Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wintertime Garden Cleanup

In less than an hour...
The last of the weekend’s ice-coated inch of snow melted last night, and after the sun came out this morning and the temperature gradually rose to 54°, I grabbed a pair of gloves, a bucket, and in 45 minutes finished the last of the cleanup of our backyard gardens.  Here are four reasons why I give two thumbs-up to cleaning up the gardens now rather than in the spring.

First, wintertime garden work gets me out of the house and, obviously, into the fresh, invigorating air.  Inhale deeply, Bob.  Smile.  Enjoy life on the cool side of the windows for an hour or so.  Bend a little.  Lift a little.  Get what Ancient Gardeners call “a little exercise.”

Second, working when the temperature is in the 50s takes a lot less energy and causes a lot less sweat than when the temperature is in the 60s or even 70s. 

Debris of dormant daylilies is easy to clean up
Third, cleaning up the garden during the winter takes less time than during spring.  Our many perennials for the most part are dormant, and I can pull off last fall’s seed stalks and dead leaves quickly because I don’t have to be careful of fragile springtime growth.

Fourth, cleaning up the garden for only an hour at a time means fewer aches and pains in joints and muscles of this Ancient Gardener.  I don’t think I’ll have any painful reminders tomorrow that I worked in the yard today, but if I had worked four or five hours, tomorrow I would be creaking and moaning about the house.

Bottom line:  45 minutes, 10 large buckets of dead perennial leaves and seed stalks, and one heaping wheelbarrow of last year’s dead plant matter to deposit on our recycling pile at the bottom of our hill at the edge of our woods.

And as I pushed the empty wheelbarrow back up the hill, a couple of questions flitted through my brain: Why do empty wheelbarrows seem to get harder to push every year?  Why does the same hill seem to get just a bit steeper every winter?

If you are an Ancient Gardener, you know the answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment