Today ice grips all that is not indoors, which means our stack of seed catalogs are safe. Time to think about the summer garden and plan. Right now we’re thinking about the 200 heads of garlic tucked safely underground and gaining strength each day thanks to comfrey. We’re in awe of comfrey. It’s our best green manure. We chopped it down at least four times over the course of the growing season, bagged it up in netting and made the most exhilaratingly heady brew to pour over young plants. In fall after planting our garlic seed, we filled the holes with comfrey and expect the same fine results again this year…giant music garlic heads so sweet and tender you hate to cook them…a temptation we sometimes succumb to when making some of our dressings and dips.
Early peas this season will be increased. We have plans to increase yields especially of snap peas and a shelling variety called Thomas Laxton. We’re also doubling our beans, both fine French and Italian flat varieties. And we ran out of potatoes almost as soon as they were ready. This year we’ll triple our early reds and mid-summer golds. The kitchen has already made plans for them.
Beets, beet greens and tender white Hakurei salad turnips will debut on the table as soon as they emerge. The Hakurei are so accommodating. They’re ready to harvest when they jump up above the soil surface leaving only their tail root buried. How cool is that? There will be succession plantings of these prized white salad turnips as well as our favorite carrots romantically named, Chantennay.
Microgreens will emerge daily in kitchen trays adding zest to our salads with tiny flavour bombs of pungent arugula, red Rambo radish, cilantro, mizuna, tatsoi & more. Rainbows of lettuce will begin in the warm spring sun garden and then move to the shade bed as the sun climbs higher in the sky. Bronze, ruby, speckled, hunter and lime greens join the party all summer long. And there’ll be a special place on the menu for kale–Tuscan black and Red Russian.
Today we’ll start taking an inventory of our seeds on hand. Set some aside for exchanging with our garden friends on Seedy Sunday in February, and order up new supplies for the coming year. Seeds promise to make the garden productive this season…and keep our feathered friends happy as well. So on this icy Sunday afternoon, warmth seems just around the corner.