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  • Writer's pictureKaren Selk

Early Spring Around Here

We live on the west coast where we can harvest food all year round. One of the great things about this west coast gardening is we are still eating the carrots we planted last July and over-wintered in the garden, while we watch the new carrots poke their heads through the soil. Early spring (mid-Feb – May) is THE busiest time for all the gardening, food and ornamental. Both Terry and I think it is the most exciting and beautiful as well. Right now, everything is popping out from rhubarb and apple blossoms to rhododendrons and tulips. The last of the pruning is finished, both fruit trees and perennials. The potting shed with heat mats and two layers of grow lights is bursting beyond capacity. The onions that got seeded in late January are in their permanent home in the veggie garden, along with the sunflowers, zinnias and marigolds. All the other starts are in various stages of being potted up from small cells into 4” pots. All the counter space whether under lights or in front of the window is full of trays with plants. I barely have enough room to write in my calendar what we have done every day. It is still just a bit early to harden off (put outside during the day) the heat loving veggies, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, so we are putting up temporary concrete brick and board “benches” in the greenhouse to hold some of the trays because it is time to get the squashes, cucs and beans started and there is no more room! The rest of the veggie garden that lives under a layer of hay all winter is getting its blanket pushed into walking paths between plantings and is starting to look like a summer garden. Peas and sweet peas are climbing up trellises, the first potatoes peeked through the straw this morning, quinoa is almost ready to thin and the early plantings of carrots, beets, spinach, kale, lettuce, radishes and arugula are all growing very well.

The garden is a great balance for an artist in so many ways. I love being outside but sometimes the techniques I am doing for my artwork have me working indoors. However, the garden calls to me every day eight months of the year so I feel the sun and wind on my face and stretch my hamstrings. The garden keeps me grounded with tending to the existing plants as well as planting and cultivating seeds. The garden feeds and nourishes our bodies and souls with wholesome, organic food. The garden reveals new treasures and beauty every day, just what an artist needs to grow. I am ever grateful that my life is such that I have a place to plant, grow and nurture in more ways than one.


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