Tales From the February Garden

In the kitchen window, my sprouts are emerging.

In their damp egg carton beds, bibb and romaine, kale and snow peas push out of the soil.  Spindly sweet pea flowers sit by a row of Ry’s sunflowers.  Cherry tomato, roma and purple heirloom from my own seed stock – one each, the rest of the little egg-bowls sit quiet, their seeds not viable.  I’ll have to buy plants, and get better at harvesting seeds.  Another two rows of peppers – sweet red and jalepeno – and some onion sets are taking their time.  Tonight I’ll plant another set of lettuces.

It’s my favorite time of year in Kentucky.  Our only real workable kitchen counter becomes my nursery (a folding table will have to suffice for chopping and mixing).  The Old Farmer’s Almanac is consulted, and consulted again, for predictions of the year’s final cold and frost.  The UK Cooperative Extension site is full of planting tables.  I never get my hands on a tiller in time.

Today, tiller-free and bare-armed, I dug up a lettuce patch and pulled away Fall’s greenhouse sheeting.  Dead tomato branches were hauled to rest in a back corner with December’s dried-out tree and evergreen boughs.  I unearthed a surprise, a hill of turnips, thawed and still crisp from their underground winter bed.  Even a few tiny carrots remained from last year’s too-late planting, the ones I never bothered to dig – most I’m sure went to the rabbits of the back acre.

I turned the compost, which is looking dark and delightfully rotten after the cold season, raked leaves out of the garden and discovered a line of daffodils, little green fingers, poking up from the humus at the base of the fence.  Wednesday, my calendar tells me, I’ll put my first seeds in the ground – spinach.

Of course, they say it might snow tonight.  I love northern Kentucky spring.



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