The promise of sunshine, soil and sweat is intoxicating, especially at the tail end of this winter’s third “cold snap.” I’m ready to shed wool layers and shearling boots in favor of garden gloves and sunblock.
“Well, you can’t,” my husband, Kevin, replies, trying to head off my mid-winter depression before it takes hold. “Nothing out there’s growing. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s cold. Bone-chilling cold.”
That it is. Nearly a month straight of solid snow and night-time lows in the single digits.
The natural world is deep in the throes of winter. No thawing. No melting. No buds swelling.
Spring is nowhere near ready to bust out all over.
But for me, that tell-tale malaise is setting in. I’m getting ready.
For the next several months, I’ll make due by creating timetables for when to start certain seeds; setting up grow lamps, tables and heat pads; cleaning trays; blending germination mix; and assessing supplies. In the meantime, my hands will get increasingly twitchy from the unrequited desire to play in the dirt.
So I wasn’t surprised the other night as I was having trouble sleeping, that I dreamed up an intermediate plan for one of our chronic problem areas. Near the original raised beds, where I have envisioned an herb garden lining the lee of the house, there has instead for years been a no-man’s-land of weeds — mostly goutweed, snow-on-the-mountain’s invasive cousin.
Each spring, I intend to tackle it, and each spring some other project takes precedence.
Well, now I have a plan of attack. In April, if it’s dry enough, I want to dig up the excess soil and screen out visible goutweed rhizomes. We’ll store it in covered buckets for a month or so, then rescreen it to remove new rhizomes before using it elsewhere for re-landscaping.
As a stop-gap measure, in case I again run out of time to finish the herb garden, we can plant sunflowers beside the house. Their alleopathic properties might help us thwart a re-invasion of goutweed, while attracting pollinators and birds. As a bonus, we can harvest some of the sunflower seeds for ourselves, instead of gifting them to wildlife.
Come dawn, I excitedly share my ideas with Kevin, who agrees that it sounds do-able.
Now I want to dig things!