Waiting in winter, with snowdrifts high and sunlight low, we dream of Spring and Gardening. We remember weeding in the sun, harvesting delicious vegetables, joy and laughter. At our January Seed "Party", when we choose what we want to grow, visions emanate from seed catalogs — we sooo want to start planting!
Then comes the Angst.
I starts with Opening Day. Or rather, with Which Opening Day. The forecast: Friday night 100% chance of rain, a surprisingly no quibble forecast for New England. Saturday morning continues with a small chance, while Sunday lives up to it's name with nary a cloud forecasted. Do we get together Saturday, the time we've set aside for Gardening, or do we postpone until Sunday, when fewer of us can participate? What do we tell the dozen prospective Gardeners who signed up at the EcoFest — and when can we let them know? Yes, cooperative gardening has a downside: we've less flexibility in changing our schedule, since more people are affected.
A decision is made, because it has to be made, and we start with Saturday. A dreary Saturday, with muddy soil and a foggy atmosphere, and foggy minds as some people are getting up earlier than they have been. And yet the soil is not soaked, and the precipitation is holding off. So we dig. Or dig in some places — in others, we hit ice.
We are saddened that the kale failed to winter over. The barren stalks mock us. But peeking under straw, we find young spinach. And even that brings angst: do we uncover it, giving it more sun and air, and possibly overexposing it to freezing temperatures?
To plant or not to plant? More angst! There is fear that peas planted in such cold, wet soil will rot (based on previous experience), so we hold off.
Leaves clutter against the snow fence. Can we use them in the compost piles? But leaves decompose slowly, need to be mixed with "green" matter to balance, and we won't have much of that for a while. In July an abundance would be a blessing, but in April it's a space problem. We move some into a corner that won't be used for a while, and remove quite a bit. Sigh. More angst.
Last year, peas shadowed and inhibited the rhubarb in the corner, and we discussed moving it. But some online reading suggests it may be too young to move, as it's only entering it's third year. So do we move it to what *may* be a better location now, or do we wait until it's more mature, and hope that it does better unshadowed this year by peas? More angst.
Forgotten in our winter dreams was the reality of the uncertainty of choices. Gardening is as much guesswork as it is science, as much luck as it is meticulous planning. We can but muddle through. But as a cooperative garden, we muddle through together! It's an adventure, with paths taken and not taken, complete with surprises, like the harvest of delicious parsnips.
I'm ready for next week!