August is such a funny month, the weather taunts us like a temptress, letting us feel the warmth on our faces, and causing beanies to be flung aside in the promise of all the good things to come in spring. And then she snaps her fingers and it is cold again. Bitterly cold. Freezing air straight off snow covered mountains whip right through to the bone.
And then she does it again, and you begin to think – “surely this is it – the end of winter?” As you unpack gardening tools from a dusty shed and shake the spiders out of seed trays. But she is still toying with us. There is no getting away from the fact August is still winter.
I am so impatient to get started. I am tired of the winter weather, where the only promise of hope is the deceptively unseasonable warm days which appear like a mirage in the desert. Surely there must be something I can do. I grab my spade and head over to the garden, but find the soil quite sodden from the rain in the night. I take my spade back to the shed. Digging sodden soil does it no favours. I try to pull a few weeds, but the wet earth holds them tight. It isn’t worth the effort. On another day – a drier day this would be an easier task.
I sort through my shed and look at my tools – do I need new ones? Well I could go to the garden centre, just to have a look… There is vast array of shiny new gadgets, some I never knew existed, but now I must have. There is nothing like time spent in a garden centre to feel like you are in charge of your gardening experience. Although I avoid all temptation to buy seedlings – not yet. It is still too cold. Well… maybe one or two. I can take care of them in the greenhouse until the time is right.
Still feeling restless, I rummage through my seed box. Surely I can plant something now. And then I come across them – the peppers and tomatoes. They need a good head start so they are big enough to go outside once winter turns to spring and the risk of frost finally ceases to be a worry. They need a bit of extra care, with it being so cold outside.
I’m up the job. I can nurture these tiny seedlings with a level of attention that isn’t found in the heady days of spring where there is so much going on that some seeds are lucky to get a label, leading to all kinds of confusion. These winter babies have attention lavished upon them. Their trays washed thoroughly in a mild bleach solution with a toothbrush. Then they are filled with the finest seed raising mix and each seed is gently placed at a depth precisely three times deeper than the size of the seed and tucked in to the soil with a warm gentle watering.
August can do what she likes outside with her tempestuous ways. I am indoors in the warm and I am gardening, albeit just a little bit.