Today in my community we are getting together for a little bit of visioning and stone soup lunch to celebrate the point in the calendar when the lenthening days turn the corner and all of a sudden Spring is on its way. If you graph the change in length of day, for the last three months it’s been barely changing, slowly slowly falling towards the winter solstice, then slowly slowly rising. Round about now though, it goes over the flattish hump on the top and start to dive steeply towards the equinox then on towards the long days of summer. If you are in the northern hemisphere, all that is reversed.
The Celts called it Imbolc, which literally means “in the belly”. Spring, though it may not show yet, is already here with its promise of new life, of sun and warm and dreams and ambitions and new projects. My chooks know it – they’ve started laying again. The geese know it – the two adult males scrap without really hurting each other, then run around with their wings out like soccer players with their shirt over their head, loudly proclaiming victory. The ducks know it – they’re investigating all sorts of weird places for nest suitability, even though both drakes were got by foxes this winter so sadly there will be no ducklings.
I’m hoping the asparagus hasn’t quite caught on yet, because the alternative explanation is that the wallabies are still getting in somewhere and having asparagus feasts every night. I’m still really cross about the way they completely decimated my nasturtiums and mint and lemon grass and vietnamese mint, all in one night, after finding a tiny little hole forced through by a bandicoot.
And it’s time for me to get back into my garden properly again, after several months of really neglecting it. I find that, if I manage just a few hours every week, it just keeps producing. But if I miss just a few weeks, the jobs that need to be done before the next job start to pile up and it all falls in a heap and my blithe “so easy to grow at least the basics of food” starts to sound really hollow!
Roots and perennials planting days today and tomorrow, and I’m going to get these seed potatoes in the bed that I’ve just moved the chooks off, and plant a new round of carrots, spring onions, beetroot, Jerusalem and globe artichokes in the shadehouse. I shall use my usual method for the spuds, planting them straight out into the bed, my usual method for the carrots and spring onions, planting them in individual little biodegradable pots, and my usual method for the beets, planting the seed in a seed box. And, with any luck I’ll get some time to look at all my perennial herbs and see what needs dividing, transplanting, or replacing at this still secret very start of the growing season.