Last week, snow and ice glazed the local ground and trees after a Nor’easter rolled through, reminding antsy gardeners like me that winter wasn’t over.
After town crews cleared the roads, I drove by the community garden to look at the plots. Snow roughly blanketed the flat vacant fields. Statues looked like someone had dipped them in ice. Fringed sleeves of clear frozen water dangled from the brittle tree branches and bushes.
A few days later, conditions improved. The sun emerged and melted away the winter scene. I drove by the community garden again on my way to rent a space for 2017. St. Patrick’s Day with its promise of green seemed like a great time to sign up. The ground remained frozen, but the outdoor scene free of snow radiated with simplicity and sunshine.
Tonight, the Green Thumbs are getting together to make plans for this year’s garden. I envision growing rows of beans and flowers, maybe an old-seed patch, and staples such as peppers, tomatoes, onions, and zucchini.
Whatever we decide to plant, the ground can start to thaw now and temperatures can warm up. The calendar says spring, and we’re ready to garden.
In addition to growing our own vegetables each summer, my family likes to join a CSA. A medium share each week from the Community Supported Agriculture complements our harvest and insures that if our novice efforts at the community garden fail, we will still sit down at the end of the day to a meal made from fresh, locally-grown food.
The Green Thumbs have had success each year with the familiar crops of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, beans, squash, and zucchini. Our onions and lettuce have had good years and bad. Our corn quality was phenomenal last year. But our potato quantity fizzled.
I like the security of knowing that a professional farmer is backing us up with the basics and growing vegetables less familiar to our garden such as broccoli rabe, beets and Bok choy.
The weekly surprise of the CSA menu also interests me. Whereas I know what our family plants and how far along the vegetables are growing, someone else tends to the CSA farm. The grower sends us an advanced email of what to expect, but on busy weeks my first glance of our share is what’s written on the board in the barn at pickup.
My youngest son likes to experiment in the kitchen, so the mix of vegetables from two different places offers him a creative challenge. He turns kale from the CSA into chips, and strawberries from the community garden into dessert. In between, he mixes vegetables from both places to create a tasteful stir-fry dish.
A notice came this week that registration has opened for the community garden. In addition, my local CSA is accepting members. Our family plans to sign up for both.