When All Else Fails, Try Spring Cleaning

Until gardening conditions work in our favor, spring cleaning is the name of the game.

by Rachael Dupree
PHOTO: Rachael Dupree

Is anyone else feeling that spring itch? In Kentucky, our winter has been so mild that Mr. B and I hardly even got infected with cabin fever—a wonderful blessing for our first year on the farm!—but now we’re in a holding pattern.

The weather has offered us very little remorse since the sopping wet January we experienced. It seems like every other day we get not only a spring shower but a downpour. Given the high clay content of our soil in these parts, there’s little we can do in regards to garden-bed prep until we finally get a string of dry days. Despite the springlike 70-degree temps we’ve had this week, tilling up a garden bed right now would mean ruined, compacted soil for the remainder of the year.

As a result, we’ve had to focus on what we can do: spring cleaning.

The spring purge is a great feeling, isn’t it? Finally, you get that chance to unload all the weight you’ve been carrying around in the form of useless stuff.

cleaning junk out of the shed
Rachael Dupree

Our main focus for spring cleaning has been on our basement and shed. You see, when you buy or inherit a farm, you’re getting a lot more than just the land and some buildings. You also get the joy (or burden) of receiving all the old tools, equipment and “stuff we might use someday” that the former owners couldn’t take with them.

Some of the items we inherited have been extremely useful: a tool bench full of helpful odds and ends, trellising materials, beekeeping equipment, drip irrigation lines, a yard cart. However, others have been taking up precious real estate and have to go. Some of the items that have “Dump Day” designation written all over them include old cans of paint, a mountain of plastic planters, scrap netting, and piles of odds-n-ends wood pieces that we’ve had a hard time even giving away.

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keep pile
Rachael Dupree

While I’m definitely a packrat to some extent—why buy something when you could pull it out of your shed for free?—Mr. B is decidedly not. And admittedly, our piles of stuff are doing us no good at this point. Many of the items are too old or beyond efficient usage (think dull, rusty pruning shears), and everything is completely unorganized to the point of not being able to find it. (Where exactly is that item you thought you saw one day two months ago today, when you actually would be able to use it?)

So we’re tossing. And we’re organizing. And we’re scrubbing. And we’re sweeping. The spring-cleaning bug has definitely bitten.

dump day truck
Rachael Dupree

Our old, orange, bumper-sticker-covered pickup has been a savior in the purging process. We just load her up, and Mr. B takes her on her monthly pilgrimage to the county dump—not without a little praying that her breaks don’t give out on the way.

Pretty soon, all of our keepsakes will be pared down and organized, and we’ll be able to set our sights on more important matters … like growing food.

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