Delight and dread for a new gardening season

The Mid-Atlantic winter may not have produced a Snowquester, but it’s still spitting out frosty nights. Soon, even those will become a threat of the past, bringing in — to my delight and dread — a new gardening season. Just like the one depicted above.

I am delighted for many reasons. I’ll have the chance to plunge hands in soil, to literally ground myself, and to reunite with my surrogate uncles who ply their plots between cigar puffs. And of course there’s the snap of those first string beans already chirping in my ears. Here are some other folks’ reasons:

I dread the season because I have to find a broadfork. And seedlings and seeds. And I have to design a new layout that will provide good crop rotation and companion planting. And haul my tools out of storage and sharpen my shovel.

Attending Rooting DC last month helped get me more in the spirit, as did the equivalent of an A in nutrient density on my soil test.* I’m also organizing the DC State Fair Seedling Swap (set for Sunday, May 5 — mark your calendar!) What has put me most in the mood, though, has been the videos above — simple, colorful reminders I found on an inspiration-seeking visit to the Washington Gardener blog. I hope you enjoy them, and that they get you ready to stretch your limbs and open your schedule to the coming season.

*If you want to get your soil tested for nutrient content, pH level, heavy metals, and organic matter, there’s still time. I recommend UMass’s services, which are the least expensive I’ve seen and offer a quick turnaround time. D.C. residents should keep an eye on UDC’s extension program for the opening of a new soil lab.

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