Signs of spring on our urban homestead

A beautiful, balmy weekend saw the last of our snow shrink into small piles and then sink away into the ground.

Early on Easter Sunday morning, I tucked my pyjamas into my rain boots and slipped outside with my camera before the rest of the house was awake. I wanted to hunt for signs of life in a brown backyard.

I found more than I expected – and the parallels between my discoveries and the holiday did not escape my attention. It’s been a long, cold winter. These signs of spring are a resurrected earth rejoicing.

Signs of spring on our urban homestead | Simple Bites

Almost overnight, the damp lawn took on a green tinge as slivers of new grass poked up from the mud to replace the snow slush. The trees are still bare, but soon, they too will wear the pale green garb.

Ramps on the forest floor

In the woods, just beyond the garden, new ramps are pushing through the detritus – all the composting leaves and twigs on the forest floor. At first I only spotted a few, but then the morning sun slanted onto their green tips and illuminated a throng of the delicate bulbs.

Spring ramps in the forest #ramps #spring

The morning air was tinged with the sweet garlic smell of ramps; it is a promising crop. Each year I tend to the patch, gently thinning where the bulbs are becoming too cramped. Each year they come back in greater numbers.

Tapping maple trees | Simple Bites

Thanks to one cold night late last week, we’ve had a resurgence in maple water and a few more sap boils. We’re not taking our buckets down or our taps out just yet. This spring has been a fickle one, and we may receive more cold weather still.

Spring chives

From afar the raised bed gardens looked lonely and cold, the soil slightly tinged with frost, but upon closer inspection, I found life. Chives are returning, as well as thyme and oregano. They are the first perennial herbs to awake in the spring.

rhubarb coming up in the garden

Rhubarb buds have all popped through and will soon be shooting forth leaves and tall stalks. I can hardly wait for the first harvest. It’s always such a refreshing contrast to all the winter root vegetables we’ve been eating.

Spring seedlings

And sunning themselves on the picnic table are our seedlings – herbs, tomatoes, flowers, and a couple of melons. The cool air and the gentle breeze helps strengthen their stalks and keeps them from getting too leggy.

It will be another 3-4 weeks before we can safely plant them in the garden without risk of frost. Spring has only just begun, but it IS here at last.

How is Spring announcing her arrival in your area?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Love your pics! Bulbs peaking through always seem magical to me :).

    Question from a gardening newbie: When can/should you move seedlings outside? (Not necessarily to plant, just to get better sun). They’re only just starting to sprout on my dining table now. I think I was a little late getting started this year :/

    • Where are you located, Jenn? As long as it is not too cold OR too hot, both weather swings can damage the seedlings. There’s no set time, actually, the earlier the better, as long as temperatures are mild.

      I don’t think it’s a particularly late start either. Better late than never? 😉

  2. Nice 🙂 We are just a bit ahead of you, I think. My daffodils and a couple other little flowers are blooming. I’ve been eating chives for a couple weeks and my parsley has woken up. Buds on the blueberries, leaves on the raspberries. Radishes are up. And our huge crazy plum tree is covered in tight white buds, I can’t wait for it to bloom!

    Sadly, the tee sapling I planted last spring is showing no signs of life. I don’t know if it’s a late bloomer, or if the wild turkeys did too much nibbling.

  3. I love this! I’ve been doing similar scouting around here. Wild onion grass and sheep sorrel and sweet violets and garlic mustard have entered the kitchen in this past week over here… and I’m teaching my 4-year-old to recognize/forage for them. SO MUCH FUN!

  4. I needed this post today. It’s been a long, cold winter here too and signs of spring are just starting to show. I’ve never been so ready for spring to show itself.

  5. I love the return of plant life. So refreshing! We will be trying a pallet garden this year and I’m excited to see it all come together. I live in the desert so the signs of spring here include the long lines at Lowes and blooming palo verde trees.

  6. I loved reading this and seeing your gorgeous pictures Aimee! I’ve been so excited this week, seeing my rhubarb and garlic poke up through the soil! It has been such a long winter, but the first warm days and signs of spring always make us feel giddy with hope of what’s to come, don’t they? Thanks for sharing!

  7. Aimee, your seedlings look so beautiful and hearty. I planted mine about the same time as you. My tomatoes are not nearly as tall and lush as yours. How big are the pots you transferred to? What kind of soil did you use (and do I see gravel mixed in?) I hope you don’t mind me asking so many questions – there are lots of posts out there about planting the seeds but many fewer about what to do next. Thanks!

    • Hi Jane.
      I was procrastinating working on my manuscript, so these seedlings did get a bit of extra care.

      Sunlight, mostly indirect, but at least 8 hours a day.
      Ample watering.
      Afternoons outside.

      The little trips out to my picnic table help them from getting too tall too fast (known as leggy). They get a little bit of wind, which strengthens their stems. I don’t know the exact size of the peat pots…sorry… but the soil is just a regular potting mix from a regular hardware store.

      Hope that helps.

  8. Love this post! I’m having the same thing happen ever so slowly (in Ottawa). I just moved in, so I don’t yet have a vegetable garden, but the grass is slowly tinging green, and I can see the first green shoots of my lilies coming up. 🙂

  9. Very pretty photos.

    I’m currently growing tomatoes on my balcony here in Bangkok and, with the amazing Thai heat, as long as I remember to water them regularly they grow like crazy. Next plantings this week will be cilantro and holy basil. 🙂

    Lovely website, btw.

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