Smell Like Dirt

Thursday, April 4, 2013
“In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
 - Margaret Atwood 

When we were in town last week, I ran into the hardware store to pick up a couple bags of seed starting mix.

"This is so exciting!" the clerk said as she rung me up. I tend to agree.

By gum, it may not look like spring around here (ahem, sub-zero mornings, 3 feet + of lake ice, and a good 12-18 inches of compacted snow in the woods), but at  least since I started the first batch of seeds on Sunday afternoon it smells a little bit like spring. Now every time  you walk into the cabin, you're greeted  with the earthy aroma of warm, moist soil, a smell I most associate with the interior of greenhouses. Ahhhh! Just a single whiff gives you hope!

To date, nothing's sprouted, but any day now the first herbs, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and more will be poking up their first little green shoots.This marks our third summer of serious gardening and I'm hoping for another successful and fruitful year.  Each year we get a little wiser in our gardening ways, but one of the joys of gardening is it unpredictability.

As I observe our eating habits and how well vegetable types grow, I try to modify our garden each year so we get the best delicious bang for our buck. Considering that I still have a gallon bag stuffed with cabbage in our freezer, I'm cutting back considerably on the amount of cabbage I plant this year and will instead increasing the amount of broccoli and kohlrabi . I'm also experimenting with a few new types of tomatoes since we can never get enough garden grown tomatoes around here. Whenever Andy asked why a batch of soup was so good this winter, the answer was always, "garden tomatoes." We'll also be planting more carrots and potatoes and I have my fingers crossed for a better squash year.

A few brand new veggies/fruits we'll be trying out this year are ginormous kohlrabi (you harvest them when they're 12 inches in diameter rather than 2-3"!), a watermelon with a short growing season, and eggplant.Will any of it grow? Who knows?

One thing we won't be doing this year is expanding our gardening space. Instead we'll be trying to use the space we've established over the last couple years as wisely as we can.

It's amazing to think that what is right now a teeny little seed in the dirt will, in a few months' time, be tall, green, strong and  producing pounds of food. For me, gardening's worth it just for that miraculous affirmation: that with a little love and care, the tiniest speck of an idea can be transformed into something incredible.  

Are you gardening this year? What are you planning? Have you started your seeds yet?    



  1. It is pretty amazing isn't it. A tiny speck grows and grows, and ending up on our dinner plate. I love the sounds of all your garden plans Ada and hope that snow shifts for you soon.

  2. I am so with Cityhippiefarmgirl on this. Hope Spring springs soon for you. I am not fond of cabbage/kale but I am big on kohlrabi, the small kind though. Haven't tried planting it though. One I am always big on are herbs. Growing, drying for dishes as well as infusions, part of sorbets and sachets. Little German witch;-)

  3. I've been thinking a lot about my garden but haven't gotten to planting any seeds. Maybe this weekend. Spring is almost here!

  4. I realize I have been reading your blog for a couple years now, because I have been waiting for you to start planting again! Can't wait to see all the bounty this year!


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