The last weeks around here have been suspiciously spring-like. Yesterday, riding to the Kennedy School for a swim, Z and I saw our first crocus, in the patch near the sidewalk on the East end of the park. Cherry blossoms have been spotted on a few confused trees. I predict there will be daphne by Valentines. So it is hard to remember that it will be a while until the probability gods smile on my garden. I started some things way too early last year. On the other hand, I promised myself I would start sturdy things indoors sooner, have a cabbage-y May if that's what it came to. But when will it come to? How to know!? Wouldn't it be lovely if we knew.
Amber and Justin go ahead and start everything early, and let the chips fall where they may. But they do their starts in a window specially designed and installed for the purpose, and I use electricity and a lot of running up and down the stairs for mine. Life in the basement is ideal for no one, and I like to run the lights for the shortest span possible, while still spreading the season out. So. What I need is a strong relationship with a well functioning soil thermometer, and a good charting system.
Probably, the soil under the cover will be warm enough to sprout broccoli seeds . . . two weeks before it would be outside the tunnel? What is the temperature differential between sprouting and sustaining a carefully transitioned seedling? How low can I keep the heating pad in the basement and still get the seeds to go? I have experiential answers to these questions. I have the seed packets. I have shitty records, but still, records. And I do not believe, in my heart, that these things will save me, or make my garden grow. Each seed, each plant, each spring: we tune in to the turn of the sun, the feel among our friends; we have trips that must be considered, slugs that must be destroyed; we muster our faith and our patience. The probabilities say nothing of what will happen, only what probably will. We hope, and we begin again.