gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

In the northern latitudes where I grew up, gardening is simply not something one does in the winter. The very thought is absurd: even if the frozen soil is not covered by thick snow — which it is, most of the time — the scant amount of winter sunlight would hardly be enough to coax even the sprightliest of seeds to germinate. That’s why it took me some time to get my mind around the concept of year-round gardening here in the Pacific Northwest. I could only get used to it by fastidiously following the local nursery’s planting calendar. Really? Plant seeds in October? Really? Harvest something edible in December?

It’s true that things slow down in the winter even here. But there is quiet growing happening out there, and we continue to eat from the garden almost every day. Let me take you for a little tour…

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First of all, everything is green! That is the payoff of the winter rains: as soon as the sun comes out, the colors do too, in Technicolor-bright hues. This is the corner of our backyard where most of the growing happens. In the plastic tunnels, protected from the worst of the rain and the cold, we are growing a few varieties of lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, onions, and chard. The parsnips and the arugula are growing in the grow bags I used for growing potatoes earlier this year, and so far they seem to be working well.

The baby Swiss chard plants are still tender and the leaves remain small, but slowly they are pushing towards the light.

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The pea shoots have also emerged and are holding tightly onto the trellising. And the fava beans — which I thought we had lost to the squirrels that kept digging something up by that fence — are also sending forth vigorous, though somewhat squiggly, shoots.

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The first of the broccoli crowns…

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… and the cabbage — or what’s left of it after the most recent slug fest. I have not been able to be as attentive to the garden this fall as I used to, and it has taken a toll on the harvest.

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The chickens were pretty excited to be out on a morning like this, with a full day of catching-the-worms ahead of them. And I was, too. Although I suppose the “worms” I was going to spend my day catching are of a different nature…

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Wishing you a good day, too!

One thought on “December in the Garden

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