People theorize about how the simple movement of butterfly wings could have the power to stir hurricanes on the other side of the planet, but here on the north Oregon coast I am convinced that it is the daffodil that wields the true power over the Late Winter Weather Gods.
Consider the evidence. Every February without fail, we have a spell of magical, early spring-ish kind of weather. Sunny days, mild temperatures- warm enough to make you strip down to just a t-shirt if you are working even a little bit hard outside. The air begins to hum with anticipation, and you can just hear the plants starting to yawn and stretch, their roots reaching around in the soil for the plant kingdom equivalent of a strong cup of coffee. It's a glorious tease that lasts a week or so, and inevitably all the buried daffodil bulbs begin to shoot up from the ground, bright green spears poking through the soil to join the crocus and snow drops that are already blooming and enjoying the weather.
Tragically, just as you are making plans for another jam-packed week of really getting a lot done outside, one of the daffodils has to go and bloom.
And then it's all over, because inevitably that very night, a storm will blow in- not a drizzly gentle thing, but a howling, branch rattling, rain-and-sleety hail-dumping storm that pelts the flowers with ice and completely soaks the soil again, making it too wet to dig for at least a week.
The Morning After- fortunately the ice melted, and now we just have Gloomy Rain....
It's as if the very act of the daffodil petals opening completely unbalances the atmospheric equilibrium, and the weather just cannot help but storm. The Late Winter Weather Gods are a spiteful, petty bunch who like to taunt and throw things as they ride out of town, and thus we are stuck with a week of grey skies, cold rain and the soggy first daffodils of the season.
Still, there is a great silver lining. Inside, carefully protected from all the weather uncertainty, there are seeds germinating, and roots growing, and many thousands of seedlings enjoying the indoor light-and-heat spa (when we can get the cats to shift out from under the grow lights).
Eddie moves into The Spa as soon as the plants get pulled out to be watered.
We are so looking forward to this year- there is great enthusiasm for home grown vegetables all across the country right now, and here on the North Coast people are getting geared up for another year of great locally grown produce, whether they grow it themselves or buy it at one of our fabulous local farmer's markets. We can hardly wait to share our plant picks for this season with you, and hear all your stories about what worked for you last year, and what your garden plans are for this year.
Coming in the next couple of weeks: Complete plant lists for 2009, (including The Tomato List) so you can start planning your veggie garden now, plus this year's schedule of Special Events and Farmer's Markets.