Friday, February 01, 2008

The Lists of Avalon

Though I fully expect the groundhog to see his shadow tomorrow and to predict another obvious six weeks of winter, the wacky weather we've had this week continues to tease me with hints of spring, like with the misty freezing rain this morning.

Frustration seems to be the gardener's constant companion at this time of year. Every warm spell brings mud and the sweet scent of the earth, and those two things automatically trigger the desire to rattle seed packets, to dig, and to plant. And yet, still we wait.

My seeds, at least, have arrived, so I can begin the plans for this year's garden -- the Victory Garden. And here's the list of what I'll be growing this year:

--plenty of greens: Green Lance Asian greens (like Chinese broccoli), Cracoviensis lettuce, Strela Green lettuce, Mizspoona mustard greens, Prize Choy Pak Choi, Winterbor curly kale, and Nero di Tuscana dinosaur kale
--beans for drying: Windsor Fava, Black Kabouli garbanzo, cannellini, Tiger Eye
--melons: Golden Gopher cantaloupe, Sugar Baby watermelon
--carrots: Nantes Fancy, Jaune du Doubs (a yellow)
--Evergreen Hardy white scallions
--Hopi Red Dye amaranth (also good for eating) and Omega flax
--and lots of herbs and edible flowers: anise hyssop, borage, chives, Caribe cilantro, salad burnet, summer savory, winter savory, Mad-dog skullcap, white yarrow, Resina calendula, Jewel Mix nasturtium

The Original Organic Farmer has also promised some tomato seedlings from her batch, and My Dear Papa has his fingers crossed for some old-fashioned Rutgers!

I'm hoping to start a few of the greens here in the loft sometime soon, just to ease me into spring, but the bulk of the work, of course, lies ahead. So to prepare myself, I've started my to-do lists:

The Victory Garden (at the Absent-Minded Professor's)
--Find out timetable for building raised beds. (Done 2/9/08)
--Sketch out plans for planting (since I know the approximate size of the beds). (Done 3/17/08)
--Set up a compost bin.
--Talk to the AMP about irrigation or a rain barrel. (Done 2/9/08)
--Lay out chart with timetables for planting and harvesting. (Done 2/10/08)
--Start digging!

The Inn Herb Beds
--Turn compost. (Done 4/8/08)
--Look over designated vegetable area; will there be enough sun? (Done 3/2/08; not enough!)
--Start clearing herb beds.
--Sketch out plans for planting.
--Sow seeds April/May.
--Call the Lady Bountiful about what seedlings she'll have available come June (or sooner). (Done 3/17/08)
--Note on calendar when to harvest for drying.

Then, of course, I'll have to keep up with everything... whew! But at least I'm on course to plant a little paradise of my own very soon.

Once the weather finally cooperates, that is...



At 2/02/2008 5:37 PM, Blogger Bri said...

This is just so exciting, Jennifer! What a lot of work, but so gratifying during and after. You'll have to regale us with stories and photos. Are the veggies that you mentioned going to be planted at the Absent-Minded Professor's, or on your property? How great that you are doing your own beans. I'm not a huge fava person, but the garbanzo, cannellini and Tiger Eyes will be such terrific pantry staples. I love amaranth too. When I was in Mexico, I was served a traditional dish where they took a fist sized bundle of tender amaranth stalks, egg battered them, and then fried them up. They served them on a plate covered in a tomato based sauce and you would take a stalk and sort of strip off the good stuff with your teeth. The greens are really tasty sauteed too. Yum! Best of luck with these adventures in gardening!

At 2/02/2008 6:26 PM, Blogger Alyssa said...

I really want to plant beans because they store so well and they're so good for you. How do you dry them?

At 2/02/2008 9:06 PM, Blogger foodperson said...

Oh, dear. You are SO much more ambitious than I am. I think I'll just watch your garden and pretend it's mine. OK?

At 2/04/2008 7:03 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I have to say, Bri, right now I'm kind of dreading the prep work, after taking two tumbles this weekend on slippery surfaces and wrenching my back a little... so I will be working out before working outside!

Since I have no property (there's no good ground three floors up!), the veggies will be at AMP's (with a few, perhaps, at the Inn). I've never tried favas before, so this will be an interesting experiment. And thanks for the idea on the amaranth... sounds delicious!

Alyssa, if you want dried beans, you'll definitely want to find varieties that are meant for drying... a lot of green and wax beans aren't. But as I understand it, you can either let the pods dry on the bush or vine (and get pests on 'em, but that can be dealt with) or pick them as they start to dry, spread them out somewhere and let them finish drying. I will probably try both, just to see what works best for me.

Janet, I always tend to go overboard... so have fun watching me scramble to keep up with it all! And if you ever end up in the neighborhood for a visit, I might even share the results! :-)

At 2/04/2008 4:57 PM, Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Sometime it seems like the biggest job is just keeping track of everything. I need a personal assistant to remind me when to plant the favas.

At 2/05/2008 7:04 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I think you may be right, Ed... the clearing is tough work, but it's pretty easy compared to figuring out planting dates and keeping track of growing cycles. Fingers crossed!


Post a Comment

<< Home