Forcing Forcythia

quince sprigs

Even when it seems like spring will never come, there is hope outside if you know where to look.  I love fresh flowers, and the long winter has deprived me of this bit of color in the house. The forsythias are always the first sign that spring is truly on it’s way.    On a day when the wind howls, I can look at my sprigs of forsythia and know that there is no stopping the seasons, even if it feels like the warmth will never come.  I pick them right at the end of February, and with a hammer slightly crush the stems.  In about a week they will be in full bloom, earlier than the ones outside.  Another one of my favorite indicators that sun and warmth are on the way is the tiny shoots of garlic that are pushing up from the half frozen ground in my garden.  In another week the soil should be warm enough for planting peas and parsnips.  I’ve started the lettuce inside this year, and my many hot peppers, started in January, are inches high and looking great.  I also started some basil indoors, which is so easy to grow in a warm window, and that has provided us with a nice bit of fresh flavor for some of the earthier cold weather dishes of the early spring.  This time of year is filled with expectation and planning for gardeners in the North East, and is a wonderful time to rejoice and appreciate that there truly is no stopping nature.

One week later…

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