The calendar says spring, but Mother Nature has not been cooperating. Last weekend, the promising glimpses of crocus and daffodil tips were once again hidden by a dusting of relentlessly white snow. I’m so tired of the gray-and-white view from my windows, and so very ready for the warmth, the blue skies, and the multi-hued greens of spring. I’m ready to set aside the rich, nesty, comfort foods of winter in favor of strawberries and asparagus. For the past two days, we’ve been teased by temperatures creeping toward the 50s, and the snow finally seems to be melting with purpose… but weather reports predict a drop back into freezing temperatures next week.
Last spring, freshly diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, I had a name for what was ailing me, but I still didn’t have a plan for managing it. During those first, unseasonably warm months, I spent a lot of time in the backyard, establishing a new garden. I was still struggling with pain and fatigue, so my progress was slow, and I had to scale back my original plans quite a bit. Even so, sitting in the garden with the warm sun on my back as I slowly plucked weeds and turned the earth proved to be good medicine. It gave me a safe and happy place to slow down and think and figure out how I was going to get healthy again. I learned to labor slowly, making incremental progress, and to appreciate the stillness on days when even weeding seemed too heavy a task.
Since we had joined a CSA through TableTop Farm, the Gent and I were rightly expecting an ample supply of seasonal vegetables; so, in our own little garden I focused on culinary herbs. On one half of our 200 square foot bed, I planted mostly perennials: spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano. Annuals cilantro, sweet basil, and lemony sorrel rounded out the mix. On the other half of the garden, I planted a few blackcurrant bushes and strewed the rest of the plot with wildflower seeds.
With so many perennials returning this year, I can turn my energy toward the other half of the garden, the part that I gave over to the wildflowers last year. Since I garden organically, concerned about the impact of inflammation-promoting chemicals on my condition, I opted for organic seeds from Seed Savers instead of commercially produced seedlings this year.
Invasive, inedible rue will occupy a large terracotta pot by itself on a corner of the patio. Rue can be boiled in water to make an antiseptic potion for cleaning and disinfecting the home. The solution also supposedly keeps away fleas and other pesky insects.
The perennial herbs and blackcurrants will share garden space with new edible plants: white Holland cucumber, dill, cilantro, hyssop, basil, summer savory, tatsoi, and a mix of heirloom lettuces (Crisp Mint, Bronze Arrowhead, and Winter Density).
I’m ready to go, just as soon as Mother Nature starts cooperating.