What a sight for sore eyes! When the green erupts, seemingly overnight, after a loooong hard winter there is no way to adequately express my gratitude and relief.
We gorge ourselves on salad, wilted, and braised greens. The abundance borders on the absurd after months of eeking by with a mere salad a week from the unheated greenhouse beds. Feast or famine. All or nothing.
This year in addition to the greens upon greens and rhubarb out of our ears we were finally free to harvest as much asparagus as we could eat. That plant really knows how to drive a message home! I am NOT A PATIENT PERSON. I guess that's why I love annuals so much and am one of the only unpractical (and proud of it, dammit) people here in sensible ole' Vermont who will spend her time (and money) on tropical container plants in a short zone 4 summer.
Asparagus takes three or four years for the crowns to grow sufficiently to withstand heavy harvesting. You wait, and weed, and weed, and mulch and then do it all again another year and another and still you've maybe eaten two meals worth. But man is it worth the wait! And OMG I am now ruined for yet another vegetable! Once you eat freshly harvested, garden grown asparagus you will never be able to buy it at the grocery store again, ever. It is juicy and succulent and SWEET. A bit of oil, plenty of salt, and a hot oven for 10-12 minutes is all it takes. Heavenly.
AND you get the added bonus of a little comic relief when you are in the bathroom wondering if you have some sort of infection and you realize, oh wait, I've eaten ASPARAGUS four times this week! Ummm yeah, I know. I know.
And when the harvesting is over you have a veritable FOREST which is the conversation piece of every garden tour. "What is THAT?!"
And what is THAT? Oh, you know, that's just the sharpie bucket. Or sharpy bucket, whichever you prefer. We think the garden was placed over what used to basically be a dump for the old timers who built this place back in the late 1800s. The frost heaves bits of glass and pottery annually to the surface of the soil where we barefoot gardeners collect it. Enter at your own risk. I once found an old cows tooth. Pretty cool. Almost as cool as the teeny tiny mouse skull we found in the lath of a kitchen wall we tore down. MOUSE SKULL.
So do you get the sense that I have less to say? The weeks are just going by. I take a picture here or there. I load it onto my sluggish computer and there it sits until when three weeks later I take the EXACT SAME PICTURE only the plants are bigger. This season I have struggled to keep up with my "sharing". I'm sort of over it. Ironically, this is shaping up to be my best season yet. Year 5 in Vermont and I feel like I finally have the lay of the land, or garden. Like, I know that the flea beetles are going to decimate my brassicas if I don't cover them, and sometimes even when I do. I know that I shouldn't plant my tomatoes and peppers until Memorial Day although my hubris will lead me astray (more on that later). I know that celosia is probably a waste of my time.
And I know all that but this year I chose to do it anyway. I choose to grow celosia, gomphrena, a red banana plant for chrissakes. I planted my tomatoes when I felt like it, and then replanted half of them when the frost protection cloth didn't live up to it's name. See, there is a REASON I grow 80 tomato seedlings. HA! I knew it was coming, I am religious about looking at night time temperatures in the spring. I just did it anyway because it was a relief to pretend that I didn't know any better .
For years I have put professional pressure on myself to always do the right thing in the garden. Always choose the varieties that will thrive in the exact conditions I will plant them in, space them sufficiently, not admit defeat. But now I just want to regress. I see my friends and I see strangers with a small kitchen garden or a couple of pots that they just LOVE. They go to the garden center and pick out WHAT THEY LIKE. They aren't counting to make sure their pots will be evenly distributed. They don't know that that lobelia will probably look like shit come August. They aren't worried that their greenhouse heater is out AGAIN and that the seedlings that they have hinged waaaaay too much of their selfworth on are damping off. Theirs is a simpler joy. Maybe naivete. But I want some of that. I drive myself, and my poor poor husband, entirely up the wall over plants.
Yet if there is one cliche that I have latched onto and seen come true again and again it's that you can't get something for nothing. My highs are higher. I know they are. Just as a toddlers joy is as intense as their most manic tantrum. When things are right in my garden they are REALLY right. I tap into something deep.
And of all the passions and roads I've gone down, this one has stuck. I do not ever tire of it. At least not in more than a purely physical way. I mean, trying to deal with an overgrown forsythia thicket... a girl has her limits... but I don't want to move on. I'm not looking for the next thing. This is it.
And I feel like it shows.