Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January garden thoughts

My garden celery is almost used up. If you had told me back in early November when I was reluctantly harvesting it stalk by stalk, that I would still be able to use it in January, I would have laughed and told you it would be too far gone by January to use in my cooking. 
It seems too much to ask my garden produce to last through my winter cooking. Summer abundance during winter hibernation. 
It is true that the celery that remains is only suited for cooking, not eating raw. It is too hollow inside to give you a true satisfying crunch. But it is perfectly suitable to flavor my rice dishes, soups, and homemade bone broths. There is something about using the less pretty parts of vegetables to produce something which is both nourishing and needed, that is very fulfilling. It makes me appreciate that growing small amounts of food may be all I can do right now, but using the food wisely is also something I can do all the time.

Speaking of hibernation, I'm trying something new this year, which is hibernating herbs in my coolest and darkest room which is our laundry room in our basement. I simply brought the plants inside, trimmed them way back and carried them downstairs to overwinter. I took the clippings and dried them, giving me fresh dried thyme, oregano, and sage to use this winter.
I am barely watering the plants, just a few sprinkles every couple of weeks and trimming back the almost albino leggy shoots that keep coming,
If the plants survive, I will declare success to my experiment. If they die, I will slink off to my nursery come summer and replace them as I have every other year.
Only my parsley remains in my garden as an apparent perennial, sleeping under the mounds of snow that are piled onto my garden plot with every fresh snow fall.
I also dried all of the celery leaves over the course of a few weeks back in late fall, trays and trays full laid out to dry and gave away several jars to friends and my mom. I use them for flavoring along with the celery, often in a bouquet garni.  Garden gifts are treasures that dirt diggers love to give and receive. Several friends have given me seed packets, gathered with their own dirt digging hands. Lovely treasures. Symbols of friendships and common loves.
And working with garden greens in January is its own gift, a promise of what awaits in spring. New life and new plans.

1 comment:

  1. I am still enjoying your celery as well - I am down to my last handful of celery leaves - which I have found a nice substitute to parsley.

    It's only January and I am already thinking tomatoes... is it ridiculous to put some seeds in indoors? I am hoping to speed spring along.


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