The Spring Surge: Stand Back!

Morning Light: Winter Woods
Image by fred1st via Flickr

The Spring Surge has begun! The energy expended outdoors in late March through early September is directly proportional to length of day. Even days no longer these first days of the new season are exhausting!

We’ll have asparagus next year because of the work I did this week. The south-facing space in front of the garden shed will be the location. The soil was deep (once the sod was removed) and I’ve planted 11 plants, which, at the predicted half pound of product per plant, should be sufficient for our family of two. The dog was especially interested in the bone meal that provided the recommended surge of phosphorus for the roots. Smelled like food to him!

We left the three failed blueberry transplants in place (relocated when we built the ANNex in 2006), and added three more (one each of three varieties) over on the small flat outside the kitchen window. I top-dressed all with some sulphur pellets left over  from the year I over-treated the old garden space with wood ash and had to ADD acid back. Blueberries need an acid soil; we’ll mulch with pine needles as well. These (along with the asparagus) will have to be fenced from deer browse. It’s a constant battle.

So more and more, outdoor time replaces computer time, and the blog and other writing trails off. The lot of it–indoor and outdoor–will grind to a halt after next Friday’s hand surgery. So all the more urgency to get things done. Screens go up today. Mowers checked for oil. Dry deadfall sawed up and stacked for cool mornings when I’m single-handed. Press deadlines met or at least drafted for the times I’ll have to dictate such things in Dragon Dictate.

It’s going to be a weird and busy and frustrating spring. I’ll have to learn to be a spectator rather than a performer on this stage.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I enjoyed reading about your outdoor springtime activities. Vicarious gardening for a condo resident. On another note, I linked my whole address book to your wonderful essay on soil. I got enthusiastic responses from all over, especially from my fellow Botanic Garden volunteers. The president of the Garden said she will be reading more of your essays, after reading the soil essay a second time.