OMG it was so sunny out today. I cut back a bunch of coneflower and penstemon that I left standing as natural birdfeeders all winter, dug under last fall’s cover crop in the vegetable patch, and found a bunny living in my lavender! It’s chilly, but the ground is friable. It might really be spring!
Oh, yeah, all that stuff I said yesterday about the dark night of the soul…well, screw that! It’s spring!
Oh, and that “rule” about never, ever digging? Yeah, screw that too because it’s FUN to dig. My veggie garden soil looks like chocolate cake, a description I’m outright plagiarizing from Sydney Eddison’s The Self-Taught Gardener. It’s like chocolate cake with worms!
Incidentally, I didn’t intend to plant any cover crops. The rapini that I tried overwintering didn’t survive, some volunteer arugula sprouted over the winter, and some lettuce I had every intention of building a cold frame to protect all had to go. The compost is pretty full, so I dug all the stragglers into the ground. Digging wasn’t even challenging; my shovel plunged like a rakish lover assailing his buxom mistress, each thrust going deeper and deeper, until-
But wait, I have to tell you about the compost! I tried very hard to be a good composter this winter and went out every couple of weeks to turn the piles (I have two). Frozen compost is inactive, and yes my compost was frozen. All I could do was try to break it up. Well, today the compost was fluffy and unfrozen, the height of the older pile had diminished significantly, and the crap in both piles was far less recognizable than before. A good turn of the piles released some ammoniac smells, so I added some leaves to boost the fungal load. The rotten broccoli smell it started out with in the fall has vanished. The changing smell and size of the pile means Progress. Next step, humus!
By way of explanation, the compost had a rotten broccoli smell because it was full of rotten broccoli. I had to compost my broccoli crop after the Cabbage Whites decimated the plants in late summer. Why didn’t I spray with BT you ask? Because I don’t roll that way. I don’t see the point of gardening if you have to kill all the beautiful creatures in the garden. Next time I try brassicas I’ll try some sort of netting, but no way am I going to slaughter all those caterpillars before they turn into butterflies.
See, it was too seedy and difficult to deadhead in the middle of the Pink garden, so I dug it all out, threw it on an area I was sheet-composting, and left it to rot. But today I saw two big root clumps not rotting but sprouting leaves. Any plant with that kind of chutzpa deserves to be planted. I replanted it on the edge of the Pink garden where it can seed like a motherfucker all over the lawn. I really don’t want a lawn anyway.
My list of plants that either remained evergreen or have sprouted new leaves this spring has expanded: agastache, geraniums, columbines, and – get this – cilantro. Yeah, you read that right. My microclimate can kick your microclimate’s butt. There are probably more plants that made it through winter evergreen, but now I’m too exhausted to remember. Spring is here man! It’s like totally rad!