It is April, beautiful April in my backyard.
When I walk into my garden, I know that no matter what goes on in Washington, D.C., I have this patch of peace, of paradise, to turn to.
And there is so much promise out there, now, beckoning.
Cherries, apples and blueberries are in full bloom!
Onions are rising straight up out of the dark soil and straw that make their beds and baby beets, lettuce and spinach are sprouting, everywhere.
Everything is growing!
So why is April the cruelest month for gardeners? I have 20+ tomato plants in my basement, hard by 20+ sweet peppers, varying varieties begging to be planted.
Eggplant are rising up in their cells, growing taller and stronger every single day.
Raised from seed, started in early February, lovingly cared for, they are so tall, so hardy looking, so ready.
My fingers itch to set them out in the deep rich soil I have prepped for them. But I can’t.
If I put them out now, they will flounder; they will stop growing. They will be delayed in both flowering and fruiting. Why?
The days are warm; we’ve already hit the low 80’s a couple of times. But the soil is still too cold as are the nights. Setting Mediterranean plants in cool Pennsylvania soil now would mean later, smaller harvests of tomatoes and quite likely no harvest of either peppers or eggplant.
So, like all the gardeners everywhere who are poised to plant in April, I wait for the warm soil and soft breezes of mid-May when I fill all these beds with the plants I have been spending time with, worrying over and feeding for 3 months.