Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cycle of Seasons

Ah, the circle of life and harvest and replanting...

While I was spending too much time on the computer the other day (ahem), WF brought me this plate: All products of our garden last year! The carrots have been in slumbering in sawdust, and the garlic has been hanging out in the basement. Look at the size of that thing: that’s ONE clove! I love that variety- easy to peel. WF’s more of the garlic-grower, but I believe it’s Elephant something, a variety he’s been replanting from year to year for the past few years. Both the carrots and the garlic are getting a bit past their prime now in March, but still good enough to use. It is a nice feeling to still be eating from our gardens when we haven’t even SEEN them in a couple months…deep under the snow as they are.

We’re also slowly finishing our various seed orders, starting the cycle anew. WF’s been consulting the “Seed to Seed” book by Suzanne Ashworth more lately, trying to figure out which seeds we’ve saved in past years (somewhat haphazardly, in my case) will get us through this year. How many years do they last? What’s the cross-pollination story? We had the world’s most productive kale plant last year- it actually over-wintered from two years ago, and started setting seeds in early July. We were still gathering pods through September. We saved them diligently, but now read that there might have been too much cross-pollination (those freewheeling plants!) going on in that garden… kale and mustard greens and arugula and all sorts of things. I wouldn’t mind it if gave us some sort of super-brassica adapted to our garden, but I’m afraid that’s not how the greens genes (hee- Remember Mr. Green Jeans?) work. Guess we’ll plant and wait and see!!

And at the risk of setting a cat picture precedent…

Schroeder has carefully inspected the mid-winter produce and pronounced it… not as exciting as chicken. We’ll be cooking chicken (or maybe salmon) again soon, right?


cyndy said...

Those carrots and garlic look like they would be splendid in a stew!

If the variety of kale that you planted is heirloom, it will be true to seed and you can do the happy dance...if however, it was an F1...it may be a surprise just what emerges...whichever...how nice that you were able to keep it going until it produced seed!

Endment said...

You bring memories of the past harvest and the coming season of planting. The pictures and the words blend into food for all the senses

Anonymous said...

The Garlic...

That big garlic clove is..
"Music Pink" I believe,
a hard neck garlic. I chose two kinds (Music Pink/hard neck and Chilean Silver/softneck) a few years back, and have been just saving and replanting for quite a few years now. The hardneck/easy-to-peel are probably at the end of their usual storage lifetime now. the softnecks can last for a year? More info below.

- currently billed as "W.F."
at raising frolic

Music Pink Garlic - 1/2 lb.
Hardneck Porcelain
Chester Aaron, northern California's Garlic Guru, describes Music Pink as "one of the heartiest, largest, and tastiest garlics." Large cloves and rich flavor make it ideal for roasting. Pale pink-skinned bulbs keep 5-8 months. Averages 3-4 bulbs per 1/2 lb. with 5-7 cloves per bulb.

Chilean Silver Garlic - 1/2 lb.
Softneck Silverskin
A luminous pure-white garlic, consistently large and uniform. Robust, balanced but spicy flavor. Keeps up to twelve months. Averages 3-4 bulbs per 1/2 lb. with 15-18 cloves per bulb.
Hardneck varieties: Large easy-peeling cloves form around a stiff woody stem. Rich aromatic flavor is not too spicy. Once the garlic begins to grow the curling tops can be removed for a culinary treat and to increase production. These are the preferred garlics for more northern climates. Typically can be stored 3 to 6 months.

Softneck varieties: Otherwise known as braiding garlics, these varieties do not produce a flower spike. They are more productive and adaptable to warmer climates than the hardneck type and generally have a spicier flavor. Softnecks can be stored for a year or more under proper conditions.

Deb said...

Oh good! I planted Music garlic last fall, along with Spanish Roja. It's nice to know that Music does well in this climate. Thanks for the info, W.F.