Hello Mr. Robin, or How I Spent the Morning in the Basement


It was almost a two years ago that I posted this article about the harbingers of spring.  It was my second post on Spirit of Clay.  Amazing to look back and see all that has changed and all that has stayed the same. . . . The birds are still chirping, but I’m not the whirling garden dervish I was 2 years ago. Maybe because spring seems to be arriving a bit later this year. Or hubby hasn’t built those new raised beds. Or the yard is currently a mud puddle after the recent rain.  Ah well . . . Enjoy this trip down memory lane.

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In our mid-Atlantic home, spring arrived in full force this last Saturday. What’s my harbinger of spring? The robins. They were everywhere. Bickering in the trees. Fighting over worms. They swarmed my backyard. While I wasn’t happy they were thinning the ranks of my soil builders, I knew it meant I couldn’t delay any longer. As much as I wanted to be outside, I knew it was more important to get to the basement and finish getting seeds started. I had started a few days earlier, planting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and celery. Saturday I followed up with fennel, artichokes, anise hyssop and parsley. Monday I got in the last of the seeds – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatillos. My set up is a bit crude. I have two aluminum shop lights hanging from chains in our basement. Each lamp has a cool and warm flourescent bulb. They hover over a piece of drywall supported by two sawhorses extended to their full height. I have two heating pads specifically made for growing seeds under the flats. I use a clear plastic cover over the flats until the plants get too tall. I can adjust the lights necessary. I keep a spray bottle near by to gently keep the soil moist. This winter I read that you should cover the flats with black paper until the seeds germinate. It supposedly helps keep the heat up and ensures the seeds get enough darkness to germinate. A week later and the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower have sprouted and seem healthy. So far, experiment successful. The other harbinger is the arrival of plants. The leeks arrived a few weeks ago. Five pounds of potatoes arrived today. Ah, to work the soil and get those little chits in the ground. Only to be followed by vichyssoise. But wait, did I really read that it is supposed to snow tonight. How could this be? I am supposed to be in the garden this weekend cleaning up what I didn’t get to last fall. Where did my spring go? Did my red-breasted harbinger retreat so quickly? Sigh. I guess there is nothing to do except continue to tend my seedlings.

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About Claytastic

Health coach. Writer. Teacher. Artist. Living an amazing life with MS. Interested in bringing peace and beauty into people's lives.
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