You know you’ve had a successful harvest if you still have some of last year’s produce in storage when the new stuff needs to be pulled. I still have about a pound, maybe more, of garlic from 2008 so I did the head-scratching routine of “was I stingy with garlic this last year?” I answered that in the negative; we had our fair courses of garlic soup, and enough homemade aioli to keep any vampire far away. There were also plenty of heads to replant.
“Enough,” or even “adequate,” are tough nuts to crack when you’re growing your own. It will either be a while before you hit that goal, or you’ll overshoot it and will feel pangs of guilt every time you open the freezer and see all those bags of broccoli, broccoli your family picks at if you serve it to them. There is a happy medium in there, one in which you don’t feel like the food is overly precious or overly expendable. And it will take you a year or two of doing this before you discover that sweet spot.
All cleaned up and ready for eating
But back to the garlic. It was another good year for garlic, a crop I discovered does best when grown in the greenhouse, last hardneck batches sown on New Year’s Day. It’s an indispensable kitchen item in this house; it, and parsley, populate every supper dish, or near enough. I am thankful for a good harvest.
(And yes, some of it will be available in the seed trade.)
Part of last year’s squash haul
I guess I AM a bit obsessed: on top of all the planting, weeding, and harvesting on the garden task list this week, harvesting the biennials’ seeds is also a top priority. Spinach, beets, and three types of onions are ready to harvest, and then there are all those crazy lettuces that are likewise on the brink. (And winter squash: I saved a few for seed of the ones that made it through the winter…it’s nearly past time to cut them open and haul out their seeds to dry.)
Seed-saving seems to have taken over as the subject of my blog posts, anyway…
Verily, I admit I save more than I use; it’s one of the reasons I have started seed-trading with local gardeners and even some online gardening friends. The local angle is pretty great as seeds from the plants grown in this particular patch of earth will more than likely do well in other Michigan gardens. But somehow the idea of seed-sowing over a wider patch of the world also appeals to me. In point of fact, I believe I will start a limited seed trade with anyone who’s interested. So, over the next…well, month or more, I hope to have a bit of a list on the sidebar of this blog for you to peruse. All seeds will be open-pollinated, organically grown, and under two years old.
If you are interested, simply look at the list and email me and we’ll figure out a suitable arrangement for getting the seeds to you. I might require some seeds from you in return, or maybe your first-born child. You know. Something equitable and fair.