The Beauty of Springtime in Tallahassee

March is always one of my favorite times of the year, and not just because it’s my birthday month. (Actually, my natal day is March 1, so that thrill is over pretty quickly.) No, I love it because I know that on one special day, spring will arrive in Tallahassee. And it’s not necessarily the vernal equinox (March 20 this year), the official starting date for the season.

No matter how short or mild the winter might be, by the time the end of February rolls around, I’ve had it with cold and dreary days. And I know that sometime in March – always on a weekend – I’ll wake up and realize the sun is shining brighter and the flowers are blooming and I, along with most of the rest of Tallahassee, will have an inexplicable urge to head out to Tallahassee Nurseries or Home Depot and buy something to plant.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the green digit. The plants I do buy are doomed to certain death, so I minimize the suffering by only buying a few, usually herb and vegetable starter plants. (As a woman who knows her limitations, I wouldn’t even dream of growing a plant from seed.)

I haven’t had much luck growing vegetables – I’ll get a green pepper or two from a plant – and my husband isn’t much better. I bought him the makings of the popular Japanese Tomato Ring one year for Father’s Day. (I’ll bet the horticulturists reading this are already laughing; you know where it’s going.) Between the plants and the wire, the fertilizer and a mind-boggling array of micro-soakers and sprayers, we spent nearly $100. At first, we were pretty impressed with ourselves. Those tiny tomato plants grew like crazy – tall, thick and green, just like Jack’s beanstalk.

I think we got one tomato.

As anyone who has turned a spadeful of dirt knows, we planted those tomatoes way too late in the season. It has to be cooler than 68 degrees for a plant to set fruit. (In our defense, it was one of the hottest summers in recent memory.)

But I do have pretty good luck with basil. I love heading over to Native Nurseries for their different varieties … purple basil, lemon basil, Italian basil, Thai basil, sweet basil and just regular basil basil.

I can hardly wait to start pinching off leaves to add that wonderful freshness to my dinner menus. And here’s the kicker: Harvesting the leaves makes the plant produce even more! It’ll be a veritable Pestopalooza at my house through the end of the summer.

We’ll also be able to peel off those layers and long sleeves and enjoy the glorious weather that spring always brings, and bop on over to downtown and have a good time courtesy of the fun-loving folks at Springtime Tallahassee. Easter gives us time to reflect on the renewal of life – and, for me, a chance to see everyone in the best-of-their-Sunday best.

So delight in the season while I sit down and relish a fat slice of tomato topped with mozzarella and basil. The basil will be fresh from my backyard. And the tomato will be fresh … from Tomato Land.

Categories: From The Editor, Opinion