Saturday, January 12, 2013

That Time of Year

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.



March 2007


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.


May garden 003

May 2009


She and a former co-worker also put a nice border around the bed the year after.


06 garden 01


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.


  1. 72 degrees and planning your garden. Geez. It's -4 degrees here. Are we on the same planet?

  2. Dang, girl! Just when I thought it was safe to read your post, you go and show us those massive pork chops! Now I have to find something good to eat, and believe me, we have nothing that comes close :)

    And, yes, is the weather weird or what? Two days ago we had -17C (1.4F) and two days from now the forecast is saying 9C (48F). All over the map.

    1. You know that gratuitous food picture was just for you. :)

  3. Actually I'm not really like this warm weather here. Because the bedrooms are upstairs and heat rises, it's borderline turn-the-a/c-on while sleeping. Ack!

    1. I'm guessing that problem's been solved by now.

  4. I'm with Terry... It's really cold here in Albuquerque! I have temperature envy! Thanks for reminding me that I need to start planning our garden soon. I hope you're doing well!!! xx

    1. Thanks Terry...busy with nothing, as usual! I thought your gardening consisted of donkeys, ducks and cranes!? ;)

  5. That's why we love our sweethearts - they're a fascinating mix of exasperating, loveable, annoying and charming, all wrapped up in one lovely package!

    For me the biggest challenge with planning the garden is the difference between what I think I SHOULD eat and what I actually end up being willing to eat. I'm living and learning!

    1. Yes, yes, yes. Now our temps have dropped again, so the temptation to run out and plant has subsided...for now.


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