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By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
The Times 

A Glimmer and then Gone


Although I know it’s short-lived, I’ve been enjoying the glimmer of Spring to come. These past few weeks have even provided some sun and warmer temperatures. Warm enough to defrost the frozen dirt in our planters so Daniel can begin his project reorganizing the backyard garden.

What does the current project entail, you ask?

First, Daniel emptied all the dirt from the whiskey barrels and moved them from the side yard to the back area. Then he refilled them with soil and our first official batch of compost. We are now ready to plant when Spring does officially arrive.

He also spent time on YouTube (today’s replacement for Encyclopedia Britannica), researching the most efficient and successful way to plant and train cucumbers. He built a structure out of PVC and string and made me swear to use it. (Will the plant police check out my obedience)?

Along with the cucumber dictate, he instructed me on the specific areas to plant herbs, strawberries, sorrel, and several other items. I reminded him that the birds would have their say, too, as they fly over and plant whatever and wherever they want. Luckily for me, a friend we respect for his horticultural achievements corroborated my bird planting observations, tamping down Daniel’s skepticism.

With the frigid weather this last week, I have switched gears from Spring gardening to “weeping” the pipes to keep them from freezing. Mother Nature seems to be playing with the weather like we played with yo-yos as kids. And although I was pretty good at yo-yo, these weather changes are much more of a challenge.

Before the impending cold spell, I managed to accomplish a few things: I raked and filled eight large bags with leaves and enjoyed a few hours of airing the house by opening all the doors and windows. It seemed that all the winter cooking aromas had permeated every crevice of the house, so the fresh air was a treat. I may have gotten carried away, leaving everything open too long. Thirty minutes later, it was pretty cold, so I had to close everything back up.

I did get a welcome dose of optimism raking the leaves. I saw tulips popping up, daylilies and irises sending out new growth, little reddish rhubarb balls appearing, new bulbs on the horseradish, and even a few green leaves of lovage sprouted.

As in past seasons, I pulled out my garden journal with high hopes for maintaining a planting diary (never completed, but ever hopeful). And I have started looking for new patio furniture, as our current pieces have entirely disintegrated.

There is not much more I can do until Spring truly starts. So, I guess I’ll force myself to watch the YouTube video on training cucumbers. One thing I know, without confirmation from YouTube, is that I will not plant cucumbers near the melons. I am sure they cross-pollinated with our crenshaw melons producing horrible, inedible mutants last year.

In preparation for the warmer weather, I will sort through seed packets, sneak open a window now and again, and continue to play indoor tennis.

I am also on the hunt to find which bird dropped yellow watermelon seeds in our garden last year. They were scrumptious, so please come back and replant!


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