Gardening Begins … kind of

Are you guys gardening yet? We already ordered our WaterSorb so we’re ready to start rototilling … but the soil’s going to be too wet for another couple of weeks. I’m sure that others are ready to start, though, because we left ours pretty much just “to stand” over winter (and harvested the last of the beets and carrots a couple weeks ago), so we had plenty of cover to keep the ground moist. Our friend (in whose yard we garden) did a rough till last week with his tractor, just to knock down the tall stuff, though, so there’s hope that it’ll dry out before midsummer.

We need to order from Kitizawa Seed for our Kabochas soon … I’ll probably take care of that today. We’ve found that Kabocha Squash makes a far better pumpkin pie than any other pumpkins, but the problem now is in choosing, because until I checked Kitizawa I was somehow thinking that there were, oh, maybe two kinds of Kabocha. No such luck. There are 12 varieties on Kitizawa’s site, so it’s either going to be a squash-filled gardening season, or we’re going to have to make some hard choices. Fortunately for us, our CSA will, no doubt, provide us with Delica (green) and Uchiki Kuri (red). Our trouble will be in deciding which of the other 10 varieties we should grow.

Next up, of course, will be the choosing of tomatoes. We are going to attempt some restraint this year, as we’re still not through with last year’s: some are in the freezer, awaiting pasta or something; more are in zips, dried, awaiting breads and pestos. However, when we get to Morning Sun Herb Farm, we usually find at least 6 different varieties right away, and a bit of wandering brings us a few more. Last year, thanks to the gophers, we “only” ended up with 7 plants. This year … I think we’re going to try for 6 plants. Only. No “fallbacks,” no “spares,” no “just in case the gophers get them.” We’ll see.

And, surprisingly, tomatoes and squash about does it for what we’d like out of the garden this year, except for an Armenian Cucumber and, perhaps, a couple of Ronde de Nice zucchini. And that’s it. Except for the things we have to grow in the way of “rent” for the garden space, that is: okra and collard greens.

It’s strange to think that we may have finally gotten our gardening under control. We’ll see – because we usually give ourselves these stern talking-tos – but I think that we may finally be learning that if you can’t eat it all, and if it makes it difficult to harvest, then you probably don’t need to grow it. And we especially don’t need to grow things which can’t be preserved easily, and which we don’t eat ordinarily. Eggplant falls into that category – the category of “one plant, maybe, if there’s room, and if the plant is free.”

That’s the problem, actually: the majority of our plants tend to be free, because other gardeners (soft-hearted lot that they are) have planted, intending to “thin,” and end up simply giving away their seedlings. So, they look at us, and we must have “sucker” writ large across our foreheads, because we end up with all manner of things to plant, unless we want to kill them off. So of course we plant them. And water them. And buy replacements when they get eaten by the gopher, because we can’t bear the empty spot where once was a plant.

Let the chaos begin.

Kitizawa Seed:
Find a CSA:
Riverdog Farm (our CSA):
Morning Sun Herb Farm:

Quick update: I made our purchase from Kitizawa, and can expect delivery in a couple of days. I guess I’m weak … ’cause I really couldn’t resist:

  • Akehime, Hybrid Winter Squash, Baby Kabocha
  • Sweet Mama, Hybrid Winter Squash, Bush Type Kabocha
  • Fairy, Hybrid Winter Squash
  • Armenian Cucumber
  • Prik Ki Nue Rai-Thai Hot Pepper
  • All Red Leaf Amaranth
  • Red Noodle Yard Long Bean
  • Tsu In Yard Long Bean
  • Nozawana Turnip Green
  • Celtuce (Stem Lettuce)
  • Atomic Red Carrot
  • Cosmic Purple Carrot

So, I really am going to stop. No more purchases. Except for the Collards, and the Tomatoes. Really. Honest.

4 Replies to “Gardening Begins … kind of”

  1. Celtuce!? What the hell is celtuce!?
    And atomic red carrots? Well, this will be yet another adventure… as long as there are no black radishes; I just cannot seem to roll with them. And now, we’ll be taking comments on favorite salad dressings, people… we’re going to need all the help we can get.

  2. Celtuce is a “stem lettuce,” meaning that the leaves grow around a large central stem. Think Brussels Sprouts, but with leaves instead of the sprouts. You can eat both the leaves and the central stem; you pick the leaves until you’ve had enough of the thing, and then you pick the stem & use it as well. The stem is supposed to taste like celery, hence the name Celtuce.

    The Atomic Red Carrots are ones we had from our CSA last year – you remember: the ones we didn’t share with anybody? The ones which were so fabulous that we couldn’t wait to see if we’d get more? And the purple ones were just a whim, really, to see what they’re like.

    Kitizawa is a fabulous place.

  3. I have no less than 48 tomatoes plants just waiting for me to thin them out. My husband planted them and he has a serious soft spot when it comes to tomatoes. Not to mention the two dozen basil plants. And the three million pepper plants. And the 16 eggplants. I have to say that it helps that our garden is 20 x 80 and I have 4 kids too feed. But still. So, where do you live? And would you like a few tomatoes? How about some basil?

  4. We’re about an hour’s drive from San Francisco. Kinda far away … ’cause you’re in Canada, correct?

    Do you have a dehydrator? With many things, we’ve found that dehydrating really works well. You can even use dehydrated zucchini for breads – you just cut them into small pieces & soak them in honey / molasses / maple syrup and they end up tasting like … well, some unidentifiable dried fruit, which is, I guess, what they are. But since they’re sweet, you don’t even know that they’re zucchini. Strange.

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