On pacing oneself

img_0481Brune d’hiver lettuce, back from near-death

What a difference a week makes!    The warmup has definitely kicked things up a notch or two in the greenhouses.  All my November and December seeds have sprung, I now see all the garlics, the chives are emerging, and all the freezer-burnt lettuces have put out shiny new growth.

img_0491November-sown Winter Marvel spinach

This should not surprise me, of course, but it does.  Being a gardener, one learns (not quickly) that TIME is one’s friend, even if it is not the friend of some garden plants.  Time has the ability to heal all your stupidly overreaching expectations.  Sure,  there are many patches in our digging lives where life is terribly short and the growing season even shorter, but becoming an earnest vegetable gardener is about understanding time, about thinking longer term.  The ease of simply buying one’s onions seems like cheating after a while.

That said, I do tend to get into a panic if I see the END of a harvest happening (let’s say the near-dead greenhouse lettuces planted last October) and the jump of time needed to span until the next harvest.  Those Nov/Dec seedlings aren’t going to be ready in time to have a continuous supply of salad stuff.   So I am quite glad the dead lettuces have had their Lazarus moment.  It will bridge that gap.

Spring, you see, is still a long way off from where I stand.

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9 responses to “On pacing oneself

  1. Nice to see that large swath of weather missed you and your lovely greens. I still have to strap on the ol’ snowshoes to get to my mini hoop and the plastic is still well buried, but after seeing your tasties, I’m inspired to go check to see if anything has started to make a comeback.

  2. Wonderful! I’m hoping for some early greens very soon too. And then onto the brassicas. Oh, how I do find I miss those tastes between harvests.

  3. I just came across a quote that should cheer you:
    “Spring seems far off, impossible, but it is coming. Already there is dusk instead of darkness at five in the afternoon; already hope is stirring at the edges of the day.” (Kathleen Norris “Weather Report: February 10”)
    Your meditation on time being the gardener’s friend was lovely.

  4. Inspiring. I never thought of time in quite that way, but it does capture the feeling I’ve been having lately. Your lettuces look delicious. It always amazes me how plants can surprise us and have such the fight to live in them.

  5. Thanks, Chris! We’re back to normal weather here now (highs about 35*) and I feel a bit better about that. But good luck with the goodies in your mini-hoop. Have you had more sun lately? It helps even if you still need to strap on the snowshoes!

    Yes, Christy, I was really pleased to find these things, this winter has been harder (mentally) than I let on. I LOVE the stages we go through though: fresh greens, asparagus and peas, morels, fresh kales…can’t wait!

    Thank you, WS. I am a happy sun-watcher and Ms Norris’ words ring quite true. March seems the longest month to me but for you it’s probably your most fruitful. It’s all local, isn’t it?

    MC, plants and seeds too. Always surprised by the will to live seeds have. Such a lot of energy required to merely break through the tough shell of a seed! So yeah maybe that’s what we’re all doing now: gathering energy needed to break out and grow?

  6. I can’t wait until next winter when we get to have greens pushing through the cold in our greenhouse. I’m chomping at the bit for Spring looking at your lettuce pictures. Yum!

  7. Yay, Kim, a convert! I LOVE having the greenhouses. Up here it’s tough not being able to dig in the dirt for 5 months but now? Now I can throw down year-round! And those lettuces ARE mighty tasty 🙂

  8. Shane VanOosterhout

    El, hi! I’m a part-time instructor at KCAD sitting in on Tom’s class this semester – having a blast – and I came to see your blog. I love gardeners! I am also the program coordinator for the Ottawa County Master Gardener Volunteer Program through MSU Extension, so needless to say, I am an obsessive gardener myself.

    Your salad greens look so delicious! I am hoping to install a hoop house soon so I can extend my growing season as well. I live on 10 acres and have spent the last 11 years working on adding natives & ornamentals, perennials, expanding the pond, etc., and last year devoted the season to expanding my vegetable beds.

    Spring is coming…..?!

    My blog site is: http://livetogarden.blogspot.com/

    • Hi Shane! So glad you spoke up. And I *love* obsessive gardeners too! I think you will totally dig (har) a greenhouse. Tom needed some persuading but then again he’s convinced now. Especially after yesterday’s snow! It’s lots of fun to at least have some place to dig dirt all year round. The possibilities are endless, too; I don’t even mind planting ornamentals now that I have them. So do give it a try. I will certainly give you some tips should you need them, and with 10 acres, geez, you’ll have lots of hoophouse opportunities. Have fun in Tom’s class.

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