Winter Thorns

Today brought the fifty-seventh snowstorm of the winter; another three or so inches brought the depth in the yard to about two feet or so, making my shortcut into town a vigorously aerobic trudge. That path takes me by the garden, where I took this picture. It has a suitably prison-y vibe to it, given how confining this climate gets around this time of year, especially when it keeps snowing so there’s no trace of bare ground or greenery anywhere. It turned out that my decision to skip any winter gardening under cover was prescient; all this snow would have crushed the hoops and merely opening the gate would have required a ton of shoveling.

But sap season has begun, and the sun climbs noticeably higher in the sky (on those few days when it comes out) so soon enough the snow will inevitably retreat. When it does, I am going to crawl around on all fours eating all the wild chives, ground ivy, garlic mustard, and nettles I can find, and I’m going to comb the garden for the first new sprouts of volunteer cilantro and returning chicories. There are plenty of vegetables in the stores, of course, this being the land of plenty and all, but they all come from California and I’m sick of buying them. They taste like shit compared to homegrown produce, and after this year I don’t think it’s sound planning to expect those crops to be as available in the future. This may be the year I build a greenhouse.

8 comments to Winter Thorns

  • I was just washing dishes and got caught up in a gardening reverie. It was so lovely! Meanwhile, the walk to the compost pile is arduous. The garden is completely under about four feet of snow (it’s near the road.) And spring break is now down to two days. But yes, it will be here soon enough!

  • You’re right – the stuff you get from CA is tasteless – I remember from when I lived in NYS. A greenhouse is a good idea, if only to keep you from getting cabin fever around this time of year.

  • el

    Well you know what I will have to say about that. We’ve got 3.5 feet of snow on the ground here and yep I still have greens (and carrots and parsnips and beets, rutabagas and turnips and green onions) to eat thanks to my plastic bubble palaces.

  • Carla B.

    …”after this year I don’t expect those crops to be as available in the future”..? You refer, no doubt, to the California droughts? The big chains will just turn more to Mexico, or Chile, for their produce, I guess?

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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