This being Vermont, any minute now we\’re sure to have a snow storm. But right now, the sun is out, the wind is calm, and the temperature is a balmy thirty-something. It feels like May outside.
In my vegetable garden, which is close to the house\’s south-facing wall, it feels like late May and, according to my spinach planting philosophy, I\’ve missed my window of opportunity. My spinach planting philosophy, acquired from an old issue of The Mother Earth News, is to plant spinach while there is still snow on the ground. You put the seeds right on the cold white stuff, and you get a fabulous crop of spinach when your neighbors are still planting theirs.
For two years in a row now, the snow has melted so quickly that I\’ve missed my chance. But planting spinach on frozen dirt is almost as good, and that is what I did today, or tried to. The problem was that my garden is under a foot of compost that hasn\’t been worked into the ground. I dug my fork into several spaces and managed to come up with bits of dirt that I mixed in with the goat bedding (a souvenir of my girls!) that constitutes my compost. While I was moving the dirt around I came across an earthworm, pink and alive and wiggling.
I am a devotee of square-foot gardening. My vegetable garden consists of a large square, bounded by thick beams, and divided into nine squares, 4\’x4\’ each, with plank-covered walkways in between. If I sound a bit compulsive about this, it\’s because I am.
Today I decided to plant two squares of spinach and one of arugula, and my mouth literally watered as I was putting in the latter. I love arugula with a passion, and I read on the seed package that you can freeze the stuff, something I\’ve never tried before.
Before planting, I went into the garage and fetched six reeds, about four feet long. These I lay on top of the square, to make sixteen one-foot squares. In this last part, I don\’t use a ruler, but just try to get the squares roughly even. Then I dropped nine seeds, arranged in rows of three, in each square. I didn\’t even have to poke holes for the seeds–they just disappeared among the straw and goat poop. I have faith that they will find a molecule of dirt for their little roots to latch onto.
Then I put my tools away and sat on a garden chair and turned my face up to the sun.