Sunday, February 7, 2010

When winter gets long, the antsy get going

Though it is technically winter now, I optimistically consider it the beginning of spring because February is seed-starting time. Yesterday afternoon, I headed out to the coop (really a storage shed until our chicks arrive later this month) to dig up my kits to begin another year of growing. I mean that both in terms of the plants and myself.

I came to the country having never mowed a lawn or planted a flower to preparing seeds and, soon, beds for more than 60 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Mike ran a lawn-mowing business in high school, so he at least knows the basics of grass.

It surprises me -- and most people who know me -- how interested I have become in gardening and growing food, even though I am an editor of a local home and garden magazine. It's a part of me that has pushed through to the surface of my being and is now as much a part of my skin as the dirt I can't seem to scrub off. I have many hobbies and likes, but one I didn't know I had? That's the meaning behind our blog's tag line: Everything we never knew we always wanted.

So here it is, Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm kicking off my own version of a big game. The Colts' and Saints' seasons are coming to an end (fingers crossed that NOLA gets the win), while mine is just getting warmed up on the bench. Will my garden score big this season? I don't know, but as the coach, I'm putting me in.

The starters: artichokes, celery and leeks. 

I was practically ridiculed last season by a fellow gardener for trying artichokes in our zone, but I continued growing them and they continued growing for me. Mind you they were smaller than store-bought varieties, but they turned out to be Rudys. We steamed and dipped them in butter. Mmmm... Plus, they were about the only plants the deer didn't touch.

Celery is another vegetable local growers said to stay away from, but I'd like to see for myself. Devoid of calories, I imagine they'll be as annoying as players' model girlfriends. 

Leeks must be like the defensive line: hardy. These winter stalwarts are going to keep me away from the harvest goal for seven months. Ref, call them for holding...  

The whistle is about to blow, gotta go!

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