By Diane Lockspeiser
It was wet and chilly on Mothers’ Day, but when the sun came out for a while here I went up the hill to work on the main garden. The early seedlings that I had planted were doing well despite frosts: peas, carrots, bok choy, kale, and mizuna (a mild type of mustard green). The garlic was already about eight inches tall, the asparagus spears were pushing up through its mulch, and some of the strawberries were flowering along with the cherry and pear trees. Flower buds were just appearing on the apple trees and the sorrel plant was lush with its leaves that taste like sour apple. I snacked on them as I listened to the church bell ringing from the valley and the chickadees playing “Marco Polo” in the woods. It felt like heaven.
I had intended to do just a little weeding before adding more mulch around the seedlings, but the raspberry bed called to me. Its mulch had long ago faded into soil and it was full of weeds. Difficult and prickly to get in there once the raspberry plants fill out, it’s much easier to weed while they are still just sticks with little leafy buds on them.
Weeding in general is much easier in Springtime while the weeds are still small. Tiny weeds can be “scuffled” by just scraping the surface of the soil. Getting out the whole roots of the deeply rooted varieties like dandelion and red clover is more possible, preventing later regrowth. Removing any weed before it goes to seed makes for less work in the long run. There are some that I like to let flower in certain places because they’re pretty, but then I need to make sure to cut those flowers before they spread seeds.
Before I knew it, I was wet and muddy. I had heard the noontime siren from the firehouse in town but kept working as dark clouds gathered and thickened. It was well into the afternoon before the rain got too strong to ignore and sent me inside to finally eat a meal—brunch, at that point—unless you count the greens I had been munching on.
My children waited until later in the day to call me. They know how I am. It was my kind of day, bonding with my Mother (Earth, that is).~