Heading out to check on my garden is a daily activity I do more out of enjoyment than necessity. Mel’s claim that Square Foot Gardening is a low-maintenance technique has certainly rung true in my yard. There is no weeding nor tilling nor thinning to do. And while part of me is cursing the cool, wet weather of this Spring-that-never-really-was, I haven’t had to water my garden yet either.
I’ve been enjoying salads and chard for several weeks now. And as the plants grow bigger I have begun to notice that I’m not the only one reaping the benefits of this convenient food source. Last week while rinsing chard leaves I noticed clusters of small, oval shaped white eggs about 1 mm long. They rinsed off easily and I was reassured by the fact that I’d be sauteeing these greens – a little cooked protein wouldn’t hurt me.
More recently I’ve noticed holes in some of my lettuce greens. I don’t mind them. Green Bean wrote that perhaps it would be nice if we could lessen our standards of perfection when it comes to our food. I heartily agree. Raised on a diet of perfectly symmetrical tomatoes, uniformly coloured apples, and pristine pre-washed packaged greens it might be disconcerting to find that some little critter has snacked on your snack before you get to it. Surprisingly, I haven’t minded at all. I think a big part of that is due to the effort – both physical and emotional – I’ve put into my garden. Waste a perfectly good salad leaf because of a 0.5 cm hole? No way! OTOH, I think if I’d bought the lettuce at the store I would be a bit peeved to find holes in the leaves. Yet still, the leaf from my garden tasted far sweeter than any bought elsewhere!
Here’s how things are looking these days in my garden. The Gai Lan plant is amazing me with its height – watching it grow is a true adventure because I have never seen a Gai Lan plant, I have no idea what to expect of it (the white flowers are a nice surprise) and I don’t even know when I’m supposed to harvest it (I’ll have to Google that one soon).
At least I know broccoli when I see it so the Gai Lan plant’s neighbour (behind it in the photo above), while also impressive in its spread, is still obviously in the pre-harvest stage. The sugar snap peas are reaching new heights, overgrowing the trellis but showing signs of flowering that I’m guessing means we’ll have fruit there eventually.
I’m still waiting for the carrots (centre right plot in the photo above), but the onion tops (centre left) are developing bulbous…things…(flower?) on their tops and I understand that this is the last stage before they begin to topple over and die (meaning the onions will be ready to harvest).
Mostly, I’m just enjoying the lush greens of my garden. I can’t even describe how satisfying it all is, how mystifying (all this from a handful of tiny seeds?), how rewarding it is to grow one’s own food. This little garden of mine is just an experiment, a wonderful addition to our table but not yet a significant source of food for us. I want to learn as much as I can, expand the operation next year, and move towards eventually providing some serious stores of food for our family. In the meantime, Green is my favorite colour.