Many of us Minnesotans – and so many elsewhere – are beginning to feel like prisoners who’ve received life sentences and are waiting for a reprieve from a remote, mysterious governor.
That’s how miserable this never-ending winter has been – a season of brutal onslaughts of snow, wind and months of below-zero temperatures. Is it any wonder some people are crabby, antsy, short-tempered and not their jolly old selves? Even pets look glum as they stare out the windows at the dunes of snow.
Everyone has been saying, as if to convince themselves, as if whistling in the dark, that “spring is just around the corner.” Well, is it? We’re beginning to doubt it. But let’s hope so.
Still, there are ways to keep hope alive, ways to beat these butt-end-of-winter blahs. One way is to get the family together to make detailed plans for a spring or summer getaway vacation. It can be as simple as a local fishing trip to a resort or as exotic as a trip to a foreign country. Another way to keep hope of spring alive is to plan for summer projects – a new paint job on the house, a new or refurbished deck or patio, a play area for the kids.
One of the best ways to think spring is to plant some seeds in the house. Nothing makes hope for spring and summer come alive like the sight of tiny green seedlings popping up from a planter tray in the house on a cold winter day. And now is the perfect time to plant some seeds – six to eight weeks before the anticipated last-frost date, mid to late May, when planting outdoors is “safe” for our northern climate.
Planting seeds is simple. The best way is to get one of those seed-planting flats at your local hardware store. They resemble rectangular black-plastic egg cartons with clear plastic covers. Also, buy a bag of seed-starter soil for your seed flat. Next, choose the seeds you want to plant. Tomatoes, herbs and certain types of flowers are good choices. Just be sure to read the directions on the back of the seed packets because some flowers are tricky to grow in the house from seeds.
Once you have your supplies, carefully follow directions. Fill the flats with the soil, sprinkle well with water, plant seeds according to directions, cover the flats and place in indirect light in a place that is 70 degrees or more. The top of a fridge is ideal. In a week to 10 days, you should see tiny green hopes of spring popping up.
In the meantime, start planning your outdoor garden, which can be a small tomato patch, a larger plot or even a sunny strip along one side of the house. Watching your seedlings grow, with their bright-green promise of spring and summer, is a good way to thumb your nose at Old Man Winter, who has long overstayed his welcome.