Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter garden, year 1

In mid-October, we had a lovely visit from Jam Guy's mom and dad. His dad helped put in a winter garden for us, showed me how to plant seeds in rows, and gave me lots of excellent instructions for caring for the garden. The first day I saw specks of green, I was so excited that I took a cell phone picture and texted it to Jam Guy right away.

Because we had some real rain after a dry spell a few weeks ago, the specks of green turned into real plants practically overnight. Happy with the gorgeous soil created by 30 years of farming by the family who lived here before us and quenched after a long dry spell, our veggies immediately exploded into all sorts of fantastic verdancy. However, the weeds appreciated the rain and gorgeous soil too, and while they are very pretty--forming this lacy, jade-green carpet all around our vegetables--for a little while it was hard to tell what was weed and what was baby veggie. (Metaphor: it takes practiced discernment and patience to learn to identify what's good for you and what is just competing with what's good for you.)

But I've spent the last few days assiduously weeding, especially since alot of the veggies are ready or close to ready to harvest. The weeds are still thriving, but they're a bit more under control. I've been doing all this assiduous weeding in either a tube top or a sarong, hoping to fade some of the wifebeater tanlines I've accumulated running along the creek. I'm a productive multitasker. Don't hate.

And dinner tonight is featuring a salad made from our first harvest from this garden (of various baby lettuces, French breakfast radishes, and baby beet greens that were thinned out today) so I thought I'd get some pictures before we started picking. Here they are!

Bok choy (and indigo radicchio to its left):


Radish tops:

Swiss chard and purple kohlrabi:

Mesclun mix:

"Kitchen sink" lettuce mix:

French breakfast radishes, ready to go:


Lots of lettuce!:

And even more lettuce:

And here's a picture of the dinner Jam Guy made tonight--potatoes sent to us from Jam Guy's parents, needing nothing more than a quick boil and a touch of butter and salt; rare porterhouse steak topped with Point Reyes blue cheese; and our fancy from-the-garden salad with a simple vinaigrette.

I told Jam Guy the other day--while I was tugging weeds away from baby lettuces--that when I was a little kid growing up in the suburbs, the words "vegetable garden" had conjured for me thoughts of Peter Rabbit--basically that they were places meant to be invaded by talking rabbits, places that existed in a make-believe world. Tidy rows of fat green edibles flourished in fairy tales, not in my life. Here is one more way that my life with Jam Guy has, to my absolute joy and incredulous relief, proven me wrong.

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