Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring, is it really you?

Readers, I'll admit that the delayed onset of spring has made me a little grumpy lately. (Okay, since we're coming to the end of lent, aka Confession Season, I confess that cold weather generally makes me a less pleasant person, so there's been a lot of grump in my general vicinity over the past 6 months.) My god, it feels like I have been huddled up just waiting for the sun to come out and the soil to warm up for ages! Did I start the sweet potato slips on my windowsill too early this year? Have I set up the milkweed in the GrowLab at school for failure starting seeds in early March? Did my first ever asparagus bed bite it during the subarctic winter? These are the things that keep me up at night. (I know, I know: first world problems.)

Thanks to a motherlode of straw mulch, one lonely, 2-inch tall celery made it through the endless winter, along with a handful of strawberry plants and about a dozen leafy greens (kale, chard, collards, and what I just discovered is a tiny broccoli plant and not a cabbage after all). And the frost-burned garlic plants that didn't get pulled up by curious preschoolers are holding on. But it's looking kind of sad out there in the school garden.

We've had a few 60 degree days in recent weeks, at which point students and I would sprint out to the garden to plant. I suspect that the first few batches of seeds germinated and then froze to death during this past Saturday's freak snow flurry and below freezing daytime temperatures. (When I'm feeling more hopeful, I convince myself that there's a chance things never got warm enough for them to get going in the first place and they'll poke little green leaves above the surface soon. But did I mention how cold weather makes me less optimistic?)

Meanwhile, I planted yet another batch of seeds with kiddos this week: snap peas and onions, potatoes and larkspur all went into the ground. Arugula, spinach, lettuce, and radishes coming soon.... Go on Mother Nature, you keep teasing us with warm days, I'll keep planting more seeds. You may have wind and rain in your arsenal, but I've got the boundless optimism of kids on my side. We'll see who wins.

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