Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why spring is my favorite season

Every spring the miracle of plants entrances me. I sprinkle seeds too tiny to pick up one at a time into moist dirt, and just three days later when I check on them I'm shocked to see a scattering of little green sprouts shooting up. How could it have happened so fast? How can something so green and alive come from one of those tiny brown specks?

We have one month, maybe two, of spring when the snow is melted and the shrubbery has not taken over the wilderness sections of our yard. One month, maybe two, to clean debris and clear away the tangles and lop off the strong young sprouting trees and bushes to make way for, hopefully someday, smooth lush grass. After that, the wilderness has the advantage over us, because life has come to that patch of ground, and the debris is hard to see because of the green, and the threat of poison ivy steals our confidence, and the barren ground is transformed into a wall, a mass of young trees gaining strength and size, brambles disguised with soft green leaves, ferns protecting bare earth from our rakes. Before the end of summer we retreat. Wait to take more ground until the next spring, when we have one month, maybe two, of advantage.

My first garden two years ago I planted rows of vegetables according to instruction, leaving the minimum or a little less of space between rows and between plants (they can't really need all that room, can they? Seems wasteful). Last to be planted were my vines, pumpkins, squash, gourds. My mom came to help me place them. She kept them far from my other rows. So much space that when I had one more thing to plant, I put it between the hills of squash and pumpkins and the rest of my garden. There was plenty of room. In the fall, as the pumpkin vines spread and took over everything nearby, grabbing my tomato cages with their curling tendrils and pulling them over, creeping out onto our lawn, I realized my Mom's experience had been right. These tiny seedlings need space, because after a summer of growing, their size is unbelievably multiplied.

I stare at these tiny green shoots in the boxes on my window sill and marvel. In a few months I'll have to pull up all but three or four of each kind of spice, and the vegetables will have to be transplanted into my garden because of their size. The fragile. slender tomato sprouts will grow into such giant plants that the tomato cages will fall under their weight. The minuscule green leaves will (if they can possibly grow undisturbed by small curious fingers long enough) transform to edible plants that nourish those small curious fingers and the rest of their growing bodies.

Spring is here.

1 comment:

The Brown Family Blog said...

I love Spring too :-) Not as much as fall...but Spring is quite lovely. (is it weird that I prefer death to life? Ha. I try not to think about it that way!)
Anyways, I put the banana bread recipe up for you! You'll have to let me know how you like it and I'd LOVE to have your zucchini bread recipe!