Kitchen Garden

Warm Winter Day

50 degrees in Big Grove, Feb. 15, 2022.

Two days of ambient temperatures in the 40s and 50s drew back snow cover to reveal a well-beaten deer path. Their droppings are scattered all over the ground. They hadn’t yet eaten tender young branches growing above the six-foot fence protecting two new apple trees. Maybe they won’t. Deer have become a regular animal in the yard. I don’t always look when I see them running down hill from the corner of my eye.

I walked around, picking up branches pruned from the fruit trees and placed them in a brush pile for spring burn. The ground didn’t give at all, remaining frozen. With temperatures today and tomorrow back in the single digits and teens, we are a distance from spring thaw.

I went to a grocery store. You know the kind. One that sells lots of different things. The organic kale looked great so I bought a bunch for stir fry and soup. I picked through the cauliflower for a clean head. Can’t remember if I ever bought kale in a store before. I don’t think so. Previously its been grown by me or my farmer friends. Frozen kale is used up, so a person has to do something to secure greens for winter meals.

One of the varieties of kale seeds didn’t germinate. The seeds are from the 2019 season, so it’s not a surprise. I’m putting together another order from my main seed vendor and expect it to be the final seed order for the 2022 garden. Seed catalogues are piling up next to the reading chair in the living room. Any more, I don’t spend much time looking at them as I know most of what I want.

A neighbor is planning an extended visit to relatives this summer. They offered me their garden plot, which is a nicely fenced area adjacent to our property. I’ve been thinking I could use more space. I’m considering it. I’d plant it with a uniform variety of vegetables, maybe fall crops of broccoli or cabbage, and adopt it for the season as the eighth plot. We’ll see.

It was good to get outside and exercise. It’s too early to begin turning dirt, so we wait. Parsley looks like it will over winter. It’s time to finalize plans for the garden.