I've always looked forward to St. Patrick's Day, as much for the green food as for the official end of winter and start of the growing season. Though not quite as adrenaline-pumping as Easter (chocolate bunnies and the Rocketeer NES game were amazing to 9-year-old me), St. Paddy's had (and still has) a certain charm to it. We would watch Darby O'Gill and the Little People, put green food coloring in foods that really had no reason to be green and pretend to Irish for a day. Times have changed and no green dye was consumed, nor any ham and potatoes; Darby was left lonely and I didn't say anything in a terrible Irish accent, but one thing stays a constant for me on St. Paddy's - planting snow peas!
I had high hopes for a St. Patrick’s Day-themed post for S+S; I had been working on a seitan and potato dish and was aiming to post about it a week in advance of the holiday, but the recipe wasn't where I wanted it and “real life” took precedence so the holiday meandered past and here we are. The upside is that this is the first time in years that I've sowed peas on their customary planting benchmark.
The winter of 2013-2014 was a doozie for our area, to the point where there was not one Ohio-grown peach to be had last year. Luckily, this winter seems to have been more moderate, and the last 10 days of above-freezing temperatures have banished the snow and softened the ground enough for us to spend some time in the garden. The flower garden is full of blooming crocuses this week, and the spring bulbs Meghan and I planted in August are beginning to peek through the soil now - if we could only tell by their current shapes what they were… Though I’m fairly certain this one in particular is a hyacinth.
Neither Meghan nor I have ever been big drinkers, and I've spent enough hours as a bartender and in bands to have had my fill of the bar scene, so bar crawls aren't really our speed. I mostly stayed off of social media and went about it like another day at the office (literally) - though I did wear a green shirt to ward off anybody with an itchy pincher finger.
After work, I was finally able to take down the tomato trellises and bean poles from last year, remarking to Meghan that I’d forgotten how quickly winter had come, so quickly that the garden sat uncleared until now. It felt good to uproot the remaining brown matter and discover some lively green parsley which had refused to yield to winter’s bite. It must be saving itself for mine.
Meghan hung one of our 2 mason bee houses under the sparse branches of the weeping cherry tree; this one will be for native bees to nest in, and the other will be hung near the apple and peach trees and populated with purchased larvae. These bees are solitary and do not hive; the females are all ‘queens’ and can mate with males to produce 1 single larva, which they deposit into the back of their little bee apartment. They do not produce honey, at least not much, so being mason bee stewards is for a healthy garden ecosystem and some help with early spring pollination. This is our first time hosting mason bees, hopefully we see some activity soon!
Once the snow pea area was cleared, I had to condition the soil with dry peat moss, as our soil is extremely clay-heavy. It’s a nice little workout, and a heavy reminder of why the previous owners had raised beds and why my next garden project is replacing them with wooden beds and expanding them out. Once the soil was ready, all I had to do was evenly distribute the peas in my furrow and cover them by hand. It’s not hard work, but it felt so good to be planting again. I missed out on a lot of this last year during our house hunt and eventual move… Two years feels like an eternity since the last time I was out digging furrows in the cold spring air. So now it’s just a matter of waiting and watching; I have seeds to start inside, tilling to do and raised beds to build, I’m sure the time will fly by.
Finally, the second half of my blog’s title is relevant! I’ll be posting more often about the garden’s progress as things start growing, and can’t wait to have fresh produce for recipes again.
Boo winter, yay spring!