On Saturday I pulled a monster (4.5″ diameter) leek out of the greenhouse for dinner, and a friend says, my gosh, what did you do to that thing? Nothing much, just the coddled life in the greenhouse. So, she said, they’re like the Kobe beef of the vegetable world. Oh yeah, I say: I massage my leeks with sake daily.
She was on to something, though. In point of fact, those greenhouses of ours are taking some getting used to, like all good tools. My garden and food-preservation life has also needed to adjust. With effort (mostly in the form of forethought), I will need to do a LOT less canning and freezing this year. This, incidentally, is not the best news if I consider how much time was spent and how much food was preserved last year. Well, it’s still good news; it’s just quite a bit of an adjustment.
So, I have had these greenhouses (hoophouses, polytunnels) for a year and a half now. This is therefore my second spring with them and I now have my first full year of harvesting under my belt. Like any beginning gardener, I am completely learning, completely figuring out how to manage (in reality, I’m flying by the seat of my pants). But here it is, early May, and we definitely have had a salad for nearly every dinner for the last year. We cleaned out the rest of last autumn’s veggies from the greenhouses within the last month. And recently, we’ve been able to pull new (planted since Feb.) vegetables out of the greenhouses and gardens: Asian veggies and brassicas mostly, like pak choy and broccoli and napa cabbage, as well as asparagus from outdoors.
This is great! Preferring fresh produce whenever possible, I can really plan on doing a lot less canning and freezing over the summer. Yes indeed I will still be chained to the stove for fruit and tomato season, and I’ll still freeze some green beans; for the most part, though, the garden and greenhouse contents need to adjust. Less cabbage in the root cellar, less sauerkraut, time the fall and winter plantings to add more root crops, stage the production of staples like parsley, carrots, onions, and celery.
It also means I don’t need 70 tomato plants again. But the leeks? Oh yeah: about 100!