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It takes just a few days that stay light ’til 8 o’clock and plants are suddenly busting out with all sorts of fresh growth. Oregano’s expanding like gangbusters. Spinach is up. Arugula and overwintered beets have put on lush, bright greenery. There’s enough of a growth spurt in progress here that I can barely hold back that burning desire to get everything planted now.

Of course, I should know better. Last year I learned that timing and weather are everything, even if it’s not entirely clear how to operationalize that information. Late-sown tomato plants produced the best-looking fruit but tardy winter squash barely ripened by first frost. And it’s an ongoing learning experience / guessing game for me with stuff like scallions and cucumbers and fennel. Good thing packets come with extra seeds; in our garden it means some of the plants do make it to adulthood.

So today I practiced restraint. I puttered around in the sun, cleaned up dry old foliage, tried not to worry whether the garlic chives and scallions would ever come up. And I sowed flowers — pots of orange nasturtiums and blue-violet pansies for the sunny patio and marigolds in the beds, where they’re poised to soak up the sudden warmth. It’s all in the name of delayed gratification, but how lovely they’ll be for summer viewing, and for warm-weather salads.

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