Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday in the garden

Good Friday falls on April 2nd this year (with Easter, as usual, on the first Sunday after the first full moon, after the 21st of March -- hilarious!). I got the chance to work in the garden a bit today. We should still have snow (or the threat of snow) at this time of year, but it is more like July out there today. We did get an ugly blast of cold last week that made me fear for my over-enthusiastic planting earlier in March. But, have faith in the desire to live, those crazy seeds made it through the -11 C night the other day. Here's where we are today:

Rhubarb continues to creep me out with it's triffid-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-/-alien look. But I know I will like it later when it looks more normal. There was a recent recipe post on Orangette that I will try with the stuff once it is a little farther along.

The arugula is coming up. That 4-petaled seed-leaf mirrors the 4-petaled flowers that gives this family of plants their name: Cruciferae -- fitting for Easter weekend, I guess. This family includes cabbage, radishes, kale, kholrabi, broccoli, Brussles sprouts, and all the other cabbagey fart-machines of the plant world.  Eat more of them! They're good for you!!

The salad burnett made it -- there was an earlier flush of growth that got wiped out in the -11. This stuff tastes like cucumbers and is a nice addition to salads, but has no other earthly use as far as I know (other than looking really pretty!).

Garlic!! This is some Russian red hardneck variety that I got at the farmer's market in the fall. I chucked a few cloves in the ground before freeze-up and here they come! Awesome!!

Egyptian (a.k.a. walking) onions will continue thier quest for world domination this summer. They may make it this time given the early spring. These plants grow mini onions at the tops of the green onion leaves. The weight of these mini onions eventually causes the leaf to bend down to the ground, "planting" the baby onions in the process. In this way they walk across the garden, and the WORLD! Look for them marching into your garden soon!

Lovage has finally come up. I think it is really funny to get a picture at this early stage since this stuff will be the most massive thing you've ever seen in a month. As a wise man once said to me "You can never have not-enough lovage." I keep it in the garden more for the wasps than for me -- they like the flowers. But I also appreciate it's comic exhuberance.

Here are the radishes! Also Cruciferae. They came up on top of the fava beans (no sign from them yet, but they take FOREVER). You should also eat more radishes! I'll post a lovely Belgian snack that features them as the star ingredient soon. I grow the French Breakfast variety.

Thyme is starting to sprout. This plant will get mowed down now and again through the summer (usually just as it starts to flower) to provide dried herbs through the whole winter. Whatever was living under this plant through the winter seems to have vacated the premises. Whew!

And finally, the mint. It got frozen down on the cold night, but is soldiering on. This is a mixed bed of English mint and Mohito mint (from Richters, and for that rum drink from Cuba). Both seem to be alive. Poor mint has to be segregated from the rest of the garden in this little bricked-off bed. You can skip this segregation if you want to become a mint (and only mint) farmer, but otherwise it's a good idea.

Ah, spring. It fills up your senses.

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