Has True Spring Arrived?

Spring -

Has True Spring Arrived?

Has True Spring Arrived?

Every morning, for the past two weeks, I have eagerly opened the back door in the hopes that this might be the first of that ever-illusive first true spring day. Not the calendar-declared day, but that day when you know that winter is over and the windows can be flung open for a light breeze to blow out stale winter air.

The first clue is the temperature of the back steps through my old slippers - warm or cold?  Second, a deep breathe in to gage the air temperature and quality (no need to consult the thermometer). Is it sweet, temperate, scented with wood chip or new grass, damp, or not?  Next, is there bird song? That happy chatter, and “flittings” of small brown birds (SBB’s) from forsythia to raspberry patch indicating a change in the season, or quiet moodiness?  And lastly, what of the ever present wind?  Is it blowing coldly across the roofed porch or resting gently in the light of the rising sun?  It takes but a brief moment to discern if it is that magic day or another in the long line of winter days.

I have to date been disappointed; oh there has been the occasional day that has come close but alas not yet that one special spring morning that stands out as the first day of the “non-calendar” start to spring.

But, we gardeners in southern Ontario cannot wait for that day. Seeds must be started in late winter or early spring in order to have a long season for a good crop. Onions and leeks are first in February, followed by eggplant, peppers and tomatoes at the end of March or beginning of April. 

I usually start my tomatoes the first week in April. They will then have plenty of time to grow into sturdy seedlings, but not yet be flowering, before they go out into the field May long weekend. Box Car Willie, Tasty Evergreen and Valencia are my current favourites as I love to showcase a platter of sliced red, green and orange tomatoes topped with onions, capers and a bit of good olive oil. This simple dish of outstanding colour and great flavour always delights August guests. 

So, even though that first beautiful spring morning has not yet appeared I can dip my hands into the warm potting mix, contentedly run my hand over the tomato seedlings and smell the summer to come.

I patiently wait the first day of true spring.

Happy waiting!

Kathy


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