Spring is the best season of all. It is like the biggest fresh start and I am determined this season will be even better than last year, although I can quite happily say I have now mastered growing in a drought, and I learnt from the year before what it was like to garden in a soggy summer, so surely we are in for an ideal summer this year?
So it is with great hope and expectation that I have planted my seeds and have nurtured them lovingly in my green house. I love just hanging out in there among the fresh green growth and running my hands over the tomatoes and inhaling deeply to take in that distinctive tomato smell. I have tenderly taken them from tiny seeds to tiny seedlings and transplanted them into rich potting mix so they can grow strong and have the best start for a season of promise.
I have begun the process of hardening them off, taking them out in the big wide open and like a mum anxious about a child’s first day at kindy I was reluctant to walk away from them out there on their own, lest a freak wind came along and knocked them over and dried their soil of all moisture so I didn’t go far and checked on them often – probably a little too often.
I became a bit obsessive with the weather forecast, knowing that even though it was beginning to feel like summer, the risk of frost was still a possibility. It has happened before and could still easily happen again. One year the frost came a week after Labour weekend and took me completely by surprize and wiped out a third of my tomatoes. Fool me once … That was a hard lesson learnt and I will not be so complacent again.
With each day my plants are growing visibly bigger and so is the excitement. There is an expectation of pure gardening delight as the day that is deemed safe enough to entrust my wee seedlings out into the big wide world coincidentally happens to be a public holiday. An extended weekend with the sole focus of filling the empty beds. Beds that have been sweated over, dug over, weeded thoroughly and had compost mixed in and prepared for this very day.
I make a ritual over planting the tender bean and corn seeds into the rich warm soil. I could have got away with planting them a week or so earlier, but there is something about doing it all at the same time that it truly feels like the beginning of something amazing. It is like a big race and all the training and preparation has been done and all the seedlings are lined up on the starting line and the starter’s gun fires and we’re off.
There is no need to hurry – we have all weekend, to make sure everything is settled in and in the right place. Each plant can be placed with all the care and attention that will give it the best start. Planting out the garden is an event to be savoured, after all this symbolic start to a fabulous growing season only happens once a year.
So everyone take your places – the main event is about to commence.