It’s not really spring yet

But the weather is very nice, if cold, and I’ve got this packet of ‘year-round-lettuce’ that you can, supposedly, succesfully sow even in January… And the neighbour whose back garden borders on ours is already busy clearing away the debris of winter. And I’m beginning to feel the urge, too.

I’m not really an enthusiastic gardener, let alone a gardener-gardener, but that’s not a problem: the little lot we call ‘garden’ is small enough to turn over with a teaspoon, perfect for a lazy Saturday-morning amateur like me:

On the other hand, and this is were the fun starts, last year we had several good meals with the fresh peas, string beans, runner beans, radish, turnips, turnip tops, courgette, tomatoes, carrots and especially lettuce.

So, barren as it is, I have good hope that before long it will again look like this:

When we came back from Greece, the courgette plant had flourished quite spectacularly:

So you see, I consider last year quite a success, and this year I’m going to flex those greenish fingers of mine a bit, and plant quite a few more things:

  • All year lettuce
  • Onions
  • Turnip tops
  • Coriander
  • Chervil
  • Carrots
  • Radish
  • Ordinary lettuce (still have a little seed left from last year)
  • Green peas
  • Haverwortel (a tuber — untranslatable as far as I can tell — an ancient vegetable from De Historische Groentenhof
  • Krootjes (ditto)
  • Sikkim cucumber
  • Beets
  • Vegetable oyster
  • Rhubarb
  • Pak soi
  • Holy Beans (don’t ask me…)
  • May turnips
  • String beans
  • Long beans
  • Broccoletto (and that’s not the same as broccoli)

And no, I haven’t got the faintest where I shall put all of that. These are going to be very, very small patches… But tomorrow I’m going to buy manure and bags of compost and special earth to seed lettuces in.

Actually, how I discovered I liked growing eatables in the open air (as opposed to poisonous pot-plants inside) is perhaps slightly interesting to those of a hackerish bent. It happened that we had bought, in season, a pound or three of green peas from the Turkish vegetable shop in the Rielerweg, and half of them were so over-ripe as to have sprouted little roots and things. Sprouts, that’s what I mean. The peas had sprouted. This was two years ago, when I still thought that a vine or
two giving a bit of shade and a pitcher of cool wine was what a garden was invented for, that and some flowers. Anyway, the peas had sprouted, and since the newspapers were full about genetically modified veggies that would never seed and were used to establish a monopoly by evil (and I mean this, this is not badinage) corporations like Monsanto over third-world farmers, I felt like hacking some peas, open-sourcing them as it were, and I planted the things in the little strip or earth where you can see the garden bench in the piccy above.

And they grew, and grew, and bore fruit a hundred-fold, and we had four solid meals for five from two handfuls of second-hand peas, and I thought that this was a good thing, nay, a thing one of the best, and decided to push it along. And I not only decided to do so, I did, too.