The Vernal Equinox, also known as the beginning of Spring arrived yesterday at 12:57 PM Eastern Time. Farmers and gardeners understand that, while the days are getting warmer and the sun is shining brighter in the Northern Hemisphere, we are not quite ready to begin the outdoor planting and sowing. Checking my garden plot, I find the ground is still quite frozen, even under the heavy layer of straw mulch. The rest of the garden is still covered with about 4 inches of snow. A spring rain is needed to soften the earth.
The asparagus may not be able push through for a few more weeks as we ease out of winter’s frozen grip and into that stage in the season when the earth warms and become pliable again. The heirloom asparagus planted from seed last year, will be moved to a new bed. I will share pictures of the asparagus as it develops.
This is the time of year to begin preparing supplies for the garden plot. I have bags of compost, manure and sawdust set aside for soil amending in the coming weeks. I will have more sawdust delivered as mulch for trees and flower beds. At the end of last year, I received a supply of freshly cut, coarse wood chips. They needed to rot down a bit before I could use them and I think that stuff should be ready this spring. There are plenty of places to use it as mulch or base for compost piles. There are also two bins of composting material in the bins. Finally, as I use the current stock of material, I will be replacing it. I have a reserve pile of manure at the barn that is about 6 months old at this point. If I bag it and hold it for 1 year it will be rotted enough for use as fertilizer if used carefully.
I will begin sprouting seeds for annual crops like broccoli and herbs. Many gardeners would have started tomato seeds by now, but I have come to the conclusion that starting tomatoes from seed in this climate is a waste of time. It is better for me to buy plants that were started in a commercial greenhouse and will be producing fruit within weeks, not months, of cultivation. Granted, if you wish to grow some specialty heirloom variety you will need to start them from seed on your own.
Signs of spring are around, but it is still quite cold when you step out of the sunshine. I’ve seen the trustee Red Robin bobbin’ along and we know that is a sure sign of spring! return. I’ve caught a glimpse of few Cardinals as they flit past in their brilliant red. Doves cooing and the geese fly over honking as they return to their northern habitat are other sure signs of spring. Next month, near the end of this thawing phase, the apple tree will be ready to receive grafts and I’ll have more on that as the season progresses.