty soggy.  We see Narcissus coming up in December, and they start blooming well before Valentine’s Day.  Closer to Valentine’s Day will find Daffodils opening their trumpets and almond trees starting to open their delicate pink blossoms. But hose are just harbingers.  The true sign is yet to come…

The most sincere sign of Spring I can think of is the sound of the little frogs and crickets coming out of hibernation.  When you can step outside in the evening and the hear the world of the little creatures that live along the stream bed, listen to their symphony, then you know Spring is coming on fast.  We won’t have another hard freeze, though we may have a light frost.  Not even that is highly likely though.  Mid-February usually means the coldest of the weather has gone by.  That doesn’t mean the wettest weather has passed though.   We can still get some really gully washers before it quits raining for the summer.

I hate to say what I did today, but it goes along with the weather here. It won’t be terribly long before I can pick salad greens and herbs for use in the kitchen.  I can always pick chives, rosemary and thyme, but cilantro, parsley, and sage will soon join in.  We also found 2 asparagus spears growing in the garden! Yay!!  The Sunchokes are going bye-bye.  They are so invasive!!  They’re horrid!  They took over the whole asparagus bed in less than 2 years, and that included being thinned out.  We picked up some new asparagus to put in.  We also picked up strawberries and rhubarb.  I wonder if rhubarb will be a perennial in this zone…

I lifted the chives and divided them, and moved the clump still in the wheelbarrow all the way to the back, then lined both sides with cilantro and parsley (flat, Italian),  I added a few primulas for pretty and some red leaf lettuce and romaine.  Then there’s a pot of sage and a tiny white flowering kale.  Sounds like way too much, I know…  I have no problem lifting the flowers out later, and we know the cilantro won’t last long.  Our heat is too intense for it.  All you can do is sow, sow and sow again. I was shocked to find some had self seeded in a pot in the greenhouse frame.  I was pulling it out, and suddenly got a whiff of…if you ever smell cilantro, you’ll know you’ll always know that smell! So…I quit “weeding” the pot, and just added the lettuce.

I can direct seed snow peas and onion sets, and potatoes now.  I have a bunch of seeds for veggies that can be started now too.  I really want to get some Swiss Chard going out there.  I got some San Marzano tomato seeds that I’m very excited about. They’ll be great to can, as well as use fresh in a lot of things we do…Italian, salsa… I just need to get things rolling in the right direction.

I also need to remember that my body needs me to take this in stages.  I’m feeling it tonight, and I hardly did anything out there today.  The bending and stretching, digging in the earth…all feel so cleansing and renewing.  Plus it’s like a facial for my nails. They never are stronger than when I’m gardening.  I think that’s one reason I don’t wear gloves.  We’ll see.

Tomorrow, I need to check for the position of the moon, and think about when to prune the fruit trees.  There’s always something!

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