This blog post first appeared on My NDFB Life, and is shared for all of you out there just waiting and watching for spring.
What grounds me
by Valerie Gordon, NDFB Assistant Treasurer
I think one place I find inner balance and peace is in the garden. As the Assistant Treasurer for NDFB, I spend my days working behind a desk with numbers and paperwork and deadlines. I find working in the dirt takes my mind off the stress of everyday life.
And every year, I have big plans for all my gardens.
Have you heard the saying, “Calgon take me away!”? This is what I say when the seed catalogs start coming in the mail in January and February.
The sight of a flower garden and lush green fields soothes not only the eyes but the mind and body too. The vibrant colors, the mild fragrances and the captivating beauty of flowers enchant the soul. Here are few of them that I already have but I need to add more to my flower garden collection. I’m just getting started really. I had a blank slate that I started about two years ago and I have been adding to it ever since.
There is no better way to take away the winter blues than dreaming of a vegetable garden, flower garden, where to plant everything and how much I should get. I always start off marking up the catalog for everything I think I need. Major mistake! I always want way too much. I mean, how many varieties of heirloom tomatoes does one really need? So, I go back and try to be realistic because my vegetable garden is only so big, and I have no plans to enlarge it. Not yet, anyway!
My plan is to start some tomatoes and peppers indoors, to get the early jump on the growing season that we need in the north country. But deciding when the right time to start is the problem. Even though spring officially arrives in March on the calendar, spring weather might not show up until April or possibly even May. If I start too early, those little sprouts could get spindly and overgrow their containers by the time I can get them replanted outside. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a Frost Date page where you can just type in your zip code and it will give you the average last spring frost and the first fall frost.
I’m also one of those people who is open to trying “unconventional” methods for improving my gardening skills. I decided I needed to order the Gardening by the Moon calendar. Here is what I learned:
The First-quarter moon cycle (new moon to half full) – Things that are leafy, like lettuce, cabbage, and spinach, should be planted.
Second-quarter moon cycle (half full-to-full moon) – Planting time for things that have seeds inside, like tomatoes, beans, and peppers.
Third-quarter moon cycle (full moon to half full) – Things that grow underground or plants that are perennials, like potatoes, garlic, and raspberries, can be planted.
Fourth-quarter moon cycle (half full to new moon) – Do not plant. Weed, mow, and kill pests instead.
The only way to know for sure is to give moon phase gardening a try. Wish me luck!