Sunday, May 29, 2011

may 14, 2011: ginkgo rhubarb marmalade

fiddlehead fern
The drizzly chill of the morning did not discourage the group of volunteers that visited the garden on May 14—although we did need reminding that it was not, in fact, April.
We spent the day in tasks of preparation. We were glad to find that the City had reconnected the garden’s metal “buffalo box” to the municipal water supply. We pulled our hose from the shed and snaked it through the garden, running it from the reel in front of the shed to the connection near the street.
eventually, this will be soil
We weeded empty beds in anticipation of the seedlings that were still growing at Kilbourn. We pruned and tied back raspberry bushes. We turned compost. We weeded the perennial bed in which we grow rhubarb, sorrel, and lovage. (For some reason, a group of us can remember the names of only two of the plants in this bed at a time, so that it requires two people to identify all of the plants in the bed. Signs would probably help.)

 We planted a few varieties of lettuce throughout the garden. We planted some of the lettuce between the mounds of summer squash that we had started the prior week. We might consider this an example of companion planting, in which we plant together species that have complementary growth habits. We should be able to harvest the quick-growing lettuce before the leaves of the slower-growing squash plants produce too much shade. It’s no Three Sisters, but it’s a start. We’ll need to do similar types of companion planting if we want to increase the yield from the garden.

planting lettuce between squash

We also planted lettuce in the bathtub. This is yet another attempt to make the tub serve some use other than to contribute to the garden’s junkyard motif. Last year’s try at growing potatoes in the tub was unsuccessful—although that may have been as much a result of the seed potatoes as the choice of planter.

Annie surprised us with marmalade that she had made using rhubarb from the garden. We opened a jar and spread the marmalade on bagels that Susan had brought. 

Consuming a food that was made from produce of your garden is qualitatively different from consuming produce directly. To eat a green bean picked from the vine or a radish pulled from the earth is to live in the moment: to luxuriate in the season, heedless of the future. 

It thought: here I am still, in my black suit, warm and content—and drew a little music from its dark thighs. As though the twilight under the refrigerator were the world. As though the winter would never come. —Mary Oliver, "The cricket did not actually seek..."

To eat a preserve or a relish made from something harvested earlier, on the other hand, is to consume evidence of forethought and delayed gratification. It is living chez la Fourmi au lieu de celle de la Cigale.