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13 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Spring – Gardeners’ Edition

When flowers begin to come up from the ground it can only mean one thing, that spring is finally on the way. Time to put the cold and snow of winter behind us, well, almost. Nature gets the final say on that one.

While you are contemplating the unpredictable spring weather, let your mind wander and begin to start a mental list of some ways you could celebrate the “official” first day of spring. I’ll help you out with 13 ways to honor this special day in just a few scrolls.

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, let’s be sure what we are all celebrating here.

The first day of spring – aka the March equinox or vernal equinox – is also heralded as the halfway point between the summer and winter solstices. It’s the time when night and day are at equal lengths (more or less), when the sun is directly in line with the equator.

Or, to put it in another way, the first day of spring is a time of balance and equilibrium.

Snowdrops are generally the first flowers to peek out of the ground, but in no way do they guarantee no more snow.

The first day of spring is a time of joy, centered around rebirth and growth to come.

As the Earth begins to regain energy, so should you. And so should your plans for the coming year.

I’ve long wondered why the first day of spring is not the start of the year. Why do we celebrate the turn of the year in the darkest part of the winter season? Ponder the notion for a second before we move onto a handful of activities you can engage in to celebrate the first day of spring in a gardener sort of way.

Can you believe this was the first day of spring? A great day to stay inside and dream about gardening.

As a gardener myself and as someone who enjoys celebrating less commercial holidays, over the years I’ve found myself honoring the seasons more and more. In part, it comes with living simply, it also comes with slowing down enough to recognize that our ancestors were more in tune with the earth. That’s an aspect of life that I strive for, and I’m sure you do too.

If you feel the pull to slow down and live in tune with the rhythms of the earth, I invite you to celebrate the first day of spring with perhaps a new-to-you ritual. One that you can pass down to future generations, who are also ready to ground their beliefs back into the soil.

13 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Spring – For Gardeners

1. Forage for Early Spring Greens

As soon as the snow melts, the green begins to spread across the land.

Unassuming and unstinging in its youth, nettle is very much in its infancy.

Slowly at first, then as the sun warms the soil, plants burst forth from the ground. At some point dandelions (no, you don’t need to save the dandelions for the bees – there is plenty for all to share) and nettles will be reaching for the rays, along with cleavers, chickweed, wild garlic and wood sorrel.

Take your pick, just know what you are picking.

2. Picnic in the Garden – Or Anywhere Outside

Depending on your location, the weather may, or may not cooperate for a spring celebration outdoors. For us it’s a toss up. Sometimes in March, we are able to sit around a lunchtime campfire, other years we are inside avoiding the cold rain.

If the equinox forecast looks to be in your favor, I suggest you to take advantage of the clear skies and take a picnic in your garden. Bring out a table and a few seats. Lay down a cloth and arrange some delicious food and drink to be served in honor of the abundance that is soon to come.

Bake some apples, try out that spring focaccia bread, make a ball of fresh mozzarella, grab a jar of pickles from your pantry and have a small feast.

3. Host a Garden Workshop

Do you have any special skills that you can share with other aspiring gardeners? On the first day of spring, it’s time to get out there and share your knowledge.

Is raised bed gardening your jam?

Or is your style more that of a no-dig gardener? I know there’s not a lot growing at this time of year, but there is still a ton to talk about as you plan for the season ahead.

Put your pruning skills to good work and share them with those willing to learn.

Perhaps you are more interested in propagating fruit trees and you can finally share your passion for grafting. Make a list of your garden skills and imagine who you would invite as you begin to make an outline for your workshop. If not now, then when?

4. Seed Swap

Don’t have enough cash to splurge on seeds this year, but have plenty saved from the previous seasons? I think a seed swap would be in order. Or perhaps you just want to help other gardeners out with a new (and locally grown) seed selection.

Utilize the first day of spring, the honoring of rebirth and growth, to trade seeds with your friends, neighbors and gardeners of the local area. It doesn’t have to be big seed swap. Most likely it will even be informal.

Gather around and lay your seed packets on a table, discuss what grows best where and why you love that variety. Share your love for gardening over a steaming mug of herbal tea – straight from last year’s garden of course.

5. Drink a Spring Cocktail

If you still have some of those brandied cherries from last year’s harvest, indulge in one now.

If you desire more than tea to celebrate the first day of spring, then it’s time to indulge in a spring cocktail. If you don’t know exactly what this is, don’t worry, I’m not entirely sure either. But I’m willing to make something up.

Let’s see, my mind is wandering to a rhubarb gin and tonic. Maybe a sparkling basil lemonade? Now I’m thinking about a classic mint julep. After all, the carpet of mint is just beginning to peek out of the ground. I guess spring cocktails do exist after all. Choose to celebrate with your favorite.

6. Plant Flowers

On the first day of spring, it’s only fitting that you plant flowers.

2024 is the year of the flower garden. What’s going in yours?

Not just any kind of flowers though, for you must know your last frost date, as many delicate things can’t withstand the cold nights and frosty mornings. However, the weather may still be fine for certain bulbs, or perennials. Read labels, ask around, see what’s available at your local garden center. There’s always space to sneak more flowers into your garden.

7. Plant Raspberries or Other Canes

Beyond flowers there is food. For the berry lover, there are plenty of options and mid-March isn’t too late to get some canes into the ground.

Lydia will take you through the steps on how to start new raspberry canes for a high yielding berry patch if you follow the link here.

If you don’t have space for any more canes, or don’t have any at all, there’s something else you can do with raspberry canes which we have been doing for years. In early spring we go out and collect raspberry stems in the wild (for tea) before the leaves emerge. It’s our go-to tea when we wish to blend herbs together.

8. Cook With Last Year’s Harvest

The greatest gift that a garden can give, is food. If you are lucky, even more food than you expected.

If you had a bumper crop of anything last year, why not honor it today: by making a cake, a bread or adding some homegrown ingredients to a spring-warming soup.

Apples from our cellar, still good for fresh eating and baking.

In March, we are still eating fresh apples from last October’s harvest which have been stored in the cellar throughout the winter. Generally they are good until May, sometimes even into June. Baked apples were a favorite as a child, some things haven’t changed.

9. Eat Something From Your Pantry

Just as there are hundreds of apples in the cellar, there are horseradish roots that remain in the ground, waiting patiently for Easter. Our pantry is also stocked with pickles, chutneys, compotes and jams of all sorts. It seems we can’t get through them fast enough.

There might be a little dust on the bottle, don’t let that fool you about what’s inside.

For the first day of spring, I’m not exactly sure what will be on the menu, but most likely it will involve a jar of salsa. For dessert, some applesauce will be stirred into a cake.

Whatever leftovers you are finding in your pantry, enjoy them with delight this equinox.

10. Sprout Seeds

It may not seem like much of a way to celebrate, yet I think sprouts are good enough for any merrymaking. To me, they signify the rebirth of life. In that way, they are totally fit for consumption on the day of the spring equinox.

Organic alfalfa sprouts make any sandwich tastier.

If you haven’t made sprouts yet, be sure to read my Quick and Easy Sprouting Guide. At this time of year it takes about 3 to 5 days to get a full jar of sprouts sprouting, depending on the variety, of course. Alfalfa and broccoli are my go-to seeds for sprouting in a pinch.

11. Go Shopping for Seeds

Whether you are shopping online, or in person, go for the seeds. Don’t purchase them all, but enough for your needs and quite a few packages more.

Sometimes you have to go with the flow, everyone wants something different in the garden.

Clearly, we bought too many seeds this year, considering we have our own saved seeds from previous years. However, I have a couple of good excuses: some new varieties are in order, plus we are creating a flower garden for the first time. If we can do it, so can you.

12. Take Elderberry Cuttings

Not being much of a houseplant grower myself, I tend to stick to outdoor plants that can fend off the cold on their own. If weather conditions are right for you, early spring is a fantastic time to propagate elderberries from cuttings.

From cuttings to this in just three years.

In just three years’ time, our elderberries which we took from cuttings are now 10′ tall. Last summer they even had elder blossoms followed by a small set of fruit. See, the ability to take cuttings is a great way to increase the diversity of both indoor and outdoor plants.

13. Make a Spring-Themed Wreath

A few months ago we were gifted with a winter wreath. Now that it’s out of season, it’s only fitting to replace it with a new one. There are so many examples on Pinterest that I’ll just leave the search up to you.

What I really want to say though, is with Easter so close to the equinox this year, it makes perfect sense to put a spring wreath up as soon as possible. After all, it’s about new life and growth, so keep the circle of life running.

There you have it, 13 delightful ways to celebrate the coming of spring. Choose a few to make your day, and the turning of the season, complete.

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Cheryl Magyar

Well, hello, szia and bună ziua!

My name is Cheryl Magyar and I am a homesteader, organic no-dig gardener and preserver of fruits, vegetables, herbs and life in general. I'm also a forager and a rewilder, rewilding myself and our land in Breb, Romania, along with my husband and our teenage daughter.

Since 2001 I have been living a simple life, going on 15+ years without running water inside our home, heating with firewood cut with a two-wo/man crosscut saw and enjoying the quiet solitude of the countryside where haystacks outnumber the people.

What you wouldn't guess about me, is that I was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago. If I can do this, you can too! It's a life you get to choose, so choose wisely. Because I know you're curious, I've spent 8 years homesteading (raising mangalica pigs, goats and ducks) and gardening on our tanya in Ópusztaszer, Hungary. This lifestyle is going on 8 years in Romania. I wouldn't change it for the world.

To discover more about me, and about us:

you can follow on Instagram
read into our website at Forest Creek Meadows
stop by for a visit and/or a (re)workshop
or shop our growing Etsy store Earth Gratitude Studio

Hope to see you around!