It’s Feb. 12 in Kansas. That is nigh on to spring. We plant potatoes around St. Patrick’s day here — a mere five weeks away. A couple of days ago, I wouldn’t have thought that possible. The temperatures were in the 20s and it was snowin’ and blowin.’ But today the sun is shining, the air has that smell of damp earth and my gardening hormones have awakened.
Jenna Woginrich, a homesteading blogger and author, recently coined a new phrase in her blog — Barnheart: a condition of wanting to be a farmer, but unable to do so just yet. I would like to propose that many of us have Springheart — this is different from spring fever in that it usually hits quite awhile before spring’s actual arrival, usually on a day in winter, such as today, when the air is tantalizingly spring-like. But … we all know that the cold is not done with us, and the best we can do is hunt through catalogs for our favorite veggie varieties, order too many seeds and start them all in little pots in anticipation of the big plant-in-the-garden day.
It’s more than just wanting to garden that is in my blood today. I also am craving fresh, juicy, crunchy veggies and fruits — the kind that can only be had when they are freshly picked and eaten raw, preferably right out of the garden. Ohhh, crunchy baby lettuce, earthy asparagus and sweet, warm strawberries. Tomatoes and most fruits taste best when their sugars have been activated by the sun, bringing out the very essence of their flavor.
Fortunately, the farmers market opens the first of April; I plan to be there with bells on! Until it’s time to plant the potatoes, I’ll have to be satisfied breathing in the rich aroma of wet soil, ordering more seeds and trying out some new vinegarette recipes in anticipation of spring-greens salads.