Although we have plenty of winter chores still on the to-do list, I’m eager to change seasons. There are silver linings to this year’s return to a traditional winter — reduced pest pressure, water table restoration, uninterrupted dormancy — but after weeks of unending snow and single-digit temperatures, I will welcome spring with open arms.
It’s a privilege to live here in the Finger Lakes, where we can experience such variable seasons. Like children’s book illustrations, in Upstate New York, winter is winter; spring is spring; summer is summer; and fall is fall (except when it’s autumn, Kevin would say).
As the months pass, we can count on a steady progression of snow and bone-chilling cold, followed by drenching rains and gusting winds, then rapid greening and violent growth, a period of sultry heat broken by thunderous storms, chased by brilliant blue skies framing hillsides aflame, before circling back to damp grays leading into snow and bone-chilling cold.
Those rhythms sustain me, even when I’ve grown weary of the latest stalled weather pattern. Given enough time, I know the palette will be recast, the sun will feel differently on my skin and the air will carry fresh smells.
I’m in that longing phase now, biding my time as winter dribbles away. We’re bound to get at least a few more blasts of cold and a layer or two of snow. Ice is always my greatest concern throughout March as temperatures tend to hover at the freezing point, but the worst should be over.
So, I can safely start to put my garden dreams into motion.
Some of the companion herbs we’d like to add this year are hesitant germinators, so I want to sow them early, just in case I need to try, try again.
With our heating woes seemingly addressed, we should be able to provide a warm enough environment for temperamental seedlings like catnip, hyssop, lemon balm, lovage, marjoram, Greek oregano and thyme.
They will soon be accompanied by those that can brave the before-final-frost cold, like broccoli and cabbage, radicchio and kale.
Soon I’ll be cooing over my new “babies,” and looking for excuses to brush my hands over their aromatic leaves.
Just one more week, and I can start seeds!