Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First New Life in the Garden

A couple of warm days, after weeks of snow and way-below freezing temps, and the snow has melted. Of course, seasonal temperatures are forecast to return later today, but in the meantime I got the chance to check on the garden.

No sign of the fall-planted garlic or shallots yet. But, looking closely, I find the spinach and arugula have germinated. Broadcast last fall, watered in by the melting snow, there won't be much growth to be seen just yet. But they can take the freezing weather yet to come, and their roots will start reaching down deep. Then, as the days get longer and warmer, they'll have a good foundation to start putting on top growth. I've found sowing in fall the best way to get a good harvest from these two quick-to-bolt greens. And that harvest comes when I really start craving something green and fresh; when I'm getting tired of stored cabbages and roots.

The leeks too, are perking up and starting to fill out. Young plants divided and set out last summer sent up seed stalks. I broke the seed stalks off, and left the plants in place in the fall. Now, with the snow melt, they've started growing again. I'll leave them to bulk up for the next couple of months, harvesting them for fresh use usually in March and earliest April. Dormant season gardening is soooo easy.

I like experimenting with storing food too. Right now we're snacking on fresh chocolate zucchini bread. I made a three-loaf batch yesterday from a monster zucchini stored in the cellar. The skin was a bit tough, so I skimmed that off with the veggie peeler, and scooped out most of the seeds with a spoon. One-third of the zuke we had as a dinner vegetable, sauteed in olive oil with onions and garlic; the rest shredded for the bread recipe. And there's still one more left in the cellar, looking good.


Greg W said...

Hi, just found your blog and I like it. I'm over in Utah but a slightly different growing zone, 5B. I like the idea of scattering seeds around in the Fall and will try to remember to do that next year.

I do the winter sowing thing so it shouldn't be too much of a stretch. Also, since I see you are able to keep zucchini's for so long maybe I'll grow a few more this year.

Thanks again for the info.

Greg W

Mrs. J @ Road Less Traveled said...

Very cool! I never would have thought to scatter spinach seeds in the Fall. Last year was my first attempt at spinach, and it went poorly. They all germinated and started growing, but it got too warm for them too quickly. Maybe if I tried your approach it would be more successful, since it would give the plants the most time.