Look! We have Lettuce!
While the front part of our garden bed, the part that gets less light, is growing glacially, (I'm not sure we'll be eating beets until spring!) the full-sun part is in full swing. We have lettuce. We have arugula. We have broccoli raab. The English peas didn't make it, but the snow peas are climbing, and blooming. And we have the worlds smallest, cutest radishes. My daughter, who wouldn't eat a radish to save her life, is happily pulling them up, and crunching them up, claiming "Mmmm....good."
My broccoli hasn't flowered yet; Brassicas are notoriously slow in winter. But really, who cares?! The leaves are selectively making their way into our salad bowl, lending a lovely texture to what we eat. If we don't get flowers, we'll still have gotten our happy money's worth from them.
We are eating a salad from the garden practically every day now: our own mesclun made of lettuces, kholrabi leaves, even the tender greens from nasturtiums. We harvest every day with no appreciable dent being made in what is still out there. It's good, it's fresh. It's worth every effort that went into its growth.
The other day, I made a winter soup out of some homemade chicken stock, (more on that next post!) some mirepoix, some shiitake mushrooms and a handful of barley. I tasted it. The homemade stock was so good that it needed nothing else. Well, almost nothing else. It was brown. Very brown. Unappetizingly brown. So out to the garden I went, and came back with a big handful of broccolli raab. The soup was much improved. Not only did the greens improve the look of the soup, but they added a freshness to the rich, earthy mix.
And better still, using the greens made the soup mine. I planted the seeds. I transplanted the seedlings. I watered them. I worried over them. I threw them into my soup. And I ate them. I can't eat anything from my garden without feeling that blooming sense of prideful ownership. It's a strange, but a welcome feeling.
Next step? Sharing my bounty with other people.