I was late last year. And by late, I mean, I didn’t get seed or plants in time. By the time I thought of it, the pandemic was in full swing and many of the seed varieties were sold out. But there are always other spring chores to jump start the season that don’t rely upon the U.S. postal service. Getting ready for planting vegetables is also a necessary and great way to usher in the gloriousness of spring. This means pulling out all the stored stuff from last spring and doing a maintenance check. It is one of the easier spring chores.
Spring is when we sharpen and align the blades on the lawnmower. Mowers take a beating over the season, but a little gentle maintenance can keep them going for decades. Ours is electric so there is no need to change oil or anything, but it does need its blades attended to. In fact, this year I am going to get new blades. It is almost 15 years old and could use a real makeover.
Just yesterday, my spouse pulled out the seed heat mats and the grow lights. We have wonderful windows in our home, but most of them do not get good light. So plant grow lights are the best way to give good light when planting vegetables. I use the little heat mats to jump start the germination of my seeds. Both in concert really seem to get my veggie babies off to a better and faster start. But it is time to make sure we have bulbs for the light fixtures and the mats still work. Otherwise, we need to order items that will fit the bill and finish off our growing kit. It’s all part of planting vegetables and keeping your larders full.
More Spring Chores
Another spring ritual is going through the seeds. We need to cull the ones that are old and organize the new seed. We try to use up old seed first, but also plant a few seeds of the new stuff. That way, if we don’t get plants from the older seed, we have something coming. Any extra plants that may result are given away to family and friends. It seems to work most of the time, as we don’t keep seed that is more than one year old in most cases. Sorting makes planting vegetables less of a gamble and more of a sure thing.
It is also time to turn the growing beds. Over the winter we buried our kitchen scraps because the soil here is terrible. These need to be turned into the soil so they break down faster. We also need to turn in some manure and other amendments so we are ready to plant the seedlings in May.
None of this is actually a ritual, but it is all necessary. There are more things to do, like cutting back perennials that didn’t get done in fall, and general cleanup. Any outdoor activity is a spring ritual at this point. It is a sign that we survived a long, cold, solitary winter and didn’t kill each other. It is a signal that in spite of a pandemic, life goes on outside and will continue to burgeon and grow. Every sign of life is a pleasant electrical jolt to my psyche and a reminder that the world isn’t contained in the 4 walls of my home. It is outside waiting to be enjoyed.