Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Winter Garden

The kids and I ate about half a raw cabbage this afternoon. We had four heads left in the garden, marginally protected, and we're going out of town this weekend, so we decided to harvest. The kids always have to eat what we pick, so off we went to get a knife, and nibble at slices of cabbage. And, of course, since we've gone through some heavy cold temperatures, the cabbage's starches were all converted to sugars. I knew it happened, of course, but I rarely have cabbages in the garden so late, so I'd never tasted one quite this good. So we ate and ate until we were full of raw cabbage and happiness, partly from the sheer surprise of it.

We still have turnips and beets, parsnips, carrots and daikon mulched in the ground, and kale, mustard and spinach as well. It has been a mild year, of course, but even in the coldest winters here, with minimal effort I was able to winter-over leeks and kale.

I've heard people say, "I love to garden - I have to garden all year round, so I could never live where you do." Well, I do garden all year round. By the time most of the garden is finished, in mid-December, I'm picking out seeds. Leeks and the earliest container tomatoes, some greens and pansies will be started in January. When the first thaw comes (it is a fake, of course, but we'll take it) in February, we dig parsnips and check the cold frames for signs of life. The first protected greens are ready by the third week of March, by which time my house is exploding with seedlings, and at the beginning of April, the potatoes and onions go out, along with various greens and roots.

Global warming may have extended our season some (a pleasure not worth its price, of course), but even without it, gardening goes on forever.

Sharon

8 comments:

Ottawa Gardener said...

I aspire for a all year garden in Canada Zone 5a. Today it is -30 C with the wind chill. I say garden on!

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