It’s a January evening in the Northern Hemisphere, and I just in from outside, wearing a t-shirt. The temperature reached 72 degrees today, and they’re calling for slightly warmer weather tomorrow. California is under a freeze alert, and I’m already experiencing Spring Fever here in North Carolina.
Perhaps it was the sudden sunshine earlier this week after 10 days of heavy clouds; perhaps it was reading Jenna’s blog at Cold Antler Farm, or Myriam’s at Mucky Boots; perhaps it was general post-holiday forward dreaming—but I had already planned to stop in at Renfrow’s Hardware in Matthews today after the farmers’ market, precisely with the idea of buying seeds. I had also thought long and hard about just what I should purchase.
With each passing year, I’ve come closer and closer to a grand realization about our garden. This fall I finally opened my eyes and accepted it—pretty much everything going into or coming out of the garden is fully my responsibility. It’s mine to plant, to water, to weed, and even to cook and eat. As much as Miss Chef does to support local food, for some reason she has a serious blind spot about the most local food available to her!
Now, she does deserve some credit. She’s the one who originally chose the spot for our garden and dug it out five years ago. By hand. In heavy clay.
And she surprised me with a, er, custom-made pea trellis two years later—she found the materials here and there in the shed, and knocked it together for me.
She and a former co-worker also put a nice border around the bed the year after.
So I have to admit that without her, my garden would probably be just a little less pretty and a lot less functional. (I also have to admit that I had a really fun time going back through my old pictures, and I’m quite impressed with my green thumb—at least in the spring!)
However, my original point can be illustrated thusly: last year, as every year, I planted beets for Miss Chef. I’m not a big fan of them, but she loves them so much I happily allotted a short row for them. Of course, Miss Chef was busy with two jobs and working on an MBA, so after I harvested a few for her and they sat in the fridge, I went ahead and roasted them, too. I put one on a salad or something, just for her…and the rest ended up sitting neglected in the fridge until they turned into compost.
So. This year, I’m only planting what I’m willing to tend, harvest and eat! I can never get enough peas or carrots, so I’m going to plant as many as I can fit this year. The thin haricot vert is the only kind of green bean I really like—plus these are a bush variety not needing support, and beans actually help add nitrogen to the soil, so they’re quite welcome. I was back and forth on the radishes, but the packet says this is a sweeter variety, and as Miss Chef pointed out, they’re very easy to grow—they’re also usually the first harvest, so they help satisfy that urge to pick something already!
Later, I’ll get some started plants for a few other crops—broccoli, tomatoes and maybe peppers. And I’ll consider squash if I have enough room. But that’s it!
What’s that you say? Parsnip seeds? In the first picture? Um, yeah. Well, those are Miss Chef’s. But I looked her square in the eye and said “Are you going to plant them, and water them and everything? Because I’m NOT!” She nodded eagerly, and I pretended to believe her.
And then, shortly after we got home, I was standing by the front door when I looked up and saw this:
These are the packets she bought last year, when I swore they were entirely her responsibility. Yup. I’ll have to let you know about those parsnips.
Of course, the positives obviously outweigh any shortcomings my sweetie may have….while I typed the above, she was making these:
Thick-cut pork chops from Way of Life Farm, with a beautiful golden crust. All is forgiven.