The Value of Waiting

It’s been a long string of grey days with temperatures just warm enough to leave the snow receding, giving  back precious inch by precious inch of last year’s garden (though it’s still muddy and cold enough that outdoor work requires Wellingtons and gloves and an assortment of cold-weather gear that looks more akin to cross country skiing than spring gardening).

I’m trying to embrace this time, knowing that I still have six weeks of work before the school where I teach releases its instructors for the summer, but it’s hard not to be chomping at the bit, wishing away these days for days with chickens! and fresh vegetables! and soil to prepare!  That said, I’m trying as hard as I can to make lists and get the house in order, so when the sun comes out, I’m not inside cleaning out closets and organizing canning jars in the basement.

This morning, I’ve been working on a list of tasks to help me remember that there are plenty of indoor tasks that can keep me busy until the outdoor tasks begin to gobble up my spare time.  I’ve been reading more and more about composting in Pleasant and Martin’s great book The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, and in two weeks, I’ll be picking up my worms for vermiculture, so I need to finish building both those bins (out of a pair of 5 gallon buckets) and and the outdoor bins, which will be constructed out of used pallets that we are recycling.

The future home of our chickens (photographed last year). This year's plan involves an extensive renovation and whitewashing the inside of the coop-area.

Later this weekend, we’ll finish framing out the cold weather chicken coop, so (hopefully, on Monday) I can begin to whitewash (using hydrated lime, water, and salt) both it and last year’s chicken tractor.  We’re also working on building a hoop house, so we can “semi-free-range” our meat birds (we need to semi-free-range because of a host of predators native to our neighborhood).   I’m also going to set up our incubators (grossly-prematurely) to ensure that we have everything we need for the chick arrival date, which also happens to be the first day of finals week.

I know most of you are already in places where the grass has overtaken the snow and ceded your garden back to spring, but what were you doing to prepare in the weeks before you could be communing with the soil?


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