The Outer Banks Garden
By Kip Tabb –
I spent the morning thanking Mother Nature for the blessing of spring and cursing the weeds that infest my garden. I suppose I should take it all in stride, accept that the same forces that turn my garden lush and fruitful are the same forces that the weeds seek in their quest for life.
I’m just not that understanding though. I rejoice when I pull a weed from the soil, trailing 18” of root and hundreds of rhizomes.
But the real joy in a garden is in witnessing an inevitable cycle of life.
This was a remarkably hard winter on the Outer Banks, and spring seemed to take its good old time in getting here. Even the fruit trees and flowers appeared to wait in anticipation for the final winter storm to pass and after a number of years of planting a backyard garden, it does seem as though everything is a good one or two weeks behind schedule.
Things are catching up.
The sugar snaps are coming along nicely, promising a sweet snack right from the garden to the belly by Labor Day. The carrots managed to overwinter surprisingly well and it’s as though they have decided to go from barely living crowns of green to ready to harvest in a week. The garlic shrugged winter’s misery off in a way that seemed to suggest it was saying, “Is that all you’ve got?”
The garden looks fallow and empty right now, except for those splotches of green where seedlings have painted the ground in the most intense green imaginable, or plants that have learned to live through winter’s fury still thrive. That will change soon. The beans I planted are showing the first signs of sprouting; by the end this month the tomatoes and peppers will be in the ground, and then I’ll see what else I feel like planting.
It is a simple joy, working in the garden. Not easy by any means, at least not the way I garden, but a simple way to observe and accept the ways of nature.
Spring in every culture is a time of renewal of hope; a time when the dull colors of winter become vibrant and intense. And so it is again this year. Even if there are one or two weather setbacks a summer comes on, there is no longer any doubt that spring is once again a part of our lives.