I can smell spring. The air is cleaner, fresher and feels alive. The temperature still dips down to just about freezing or below at night and the air never really warms up during the day even if the sun makes a brief, but welcome, appearance. But I can still smell the earth coming alive. Until I can figure out how to garden year-round and tolerate gardening in the cold, I find late winter and early spring the most frustrating season of the year. The garden has been lying dormant for months now, the local farms still shuttered, and rationing has begun of the remaining goodies in the canning closet. It’s the maddening period of time where fresh produce is so close but still so far away. Worse still, department store garden centers and local nurseries are filling with flower starts, seeds, and cold-weather veggie starts.
This is the part of the year where I kill the most plants. I get so eager to get the growing season started I inevitably buy starts or plant seeds that have no reasonable expectation of surviving the freezing snaps that are still sure to happen. In fact, for the last week I’ve been baby-sitting 3 ranunculus starts and a lavender start by the back patio door. Last year, was my best year yet at planning and executing the garden plans (for starters I had actual plans—diagrams and everything!). I am extremely eager to get my hands in the dirt again and buds are starting to appear everywhere in the landscape around me, but I contenting myself (for now) with seed catalogues and drooling over the plants appearing at Fred Meyer.