Have a dirty spring

All right, Ashland, it's time to get dirty.

Time to run your naked hands through Mother Earth.

That's right. It's planting season. March is the perfect time to plant dozens of cold-weather crops in Southern Oregon.

One of my friends is bent on planting a massive garden this year in the event there's a giant catastrophe and we're unable to buy food at the grocery store.

He got this idea from a YouTube video predicting the downfall of the United States because of the massive debt we've racked up with other countries.

My friend uses a lot of obscenities when he gets worked up about issues like this. So to make his remarks printable, I've replaced the expletives with variations of the word "pamphlet," my all-time least favorite word. I just hate the way it sounds.

"We have to get pamphleting ready," my friend said the other day. "When this pamphlet goes down, it's going to be pamphleting bad.

"No, really," he continued. "It's going to be so mother-pamphleting bad. The world's going to be pamphleting pamphlet."

I told him I'm not going to live in fear of the end of Western civilization. Or pamphlets, if I can help it.

But I do believe in the saving power of gardens.

Who knew getting dirty could actually help keep us safe?

It's interesting to me that the Internet is now spurring people to plant. Some of our newest technology is encouraging people to go back to some of our oldest technology — rakes and shovels.

And this is the month to begin, if you haven't already.

According to "The Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley," created by the Oregon State University Master Gardener program, these are some of the vegetables we can plant this month from seed: arugula, carrots, chives, cilantro, collards, fava beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.

We can also plant cane fruits, such as blackberries and raspberries. But, you'd probably have to be crazy to plant blackberries here, when they're constantly popping up in Ashland's backyards and parks anyway. However, I highly recommend planting raspberries, as long as you do it in a location with good drainage, so they will thrive.

There are also a number of transplanting projects you can do this month, if you're organized. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and strawberries are all ready to be transferred into the ground this month, according to the guide.

You can also buy plant starts from the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, which reopened two weeks ago at the Ashland National Guard Armory, 1420 E. Main St.

There are a host of local gardening websites and blogs. One of the most informative is www.roguevalleygardener.com, which includes links to other sites under the "Resources" heading on the main page.

And whether you're planting a garden to save yourself from the collapse of America or just to have some fresh food to eat, the important thing is that you're out there getting dirty.

The way I see it, gardens are always good news.

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-708-1158 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.

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