Monday, January 14, 2013

January Thaw and Green Growing Things

We in Connecticut are experiencing a short-lived January thaw. Temps today were in the high 50's and the sun tried to peek out from time to time, but already the clouds have thickened and it's getting colder. I decided to visit the garden and amid the detritus scattered all around (my garden clean-up was less than ideal this year) I saw a surprising amount of greenery that was not weeds, but leftover plants from summer. I even harvested a handful of very small carrots that I've been munching on this afternoon, so I suppose I've had a real Harvest Monday!
 Just a few short days ago, the garden above was covered in inches of white! And below...ta-da! My harvest of carrots, which are much smaller than the photo makes them look. Still, it's January 14th!
 I found a tiny little lettuce growing in its own micro-climate, in the pathway, sheltered under one of the rocks that surrounds the bed. Again, much tinier than the close-up makes it look. I'm amazed at its indomitable spirit, living on like it has through freezes and snow, without cover.
 Here's a little flat-leaved parsley peeping out from some autumn leaves and straw.
 And, one of my late-planted kale. There are several, none of them protected. Perhaps they will provide us some of our earliest spring greens, along with some overwintered spinach, which I did protect but neglected to get a photo of.
 There were a few komatsuna plants still hanging in there. It looks like some of the wild critters had been munching on them.
 And a handful of onions that were missed in harvesting because they were too small are sending up their green shoots.
 I also found quite a few autumn-sown arugulas bravely growing among the stones and weeds.
Alas, the cold weather is on its way back they say, but it sure was nice to get outside in the fresh air and visit the garden. And to make the day complete my Fedco seed order arrived with all but a few back-ordered packets in it, so I am getting very excited to start planting in just a few weeks.
Now I'm for hopping on over to Daphne's Dandelions to get my weekly dose of garden inspiration! I especially love seeing the pictures from the southern hemisphere, because they remind me of the good things to come.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pad Thai and Blogger Problems

Wow, have I ever had a time with Blogger today! Out of the blue I found that uploading pictures to my blog involved a new step of uploading my photos from my computer into a Picasa album before being able to upload them to my blog. Up till now, I have been able to just do it all directly from the blogger template. It's taken me all morning, with the help of my spouse to figure this out and to finally get the pictures to the blog. Brother! I'm too old for this!
Anyway, I wanted to share how excited I am to be able to cook with "fresh" vegetables from my garden in the beginning of a very cold January! I put fresh in quotes, because the cabbage I used to make Pad Thai has been in storage in my basement for a few months, but it is not processed or frozen. This may be old hat to many gardeners, but to me it is still a new and wonderful thing to be eating a fresh- from- my- own garden veg this time of the year! Since getting back to gardening a few years ago I've stored alliums and potatoes in our cold basement, but this year I have cabbages and carrots too. It's a beautiful thing!
So last night I decided to cut up one of the cabbages to make Pad Thai for supper.

 I added shallots and since I didn't have any scallions, I substituted some of my little leeks and a can of drained mung bean sprouts. These were stir fried with some tofu and then softened rice noodles were added. Home-made Pad Thai sauce was stirred in and it was topped with chopped peanuts. Voila! Supper!
The snow is still covering the ground but we are able to enjoy a taste from last summer. The new garden seeds are trickling in via the mail and I can't wait to see if I can extend my "fresh" vegetables even more next year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dare I Resolve?

One of the many stonewalls that criss-cross the New England landscape as reminders of the hard-working farmers of years past.
So, today begins a new year. 2013! Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that we were anxiously waiting for the turning of the century and years starting with 20 instead of 19? Now there is a whole generation out there that never saw any of the 1900's. And that feels just weird! But never mind, there is a point to this post. I thought I'd make a list of garden-related New Year's resolutions which I'd love to keep but probably won't. The point being at least I'll try. There are all kinds of people out there who say making resolutions is a bad thing because so few are accomplished, but it really doesn't bother me a whole lot when I don't keep them. To me the resolutions give me some goals to shoot for and either they get done or not, but most often they get partially accomplished. It's not an all-or-nothing thing with me, and any part of a resolution I am able to keep is a step forward.
So, to my resolutions:
1. Stick to the schedule! As much as possible. I use a calendar and write out when I want to plant, transplant, harden off, trim, plant out my vegetables and flowers. It is flexible to some extent because life and bad weather can get in the way, but I found I missed some good things last year by not paying attention to that schedule.
2. Stay on top of the weeds! OK, every year I fail at this. But, I will say, my garden is a bit more weed free every year, so it's a goal worth continuing working on.
3. Try growing a new veggie. This is one I know I will keep because every year I try something new. Last year was cauliflower. This year I'm going to try amaranth.
4. Plant those fall seedlings! I have a tendency to fizzle in the mid-summer heat. This is another of those goals I don't quite meet, but do better on every year. It kind of falls under resolution #1.
5. Plant more flowers around the garden to attract pollinators.
6. Make more compost. Use it.
Alright, I'd better stop. I'll overwhelm myself otherwise. Here's to a productive and Happy 2013 for all of us gardeners. May the year see many more people learning to love growing their own vegetables and sharing that love with others!