The end of February has arrived. Ahhh! Gardening season has arrived. Well, at least inside under grow lights. The kale, three cherry tomatoes, and lemongrass have sprouted. Over the following weeks, other things will be started. I do salad greens, lettuce, and broccoli early because they go out into the greenhouse and the cold frames early. Seeing the beginning of my gardening year gets me mentally away from the bugbear of winter and thinking about the renewal of spring.
Gardeners in the US Department of Agriculture zone 5 must be professional optimists. We take calculated risks and love to walk along the edge of the abyss. The frost-free date may say one thing, but we have plants in the ground under frost-protecting hot caps, cloches, and spun fabric covers weeks earlier. Some, hardier than I, are already in their plastic-covered greenhouses and planting in protected cold frames. For them, a March blizzard is just another challenge to overcome.
Climate change in my area has meant a greater degree of climate unpredictability. Proper mulching and soil amendment are practical considerations for water conservation, not just a feel-good thing. It has meant that all our season-extending technology, like spun fabric frost protection, is necessary when frost-free means “we’re not sure.”
Gardeners who can’t take a bit of a challenge should be disqualified; their hoes, shovels, and garden carts should be confiscated and drummed out of the fellowship.
Perhaps they could take up a less challenging DIY activity like blogging.