Sunday, January 15, 2012

My 2011 Harvest

My daughter was born in the late spring of 2011. The summer and fall went by in the milky haze a newborn brings to a home. I even took a long vacation away from Illinois at the peak of summer, with nary a moment's anxiety about my garden. It was a neglected mess anyway, what did 2 weeks without water matter? We did spend long lazy days out in the garden, although I will admit that many a tomato went unpicked. It was a bad year for tomatoes anyway -- or at least that's what I told myself. I fear the tsunami of volunteers I will face this summer from all the tomatoes I let "compost" in the beds.

The garlic and shallots went very well. I just finished the last of the garlic -- an Italian Late variety -- this week. I would have more but I shared a whole braid with a friend in a fit of generosity late in the summer. I console myself with knowing that her partner is a serious cook and I am sure she put the gift to good use. The shallots were French grays. They lived up to their reputation as incredibly delicious, though they are a pain in the neck to peel and certainly not good keepers. I saved the best of the bulbs to replant in the late fall and they were duly interred in October. With the weather we had in December, I probably could have procrastinated with no ill effect!

Despite my general inertia on sowing seeds this past summer, the perennial edibles seemed to thrive on neglect. All of them, that is, except for the asparagus. Those poor root crowns clearly resented my utter lack of composting and mulching and only sent forth a few spindly stems. But the strawberries, blueberries and grapes came forth in multitudes. I knew I wasn't canning or cooking much this summer, so we were eating whatever ripened, as it ripened. It was a good lesson in being in the garden moment, rather than always wringing my hands about how I am going to preserve the bounty.

Now that the snow has finally fallen, I can cozy up in a chair, pull out the seed catalogs and plan for 2012. 2011 will remain a gap on this blog -- and there are certainly gaping spaces on my pantry shelves and in my freezer: no pickles this year, no home-canned spiced apples, no jams. Worst of all for me and my basil-loving son, there is no pesto frozen for use on these gloomy January days. But our 2011 was a good and fruitful one, and this sweet addition to my family was worth a fallow gardening year. Now I have one more developing pair of hands to corral into yard chores!


  1. I was wondering why you disappeared from the blog last season. Congrats!

  2. Congratulations Abbie! She's beautiful, and well worth a few less pickles. ;) Good to see you back!