Monday, February 16, 2015

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Winter is always a guest that outstays its welcome. In October, I pull sweaters and scarves out of storage bins, giddy that I'm being reunited with things I haven't seen in months. By February, I'm sick of them all. Walking into the closet these days is as exciting as getting my teeth cleaned. This year is no different. I can't imagine how people in the North can cope, especially those who must now be wondering if they'll be buried in snow. I feel for them. Snow is uncommon here, but as I write this post the rain is falling heavily outside, and the temperatures are dropping along with it. By morning, we should expect to find a sheet of ice blanketing all that we survey, so it's hard to imagine the days when I can walk through a lush vegetable garden in the summer sun. 

Winter makes me fidgety. I've scanned every gardening book and magazine in the house two and three times. I just want to get outside. My seed starting operation is all that keeps me from losing my patience. I come home every day to fuss over my little seedlings and count down the days until they'll be mature enough to go into the vegetable garden. Sometimes it feels like the countdown has stalled, even though the seedlings haven't.

Greek pepperoncini seedlings

I suspect we all are desperate for a little green these days. Maybe we need something to remind us how wonderful the green can be. I've been looking back at last year's vegetable garden photos, and they do make me excited for the warm days to come. Seeing things growing in the garden, if only in photo form, renews my faith that spring is certainly on its way. Hopefully they'll do the same for you.

Last year's yellow pear tomatoes

Cherry bell peppers

Greek pepperoncini peppers

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Gentle Plea to Peas

Dwarf Grey Sugar Snap...Flowers

Dear Sugar Snap Pea-

You may not remember me. After all, I was only truly successful at growing you when I lived in Michigan, which was nearly five years ago. If that doesn't ring a bell, I was the gardener who couldn't get you to the dinner table. I ate every single one of you whilst picking you. I couldn't help myself. I apologize for my own memory lapse, but I have no idea which variety I planted. I was new to gardening and took poor notes...or no notes at all. Whoever it was, at least the taste was memorable. You certainly lived up to your French name of mangetout (eat all).

I'm writing because I've been thinking about you a lot lately, what with the spring planting season marching ever closer, and I've been a little worried about our relationship of late. In the past couple of years, your performance has been rather different from those heady days in Michigan. As you may see from the photo above, you put on quite a show in my Florida garden, but, if I may be so bold, flowering seemed all you cared to do. Perhaps you found the garden a perfect vacation or retirement spot?

I don't mean to create any animosity, but your snow pea cousins did, in fact, flower and produce enough edible pods for a few meals whilst in Orlando. So I know it can be done.

Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Pea

The first attempt to grow you in Georgia this past fall didn't go so well, either. Sure, the cold temperatures came rather earlier than expected, but I'm beginning to develop a complex at this point. Have I done something wrong?

Super Sugar Snap Pea...Flowers

I just want you to know that in spite of everything, I like you. I like you a lot, and I want you back. I'm inviting you to use my garden this spring as the location for your next family reunion. We're preparing the site for it right now, and it should be fantastic. When you arrive, I'll even provide the plates for the feast you prepare.