Spring is just a few weeks away

a basket of grapes from our garden last summer

It's still the dead of winter, meteorologically speaking. We have about 5 centimeters of a sort of perma-snow on the ground now, which almost melts but not quite before we get the next snowfall. The weather is pretty lousy much of the time, though lately we have been getting some bright sunshine in the afternoon. But, I'm feeling restless, even nervous. Because when I look at the calendar, it's now time to start worrying about starting seedlings.

I am a rather sporadic gardener. Last year in fact I didn't do much at all in the garden, beyond taking pictures of the various flowers when they bloomed, or enjoying the raspberries (which we didn't get a good crop of due to the record-breaking hot summer we had) and the almost-wild grapes growing from ancient vines growing around the old milk shed (we got a record crop of these, and they were wonderful.) But this year I'm determined to do some serious gardening again.

Why am I posting this on my food blog? Because, for me a large part of gardening is connected to food, as in growing fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. There is absolutely nothing to match the taste of freshly picked vegetables. Sure, you can get very good vegetables nowadays from the supermarket, and of course there are those wonderful market stalls - but the vegetables you grow yourself are still the best. And fruit - well, delicate fruit like raspberries and blackberries are expensive to buy, and (at least in our usually cool-summer climate) so easy to grow in abundance, if you have the space to do so. I want to get a couple of fruit trees established too, especially since we had to cut down a rotting old plum tree that still yielded the sweetest fruit.

Finally, one of the goals I have for my garden this year is to establish a proper herb garden. I've never gotten around to do doing this up until now for some reason, although we do have a huge healthy sage bush growing in the middle of our vegetable garden, and several very nicely established lavendar bushes. And we have wild mint popping up like weeds all over. I need to add to that the usual perennial herbs like thyme and tarragon, try to keep rosemary alive (it's a borderline plant in our climate), get a bay tree, and of course grow the important annual herbs like basil, summer savory and shiso.

This year, I am going to try to use blogging to force myself to keep to some sort of gardening schedule. I'm not sure yet if I will just use this blog to keep track of what I'm doing, or to establish another one dedicated to gardening. But I will use a blog as a gardening diary. In any case, my garden will be closely connected to my kitchen, so if you're interested, please stay tuned. In the meantime I better sort through my seeds....

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Spring is just a few weeks away

Try getting a prostrate rosemary and overwintering it with burlap wrapped around it's base. That finally worked for me, I love in zone 6B. I have a small herb garden right out my back door and it gives me great pleasure. Good luck with yours. What is shiso? What seeds are you going to start?

becky | 10 February, 2004 - 19:01

Spring is just a few weeks away

Yes, home grown vegetables are the best. Sometimes you just end up with too. many. of. them! Here in Australia it's high summer and the patch is out of control. You want some pumpkins? Good luck with your gardening. And your cooking.

kitchenhand | 11 February, 2004 - 08:43

Spring is just a few weeks away

Becky, I have a pretty big list of seeds but right up there are tomatoes of course, aubergines - not the big European kind, but the small Japanese kinds, and some onions to start in February. Then a bit later, some cabbages and broccoli rape. I can probably plant peas and spinach outside in March...so much to do. :) Thanks for the idea about wrapping rosemary in burlap! I know that our winter temperatures here are milder than zone 7 where I used to live (it only gets to a bit below zero here usually) so that should probably do it.

Shiso is a standy Japanese herb - the latin name is perilla. It's used as an ornamental plant often, but the green kind especially is great for various dishes. I hope to be able to post about it later this year.

kitchenhand, right now it's snowing steadily with already about 10cm of new powder snow on the ground (and we're not living in a ski resort) so I wish I was there in Australia! :)

Makiko Itoh | 11 February, 2004 - 13:37

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