The garden in winter

by threegirlpileup

I am a fairly new gardener, and this is the first year that we’ve really had anything edible growing through the winter.  I’m amazed at the heartiness of the salad greens–their leaves look so tender, but they hold up through the frost.  We have more arugula than any one family could eat in a salad–I found a recipe for arugula pesto, so I think I might try that. We also have the usual sturdy winter greens growing–kale and broccoli and cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

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Also exciting in the garden are new seedlings peeking up.  It’s hard to believe that there are new little plants growing in December!

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These are little fava beans, a winter hardy bean that (like all beans) will help renitrogenate the soil.  I admit that I haven’t ever eaten fava beans, but it was appealing to plant a cover crop that is actually edible.  Our planting day consisted mainly of planting seeds and Anna digging them up (they were buried treasures, you see), so I’m encouraged by how many plants are actually growing.

This week, we took advantage of an unseasonably warm day to do some work in the garden.  While Maggie ran around the yard with Mopsey, Anna jumped right in and helped me with the garden chores.  We started by ripping out all the frost-dead plants that will still lingering.  This involved a lot of untangling peppers and tomaotes from their wire cages, which Anna really enjoyed.  We then moved onto some planting.

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Right there, she’s planting more fava beans.  It’s probably too late for them to do much growing, but she was very excited to try.  We also had a good time separating the garlic cloves and planting them.

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Anna was very determined to do her own planting.  She carefully poked holes in the soil, and would hold her clove up for inspection, making sure it was oriented in the right direction.

After we were done planting, Anna took charge of fertilizing as well, sprinkling each of our growing plants–including her beloved broccoli–with small spoonfuls of plant-tone.  Meanwhile, I pulled down the cucumber trellis and hauled all the other frames in for winter storage.

It’s a little hard to believe how soon we’ll be starting the spring garden.  Around here, peas go into the ground in February–so the growing season starts early.   It’s kind of exciting that it’s happening already, that soon there will be new blooms and new foods to eat.  At the same time,  I want things to slow down and stretch out so I can enjoy what’s going on now, not rushing into the next phase.

Not so different from life with kids, is it?

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