Where Spring Spends The Off Season

Happy first day of spring everybody. Despite what the groundhog may have predicted for your area, in my backyard the equinox is bringing with it cold rain and wintry mix. But even though I’ve been bitching loud and long about winter, I have a confession. Spring has been hanging out in my backyard the whole time.

This burst of colorful geraniums takes away some of the winter doldrums. The 70 degree temp helps too.

Years ago Snowball bought a greenhouse for the Compound. This hobby greenhouse was only 8 feet by 12 with an easy to manage 8 foot roof peak. We used it to store potted plants for the garden over winter to get a head start on the landscaping. There really wasn’t any room for much else.

But now at the Homestead, with much more backyard space, we’ve constructed a gardening complex with two 12 by 12 foot greenhouses and an accompanying shed to store the myriad assortment of garden tools used to support the almost half acre of land. We got a late start on construction so we only have temporary heating and venting. As a result the temperature ranges from high 40’s at night to 80’s or 90’s in the full sunshine of day. It still works well enough to not only keep plants over winter but there is room to get an early start with seedlings.

Snowball was already thinning and transplanting her tomato crop in this picture taken the first week of March.

At the beginning of the year, Snowball found an example of marketing genius that combined buckets, dirt and seeds for oregano, basil and tomatoes. It’s like a tomato sauce starter kit from scratch. She has already had to thin the plants and transplanted them to several other pots .As of today the tomato plants are already 5 to 6 inches tall. The other herbs are coming along nicely too.

I love to go in the greenhouse on a sunny day when the temperature outside is freezing and inside its 80 with high humidity. I set up a chair In another area where we have a five foot table filled with potted geraniums and other warm weather flowers. I know most of these beauties aren’t the most difficult flowers to grow but when you have a pile of them exploding with color in the middle of February it does tend to brighten a grey winter’s day.

Now spring has arrived for real and in the next couple of weeks the workload on the Homestead is gonna increase several fold. Already the lists are being made for where we are setting up the work area for re-potting. The mowers have to be taken in to get tuned up and blades need to be sharpened. And I’ll be writing blog post longing for the quiet days of winter. Oh well. I’m not happy unless I have something to complain about.