With New York’s freezing weather giving way to milder temperatures, I can’t help but begin to look forward to spring. For my family (which includes my husband Mitch and my cat Minnie) that means plotting our urban garden planting strategy. Our most important decisions include picking out the heirloom tomato varieties we’ll grow from seed and deciding what other veggies to include this year, our sixth season.
This is always such an exciting time: the possibilities are endless; the potential pain still hypothetical. I can believe that instead of withering heat in July and August, the weather will be just hot and sunny enough to spur a bumper crop. I can believe that the high winds that whip our 20th floor Manhattan terrace, often knocking over our tomato plants and snapping limbs heavy with ripening fruit, will be calmed. I can believe that this year, I’ll find the perfect cucumber plants to grow in pots. (Last year, the variety of choice punked out on me, despite initially healthy vines.) And I can believe that the aphids that attacked my lettuce late last season will not be back.
Of course, just getting the crops started is quite a chore. There’s soil, peat pots and fertilizer to buy. There are trips to make to Home Depot and other local gardening supply stores. We need to test our automated watering system to make sure all the parts survived the winter. If not, it’s replacement time. And, we’ll need to decide whether we’ll add new crops (carrots? beets? catnip?) or stick with the tried and true.
Preparation starts now. After all, we must be ready in April to get our tomato, basil and pepper seedlings on their way so we can drop them into pots outdoor by mid-May.
Yes, there’s much to do, but this is the kind of work one can never tire of. Unlike that office job, work in the garden provides edible results. Now, that’s what I call rewarding!
So, urban gardeners…what plans are you making for spring? What new crops will you plant? And do you predict that this growing season will be especially productive?