The Way out of Weather Purgatory

13 Mar

It’s becoming painfully clear to me that Iowa is in a state of weather purgatory.  With temperatures yo-yoing between 25 and 50 degrees with chances of sunlight bursting through the clouds at an all-time low, snow flurries and rain showers reign supreme, and mood swings are running rampant.  The forecast for next week doesn’t look like much of an improvement, although temps may reach into the 60’s, which would be a welcome heat-wave.  Another pattern has emerged from out of the grey and it has to do with survival.  This winter there has been one constant force keeping me from snapping like a dry twig and killing those around me for otherwise minor infractions; The cats for staring at me with their vacant eyes, uttering low guttural pleas to be fed hours before it’s time, Eric for asking me, “What’s up?” too many times over a ten minute period, or even the man on the street who is just being polite asking me how I am doing today.  What is this amazing force keeping the streets of Grinnell from running red?  My garden.  I cling feverishly to the dream that one day, I may taste the fresh splash of a juicy tomato on my tongue, feel the sun beating mercilessly down on my shoulders as I dig up dandelions by their roots, and bask in the opulence of Tomato Forest 2011 (plus some other veggies).

So what do I do when all my seedlings are happily transplanted into bigger pots, watered, and I don’t have anything else to do with them besides gaze lovingly at them?  I plan.  I take my spanky new tape measure out into the yard wearing a red puffy vest, purple calf-length yoga pants, and a knit hat, and I measure the yard our landlord has perhaps foolishly given us the go ahead to turn into a garden.  The sunniest part of the yard is a good 25×25 feet.  Being a person who learns from their mistakes, the plan is not to cram as many plants as I can into this space, but to actually follow the advice of countless tomato growing websites and gardening manuals.  As you can see in my badly drawn diagram, if I plant five rows of five, and figure out some other place to tuck the peppers (Which are less important anyway) I can have two plants of each type excepting the three types that only have one remaining seedling, or in the case of the wildly over-productive Cuban Yellow Grape, only need one plant period.  The best part of this is, there is still more than half our side-yard left in which I can plant other things which I will undoubtedly start to pick up at nurseries when the season kicks into full swing.  I’m thinking peas and beans for the side of the house along with spinach and another whack at lettuce since they actually prefer a little more shade.  Along the random half-functional fence there is a great spot for the blueberry bush I’ve always wanted, and then the sunny stretch nearest to the road can be an assorted squash free-for-all.

For now, however, this is just a plan waiting to be put into motion, and I only have eyes for my little life-savers:  My tomatoes.

tomato babies!


One Response to “The Way out of Weather Purgatory”

  1. aurora March 14, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    My nasturtiums started to sprout on Saturday! And this morning I saw a few tiny parsleys peeking out — I’m hanging in there for real spring too ;->

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