Spring is definitely in the air in Central Ohio. It’s been in the 60s for the past week or so, and I’ve been walking home from work without a coat. The forsythia in the park is in full bloom, crocuses and daffodils are starting to flower, and tulips are sending up leaves.

Today, I got home from work and started cleaning up the yard. There are still some twigs and dead leaves on the ground, and lots perennials to clean up. Tomorrow, I’ll start planting seeds in the shadier of my two vegetable beds, so today, I turned over the soil in it and added some peat moss, manure and compost. It is amazing how light and rich the soil in those beds is! Where I grew up, clay was about an inch under the surface, so this type of work would require some serious time with a hoe or rototiller. Instead, I just shoveled under the soil amendments and raked the bed flat. If you’re not using raised beds, you’re making yourself a lot of extra work!

I did find a few surprises in the bed: three pretty robust Swiss chard plants were sending up new growth, and in some of the other beds, the celery, mint and parsley had come back strong, and the chives are sprouting in the herb bed. I lifted out the deeply rooted Swiss chard plants and saved them to add back in tomorrow. There were some turnip sprouts from last fall’s planting, but none looked strong enough to survive a transplant, so I just pulled them out.

Inside, my seedlings are coming along really well. The cucumbers look healthiest of all, with all six cells filled with robust plants setting out their first true leaves. The kale and lettuce are getting leggy, and the purslane sprouted and died, but I’m not too worried – I was hoping they’d give me an early crop, but I reserved plenty of seeds for direct sowing. The tomatoes are doing great! Almost all sprouted. I’m starting to see the peppers and eggplant sprout as well. Slow, but steady. I’ve still got six weeks until I can set them out.

Sprouts!

In other news, my fruit trees and bushes are set to arrive in about two weeks – so time to clear some space for them! I also have two blueberry bushes that overwintered in their nursery pots and are looking pretty good despite it – I’ll have to find a place for them as well.

So tomorrow brings the first day of spring, and the start of the outdoor gardening season!

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