The Battle of Creative Forces, and Spring Chores

The two most significant forces of the creative process are Ambition and Idleness, and they are at constant battle.  When one gains advantage over the other, the resulting imbalance pinches the flow of creative juices, stalls out the process, and creates misery.  Look what happened to Hemingway, Plath, and Wouk’s Youngblood Hawke.

Of all the seasons, Spring is Ambition.  It inspires action without foresight, judgement without reflection, work without reason.  Spring does not value Idleness, and for that it will always be a passing fad and will never achieve full greatness.  This year, it usurped its sibling nemesis Winter in a surprise attack, prematurely dethroning the Idle season in typical gaudy fashion.

East 5th at East Side Peddle Pushers

TML @ East Side Peddle Pushers, February 13, 2015

Spring is so urgent – with it’s violent buzzing, dripping, reeking, throbbing surges – as if the world will end when the sun goes down.  Urgency in gardening often negates the entire point of gardening in the first place, but the business of gardening is a different beast.  As slaves to the business, we at BioGardener have no choice but to accept the lashes of Spring’s urgency.  So here is what that looks like for us:

1.  Finish Planting Trees.  I’ve talked to the Turkey Vultures and Mesquites – Winter is preparing to avenge Spring in a late attack this year.  Their wisdom and high soil moisture means we have an extended window to plant trees this year.  We might could deliver and place trees in the coming weeks – but we probably don’t have time to plant them.  Digging holes provides much physical and emotional reward anyway, we wouldn’t want to deprive anyone of that.

2.  Plant Cautiously.  The drought is still on, the lakes are still low, and we are still facing increased water restrictions this summer barring a tropical depression.  But for reasons mentioned above, we’re currently swamped with planting projects through May.  The planting of tough grasses and perennials should happen under the dominion of Spring.  The king Season of Idleness, Summer, will destroy most late plantings with a lazy flick of his eyelash.

3.  Keep Those Sprinklers OFF.  Austin averages 60% sunshine, and I’m pretty sure to get back within statistical norms we can’t have a single cloud the rest of the year.  Still, the dreariness has it’s perks, like low evapo-transpiration rates and no need for supplemental watering for at least the next month, maybe longer.  Now is the time make systems leak-free and efficient, before the heat hits.  We can help with that.

4.  Compost and Aerate in May.  Over-achievers, those bastard nymphs of Spring, are topdressing lawns with compost right now.  Microbial activity in soils is only beginning to stir and most plants aren’t really absorbing nutrients right now – it’s best to wait until Winter has fully conceded.  Aerating and topdressing the lawn with 1/4″ of compost in May is one of the best things you can do for you lawn.  We are holding spaces on our schedule to make room for those who wish to take advantage of that window – please let me know soon so we can hold a spot for you.

5.  Prep the Garden.  It’s time to straddle seasons in the garden.  If you must plant tomatoes, be ready to cover and baby them during that inevitable late spring freeze.  Stay on top of weeds, feed the soil, start seeds indoors, stock up on mulch and organic supplements.

And so it goes.  Spring is here but so is Winter – a perfect balance of the two great forces.  Enjoy the transition.



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