I’ve been doing a lot of spring planning. Some of it has been for my own garden and some of it has been for the Plot Against Hunger. I’ve ordered seeds and some supplies (stakes, fencing, tomato insulators, cloches for young plants, etc.) and will start tomatoes, peppers and eggplants inside. I think all my seeds are coming from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. If you live in Zone 7 or below, this is one of the best sources of seeds bred for heat, humidity, and the pests that frequent the Mid-Atlantic and south.
Today I went to the garden (it was sunny and mid-40s) and finished off some things I hadn’t been able to get to in the fall and cleared out the broccoli and cauliflower plants. In a winter where it’s cold but we don’t have snow or freezing rain, these plants will keep making new heads and florets after the initial cutting. This year, as you know, we’ve had three separate snows.
I cleared some zinnias that were dried up, dead, and dark brown, some Jerusalem artichokes I’d left for their lovely late flowers, and did a little weeding. Then I tidied up all the fencing for reuse in the spring. I’ll get an early crop of resurgent parsley and cilantro once it starts to warm, and there should be some really early carrots. Meanwhile, I have lettuces in my cold frame.
In the Plot gardens, I trimmed the asparagus plants back, as they were green late into the fall and need to be cut back after they brown. I pulled the cauliflower and broccoli plants from the enclosure in the larger Plot, did a little weeding and trimmed up the blackberry canes a bit. Now I have a better idea of the kind of support I need to add for them as well.
I’ve been helping a Plot committee do some focus groups to help plan the coming year. It’s a big operation, starting with giving seeds to some gardens, having some volunteer gardeners start seeds for in-demand produce, organizing a spring kick-off with tool exchanges, panels of expert gardeners, and assorted other things. Plot basically has gardeners who donate produce, volunteers who bag produce for local food pantries, and a cadre of tough people who harvest farm crops, primarily from USDA’s experimental farms and a few local orchards. This can be hot, hard work in the summer and also involves bulk deliveries to warehouses that then get the word out to pantries to come get what they need.
I’ve been doing other things as well—walking with friends among nearby parks and trails, seeing signs of impending spring. There are more birds and some migraters coming through and the squirrels are chasing each other madly around tree trunks. All in good time.