It’s been a strange spring in Seattle, and all the gardeners I know have been a little off, including (maybe especially) myself. First, we had a freakishly warm late winter/early spring. While our biological selves still felt that they should be huddled by the fire sipping tea, the weather was telling us we should be out there toiling in the earth. People couldn’t deal–several friends called to anxiously declare that they were “behind in the garden,” even though it was only the beginning of March. Instead of happily perusing seed catalogs, everyone seemed crabby and stressed. By the time we all felt truly ready for some sunny gardening, the normal Seattle spring kicked in, and we had a return to wintery weather in late April (including a full-fledged hail storm).
In the midst of all this, I will confess to you, dear readers, that mid-February through mid-April were, for me, a difficult, melancholic couple of months. Thinking of my spring garden, which usually brings me joy, just completely overwhelmed me. “Take a break,” another writer-gardener told me. “If it’s not sustaining to you, then it’s not right.” This made sense for a moment, but I realized that if I didn’t get the peas in the ground, I’d regret it later. So Claire and I trotted out into a cold March day and planted a long bed of Oregon snow peas, and our favorite Cascadia snap peas. I had a little fantasy that the planting of peas would “cure” me, and though that didn’t happen, as the weather warmed and I returned little by little to the garden, the process did, over time, help to lift me back into the light. And I was reminded yet again that the seasons have their own wisdom–our spring was up and down, but the sun is returning, the garden is growing, the spring greens are feeding us, the beautiful vegetables of summer are beginning to show themselves, and our spirits are rising–all in good, right time.
Claire has her own little garden bed. In addition to sunflowers, carrots, and strawberries, she’s planted three peppers–the bamboo arches hold up the black garbage bag she covers them with overnight. Seattle peppers need coddling…
The pole beans are just coming up. Yesterday I could hardly see them, today they look like this:
If your family doesn’t like the red-veined kale, try this–the Italian, curly-leafed heirloom kale. Much sweeter.
I hope your gardens–big, small, patio, windowsill, urban, rural, inner, outer–are flourishing.