It's spring, and Levin is surrounded by sprouting green plants. He feels a little like the plants in that he is full of new energy, but not sure in what direction he should grow.
He encounters a lot of problems with his farmers, who are not as productive as Levin is. He becomes angry at the carelessness of the workers on his estate, who do not take time for necessary upkeep of farm equipment. Furthermore, they continue not to follow his new recommendations for repairs. Levin is furious over the slovenliness of farm work, against which he has been fighting all his life.
He tries to convince his steward Kuzma to hire more workers, to cart manure earlier, and to plow a field continually to keep it fallow. While the steward agrees with Levin's plans, he seems resigned to the fact that it is never going to happen. He just doesn't think that he'll be able to get his tenants and workers to overcome their set ways.
Levin knows that he is fighting for the impossible as he tries to fight that tone of resignation in Kuzma's voice that he only describes as "as God grants," but he wants to get his peasants in gear and start farming more efficiently. He can't stop fighting for his reforms, even when there's so much resistance.
The good weather shakes Levin out of his disappointment, and the chapter ends with Levin feeling optimistic and ready to get his gun to go snipe shooting.