Saturday, April 14, 2007


Well, not quite.

Up here it staying above freezing at night and we're seeing temperatures in the 40's during the day. There's some fugly leftover snow piles around, but the Borough has gotten the street sweepers out to start getting the gravel up. I've taken off my snow tires because the roads are completely dry.

But it's not summer yet, oh no. Technically it's Breakup, which is what we have instead of spring. We don't get the gradual changing of seasons. One day we go from flat, claustrophobic winter clouds to fluffy summer ones; one day it precipitates water (I hesitate to call it rain) instead of snow; in a couple week we'll go from dreary, brown leafless trees to full-blown summer greenery over a weekend.

But until then there's still the risk of frost, sub-zero temperatures, and even snow.

State law requires that you take the studded tires off your vehicle May 1 ($5 a stud if they catch you - at an average of 36 studs per tire that can be spendy), but you still can't call it summer. Why? Killer frosts.

Up here you don't dare plant your garden until after Memorial Day weekend. As a matter of fact, that's the prime planting weekend, and anyone who plays with dirt will be working around the clock to get those plants in the ground. And your garden still might not be safe; last year we had a killer frost two days after Memorial Day and I lost all my tomato plants.

I started my own seeds this year. I figured I lost $20 worth of of plants to a killer frost last year, so I could spend that much trying to start my own. Up on Hubby's dresser under an almost antique plant light that's been floating around here forever are about 10 tomato and 10 Forget-Me-Not seedlings. Little bitty guys! I look at them every day, trying to decide when I can put them in pots. You're really supposed to wait until they have four leaves, but I'm just so eager for spring to be here!

But even if they sprouted those other leaves today it'd still be five weeks before I can put them in the ground.

I'm really looking forward to my garden this year. Grandpa divided the huge garden box we used last year into quarters; the theory is that if we can get to more of the surface we can plant more. And I learned that I can plant things much slower than last year, so I'm going to pack them in.

I have more seeds that don't need to be started near as early as my tomatoes and flowers: sweet peas, romaine lettuce, and I'm thinking about some broccoli. I've started some herbs, oregano, basil, and parsley, which grow well int he shade and can be tucked between the tomato plants.

But I want to do it NOW!

I'll just have to content myself with wearing short sleeves and open-toed shoes and enjoy wantching baby crawl around on last year's grass in Grandpa's yard.

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