My first sensory harbinger of spring is a scent, lifted softly on the evening wind. If I concentrate on localizing it, it dissipates like a ghost, but if I let the scent carry itself lazily across the moving landscape, I can detect its components: one part tangy sage brush, two parts early blooming jasmine, and one part citrus flower. Hubby and I drive through residential neighborhoods at night inhaling this glorious scent and knowing that spring is on the cusp, returning like an old friend too long separated. If I ever leave Southern California, I will dearly miss this glorious scent.
With this scent on the wind, I know it is time to take paper plans into the realm of garden reality. It is time to clear the vegetable beds of gone-to-seed winter vegetables and weeds, pull the tomato supports out of the garage rafters, and begin planting early vegetables and annual flowers. I am making good use of my nitrogen fixing winter veggies. Hubby chops them up and tosses them in a nearby bed. We’re adopting a “let it rot” philosophy to re-enrich the soil and cut down on the amount of yard waste. We never have enough room in the garbage cans for the massive amounts of verdant green the garden can churn out.
I place the vegetable supports based on the now revised garden schematics, accounting for less room between plants than last year. The goal is to fill in the empty spaces with beneficial perennials in the hopes of choking out the weeds. At first glance, I have not been successful at growing perennials from seed. I am planning a more concentrated effort of starting them in small pots first, but that requires potting soil (I’m all out right now). I need to finish cleaning the old supports with a diluted bleach solution – good sanitation is the cornerstone of a disease free garden. I am excited to try out my new acquisitions in plant support from Gardener’s Supply Company, two more tomato towers, a set of large flower supports, and a cucumber trellis.
My early spring vegetable keyhole bed has radishes and nasturtiums, but I cannot yet tell if any of the other seeds have sprouted because the plants are still small. However, they look suspiciously like tomatoes instead of lettuces, carrots, leeks and broccoli. The tomatoes will have their day – specifically this weekend at Tomatomania! If you are a tomato-maniac in search of amazing heirloom plants, this is the hottest ticket in town.