Monday, March 15, 2010

Giddy on the Ides of March

I was under the eaves of the grocery store where I'd locked my bike last Friday when I heard one of those advertisements that interrupts the store's radio station. You know the canned radio stations that push and pull your emotions to make you forget that you're shopping. One minute you're drifting down the aisle in a cloud generated by pop-song sap, the next minute you're singing along to that 80's tune you forgot that you knew every word of. As I unlocked my bike and found a place for the wine among the library books and skeins of yarn in my backpack, a peppy pre-recorded voice informed me that March is "Frozen Food Month." I went home and defrosted a bag of frozen spinach.

But really, it reminded me that this truly is the lean time of the year for local food. I think I just had a beer and a bunch of chocolate chips for dinner. I certainly don't have to eat this way! But I've trained myself to ignore the produce section, with deleterious effects. There isn't all that much promising around the corner in my garden harvests either.

I *did* plant spinach, arugula and radishes last fall and they overwintered. I was pretty thrilled to pull up the plastic and find little baby plants ready to pull down rays from the sun already. I ate a handful of spinach and arugula leaves. Not enough to sustain my bike commuting habits of late.

I'm almost used to this little-raft-adrift-in-the-ocean feeling I've had for the past year. Not sure that I see any land yet. However, my bike routes are getting better and better as I find little shortcuts. I know where to listen for the first peepers and wood frogs this spring. My little garden plot is acting as an anchor. I took a look around recently and I'm *months* ahead of where I was last year. This growing season will be so much easier now that the soil and I are acquainted. And what a thrill to have garlic and spinach and peas doing their little plant things out there so early!

March can be a pretty rough month if spring fever gets ahead of the rising temps and sunshine. I know this was always the longest month in middle school - maybe for students, but especially teachers! This March is off to a wicked mild start.  I just watched a flock of seven chickens get the urge to run clucking in a random direction. They stopped just seconds later and went back to their obsessive scratching and pecking. I think I know how they feel, getting that wild rush of energy for no apparent reason. That's what happened to me yesterday in the garden and now I have 8 cultivated beds and a very well-built compost heap that WILL be hot this spring if it's the last thing I do!


Genie of the Shell said...

Ooh, how did you overwinter the spinach, arugula, and radishes? Do you just leave them in the ground and cover them up? I am so new at all this gardening stuff.

Molly Crawford Reidy said...

I *accidentally* overwintered them. I planted them for winter harvest under a little hoop-house, which is a 3 ft. tall portable, plastic covered dome. Then it snowed. The dome collapsed. Underneath it were the plants.

A book I just read said plant them 6 weeks before the last hard frost, then cover them. Plastic worked for me.

I don't think arugula's worth it. Mine bolted (though I did eat them just now as I pulled them out of the soil.) The spinach loves life right now, so I'll do this again. The verdict is still out on the radishes.

Can you believe this weather!? Amazing!