The sun is out. This week promises a combination of 70 degree days, thunderstorms and some lingering snow. It’s officially spring in Colorado. More importantly, it’s garden-planning season.

I have a teeny-tiny house with a huge yard, and gardening is one of the few things that completely sustains my mental health, well-being and general level of happiness. But as a grad student, I have spent the last few summers with my face in a textbook, eschewing sunshine and dirty hands for long days in the library staring at a computer screen. Finally, I am close enough to being done with my degree that I can enjoy some semblance of a normal life again. And my first order of business is to incorporate some goddamn gardening into my life.

Even pre-grad school, this was the time of year when the first few extra hours of sunshine and a welcome warm breeze would cause me to blow my entire budget on my future garden. This is the time of year when any disposable income goes toward seeds, seedlings, pots, mulch, cute garden clogs and inevitably some cool new gardening tool that I must have. Last year, I treated myself to a legit flamethrower. My trusty Red Dragon 1000 and I are going to annihilate the invasive weeds this year … organically, of course.

Real gardening season is still a few weeks away, but I foresee an ambitious summer ahead. I have drawings for entire sections of my yard that I plan to dig up and redo; seedlings started for a vegetable garden that isn’t big enough to host them all; fabric, cushions, sandpaper and sealant ready to restore some outdoor furniture I’ve inherited. I have bistro lights to hang and supplies to collect so I can finally learn how to can and pickle my own produce. I’ve also pre-bought a new colony of bees to inhabit my empty hive.

I am so ready for this.

Some might think it’s ridiculous to invest so much money and energy on something so temporary. But in my experience, there is nothing like a garden to satiate the soul. To garden is to create something from nothing, to take seeds, dirt and water — each element dormant on its own — and bring them together to create life. To nurture robust plants and flowers into existence is a physical, emotional and creative feat. Then there is the quiet patience and rhythm of weeding a garden that is pure meditative bliss. I simply can’t wait to be exhausted from hauling a wheelbarrow around, frustrated because I can’t quite get all the dirt out from under my fingernails and blissfully broke.

I patiently waited out the winter indoors, but now I am getting impatient. Spring has only just begun, and I am already anxious to be sunburned and sipping a beer among my flowers.

I have been waiting a long time for this particular garden, and it’s going to be a good one.

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