The Last Windrow: Be patient; soon it will be time to garden outside

Columnist John Wetrosky shares why he and his wife enjoy gardening

Photo illustration /

I cast a bloodshot, winter-weary eye toward our now snow-buried garden last week.

Under two feet of snow lies the dirt that produced a bumper crop last summer and hopefully will do so again this year. Time will tell.

A friend of mine asked me awhile back why I and my wife still toil in that garden space. I have to admit that it took me a few minutes to come up with an answer.

Why, when others are out fishing or boating or just relaxing on the deck, do we find it appealing to work up a sweat and challenge our back muscles to see some green plant pop up and out of the soil?

What is it that urges us to trudge up and down the rows pulling weeds and picking potato bugs off potato plants?


The answer I personally came to was that doing those things seems to satisfy some need in me that came from growing up on a farm. Everyday life back then revolved around doing those plant growing tasks.

The month of March ushered in the sense that soon the fields would be ready and we would again prepare the fields for the sowing of oats and planting of corn and soybeans.

Plow shares would be sharpened, chains would be greased, seed grain would be purchased.

March meant the annual visit from a seed corn dealer who had rented a sign space alongside our graveled road. It meant that this guy would produce two new pair of striped bib overalls for my dad as a rental payment for the placement of the sign.

That was as sure a sign of spring as any bird arriving back from the south. Dad never did plant that brand of seed corn, but he took the overalls anyway.

I lugged the planting table into our basement last week in anticipation of my wife starting some of the garden seeds. With snow drifting down the back of my neck, I pulled out the planter trays and set up the saw horses to fit the table.

Soon there will be tender new shoots of peppers, tomatoes and squash poking up from those plant holders. After a long, snow-filled winter, it gives me hope that something green will again adorn the landscape.

For me, it's really a form of therapy.


March is a fickle month in the North Country, and I know that to depend on the hope that anything warm happening can be short-lived.

The now famous Minnesota high school tournament blizzards can put a lid on anyone's hopes of early spring.

But as I gazed out across our snow-covered garden last week with winter-weary eyes, I spied the handle of a hoe starting to protrude above the drifts. The hoe is waiting for me. It won't be long.

Soon the now hidden garden will emerge. I'm ready to get my hands dirty. Time will tell.

See you next time. Okay?

John Wetrosky
John Wetrosky (2022)

Opinion by John Wetrosky
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