What a gift these last few weeks have been. Daily temps in the 70′s accompanied by bluebird, sunny skies. We’ve been happily shrugging off long sleeves and socks in favor of sun hats and sandals. There is nothing like the warm, nurturing feel of sun on bare skin; skin that’s been covered for way too many months. For the first time this year it’s been keep-the-windows-open-while-we-sleep warm, which is worthy of celebration.
No doubt we will have more snow still. Spring in Colorado can bring our biggest snowfalls. But just as the old saying goes, April showers bring May flowers, the same is true of our spring snow storms. They roll through quickly leaving in their wake the most fluorescent of spring greens.
We’ve been basking in the glory of this spring weather by working, planning and daydreaming in the garden.
A few days ago Zinnia and I cleared the area under our pole bean/morning glory trellis to plant early season spinach and mustard greens. These greens will be harvested and eaten before the climbing beans have a chance to shade them out. We also planted arugula, radishes, peas and chard – all of which can shrug off a spring snow storm.
And speaking of daydreaming, the promise of vibrant, crunchy garden greens plucked fresh from the ground has us anxious for these babies to sprout. Zinnia squealed with delight upon finding some of last years beet greens growing under a cover of straw. ”Chard!” she screamed (close enough) as she proceeded to pinch off fistfuls to snack on.
Needless to say, we’re all craving the crunch of fresh greens.
Elsewhere around the garden we’re noticing mint shoots and parsley that overwintered. Oregano, sage and thyme are making a fragrant comeback. Daffodils and tulips are growing tall and showing off in colors of red, yellow and pink. The intoxicating smell of flowering cherry trees comes in on the breeze and we’re noticing the neighbor’s budding lilacs just over the fence. We’re unearthing more carrots from last fall’s planting, and finding robins pecking the earth in search of worms.
This season of continual discovery and birth in the garden is so full of wonder and excitement. Each bud, blossom and sprout is worthy of its own little celebration.
Even though it’s only April, we’ve been tending to seedlings for months already. Our gardening season actually began back in December. While the Winter Solstice snow fell and daytime temperatures hovered in the teens, we were planting our summer garden. You see, we have a tradition. In celebrating the Winter Solstice and the beauty of the returning light, we see the perfect opportunity to plant the seeds of our upcoming year – figuratively and literally.
How it plays out varies depending on the year, but we typically gather with loved ones for a merry Solstice evening with wine, food and candles. My husband, Steve, prepares a tray with soil and we invite our guests to participate in the first official planting of the coming summer’s garden. We believe this to be an auspicious time to set personal intentions for the new year as each seed is planted. One’s intentions can be silently planted or shared out loud as the seeds are passed from hand to hand around the room.
The trays are placed in our basement nursery, complete with heated sprouting mats and grow lights. Once they’ve grown taller and stronger they move outside to the cold frame. And in mid May, when the danger of frost has passed they’ll find their summer home in the warming soil of the garden.
I love this ritual and it’s so very affirming to see bright, colorful spouts emerging from the dark, damp soil – as if each person’s intention, wish, prayer, and very spirit is rising toward the sun.
Our garden feeds us more than just organic, delicious food. We are nourished by the time spent together working the soil, reflecting on our personal growth alongside that of the plants. When we come together as a family in the garden we find a rhythm with each other and with our work that feeds the soul. In every season, we find gifts in the garden; no matter how small or abundant they may be, they are all worthy of little celebrations. It’s good stuff, I tell you.
How is your family celebrating the seasons of the garden?
About Lisa Coffee
I'm a crafting, gardening, homebirthing, Colorado Mama with a two year old named Zinnia and baby number two (affectionately known as Turnip) due this fall. As a family we strive to live close to the earth and her seasons and my best days are spent gardening the heck out of our quarter-acre backyard, making homemade meals and planning our family's next big adventure. I'm especially fond of a good Mojito happy hour and I have a weakness for far-too-expensive jeans, but those luxuries sing of life before motherhood. These days, when I'm not stripping cloth diapers or cleaning up after another toddler shenanigan, I can be found barefoot in the garden, at my sewing table, or heading for the hills in the Big White Van. Join me daily, as I share snippets from the good life at littlecoffeebeans.com .