Last weekend, we woke up to a casing of ice over every bud and twig. It was a stunning sight as we walked (carefully) around our neighborhood, but it was the sound that was particularly impressive. Snow cracked and sighed under our boots; trees creaked under the weight of ice and shattered other branches as they fell down; and every now and then, a power box exploded in the distance.
As beautiful as it was, I am relieved that it’s over. Nothing in this area is quite prepared for ice and snow–neither flora, fauna, nor people. The Monday after the storm evidenced the toll on trees, with huge limbs all over the city. And after hearing stories of many people homebound or without electricity, we’ve all welcomed the dreary wet (but mild) weather this week.
My potted plants were raggedy after the ice melted away (a better gardener would have pulled them inside–or at least under the awning–before the snow hit). All of these plants are entering their third year of growth, but I haven’t pruned them before. And while I pruned cautiously at first, I ended up clipping away about a third to a half of each plant. I removed soft stems and decayed leaves until I was left with stumpy but–I have to admit–fairly rugged-looking woody herbs. I think now my rosemary, lavender, and sage are ready for spring growth.
As a novice gardener, I still tend to feel badly about pruning and thinning. Our first summer gardening, any sign of life was a cause for celebration! Why on earth would we pull up a perfectly good lettuce just because it was a little too close to another one? But each season we see more and more the wisdom of giving new things a space to grow. Ahh, it really is one of my favorite gardening parables: our need to prune and be pruned.
I also needed to thin the braising greens and lettuces I started two weeks ago. Last year I had good luck with starts on my window sill, so we haven’t yet invested in an indoor growing system with a hanging fluorescent light, etc. Unfortunately, the lettuce and greens starts are pretty leggy. As a result, I’ve put them under a desk lamp with a fluorescent bulb. I’m not sure if it will help much at this point, but I’ll try it for a week.
I set aside my thinned sprouts and thought, hey, those are still edible. So I put them on my tomato bagel. After nurturing these little seedlings for two weeks, it seemed a little cannibalistic to eat them in front of their compatriots. I got over it quickly though.
And the final check on the to-do list this weekend was getting fava beans and peas out in the soil. Here’s to hoping that the birds aren’t too peckish after a hard winter and don’t figure out where the peas are!