Down and dirty

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

On your mark … get set … go!

If you’ll check out your calendar, you’ll notice one of my favorite benchmarks, March 20, just passed. That means spring has sprung, and spring means it’s time to get my fingernails dirty. As many of you know, vegetable gardening is one of my top three things to do that don’t require a partner.

March 20 is a bit of a false start, hereabouts. So far, except for my garlic, which has had its ever-lengthening, little green fingers poking up out of the snow all winter, and the bulbs (especially the crocuses), I don’t see a heck of a lot of springtime action. OK, maybe the turtledoves are making like springtime, but I’m talking flora.

I’ve been doing a few things I’ve never done before to get ready for gardening days. For one, I tried to start some spinach and some lettuce indoors. Yesterday, it was two weeks since I planted, and but for one tiny sprout, I got nothing. OK, so I guess I’ll go buy some vermiculite and do it like the books say to do it. I also turned the steer manure into my garden early. I’ve heard that it’s a better way to get the nitrogen into the soil—it isn’t so “hot”—but it’s kind of an experiment. Speaking of experiments, I did find out that beets don’t overwinter; my carrots did, but the last time I tried that, I used mature carrots, and many split or bolted when it finally started to get warm. We’ll see.

Hunter and I also planted some pansies in a planter out on the side yard on Sunday. I see pansies planted at all times of year around here, so we’ll see. It felt mighty good to be digging around in the dirt with a spoon.

If you think things are hopeless, and real spring (last freeze date, May 15) is never going to get here, I’ve got some hope to offer: Yesterday, I’m sure I heard a hummingbird tik-tikking along. Hang in there, baby.