DEPARTMENTS


Is it Spring Yet?

By Stephanie Peake


I can't wait for spring. My calendar tells me it will arrive March 20, but as I write this and look out my window at the falling snow, I have my doubts. Even when you think spring is well under way, Mother Nature can pull a fast one on you.

A few years ago, I spent three days in early May bicycling across Vermont with my mom and siblings. The first day, it rained - nothing so unusual there. The second day, it snowed like crazy (did I mention it was May?). You haven't lived until you've gone whizzing down a gargantuan, nearly vertical hill on a bike in a snowstorm. Maybe it's just as well I couldn't see anything. (For those of you wondering about the third day, it was sunny and quite pleasant, aside from the bone-chilling wind.)

Before spring, of course, we have to get through mud season. I live on a dirt road, and I've already had a taste of the fun to come when the weather decides to warm up for a spell. You know it's bad when you contemplate sleeping at the office to avoid navigating the cavernous ruts to get home.

I'm ready for spring, but not prepared. I want to finally have a garden this year, and once again I've neglected to follow parental advice about prepping a plot. Lurking under the snow is untouched lawn that's going to require a bit of effort and perspiration. And possibly a backhoe.

My parents and my sister all have successful vegetable gardens. My sister's in particular has come a long way in the few years she's worked at it. She's found methods of keeping away marauding cats that believe her raised bed is a giant litter box, and she was able to go on quite the pickling rampage after last year's harvest.

As for me, I consider it nothing short of a miracle when I can keep houseplants alive. But I bought some seeds the other day, and I'm determined to give this a whirl. Don't worry, I'll still be largely (if not completely) dependent on the professional growers out there for my produce needs. Just ask my dearly departed philodendron.

It's important to be prepared for any endeavor you undertake - at least when it will affect your livelihood. My lack of soil prep for a garden will have far less impact on me than if I were to, say, forget how to use a semicolon.

Are you ready for the 2013 planting season? There are a lot of details to consider, and one thing you shouldn't let slide is sprayer calibration. Turn to our lead story on page 6 to learn why it should be a priority and how you can accomplish it. Happy planting! Eventually.