26 Dec Shallots roasting on an open fire
The hurly burly happenings of the past week, culminating in a holiday gathering of family, are behind us. Now I’m set to settle in and relax for a few days before ringing in the New Year with friends – leafing through gardening books, new & old, gleaning inspiration for the new year, browsing seed catalogs, and generally reflecting on the upcoming season. Rumors of snow are swirling about – how cozy that would be!
As luck would have it, I got my updated Territorial Seed catalog on Christmas Eve, so now I’ve got just what I need to begin putting together my spring seed order – or at least a first draft. Combing the pages, backwards and forwards – in the end, I’m destined to order more than I’ll possibly be able to plant.
But plant I shall! Especially in light of this motivating stat from the president’s message in the Territorial catalog — according to a newly released study funded by the European Union, organic produce contains 40% more anti-oxidants than conventionally-grown produce. It’s widely believed that antioxidants decrease our risks for cancer and heart disease. Factor in that organically-grown produce just plain tastes better, and it seems like a win/win to me. I’ve already started a list, but reserve the right to change my mind and add or delete. (After all, I just got the darn catalog!)
Yet I’ve found that my vegetable garden is somewhat less forgiving than my ornamental garden. It’s much more deadline oriented – especially if you’re trying to grow from seeds. No sow, no go. No plan, no produce.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned that I need to plan better for:
- I love to cook with shallots, but the bulbs need to go in the ground by late fall for harvest the following summer. Also, supplies can be limited, so I need to be sure to order pretty early for best selection. Territorial recommends making one’s order by mid-September.
- I could be harvesting greens all winter, including my favorite, spinach, if I’d sown successive rows in August, September and even as late as October; providing winter protection under a simple cold frame allows one a harvest all winter.
- Fresh carrots, another favorite, can be harvested all winter … and I’d be doing just that if I’d demonstrated sufficient forethought and planning to make a few successive sowings and choosing a variety or two that over winters well in the ground.
My New Year’s resolution? I vow to do sow much better!
I’m enlisting the help of my husband. Up to this point, he’s been strictly an appreciator vs. a doer of the garden thing. He’s promised to participate in the vegetable garden upkeep, which should help. I have to say though, it makes me a bit nervous – I don’t know if this garden is big enough for two.
Photo: © Paul & Sunny Daniels. Reprinted with pemission.