Harvest and Replanting
It seems like a lifetime ago that I first began to write to you about the garden's progress. Little sprouts peeking through the soil in rows, everything lined up just so. After harvesting carrots and shallots, we combined two beds and have already re-planted them with winter greens. The garden has already given us so much, I don't know where to start. I guess I could tell you where to start. Start here. Start now.
Start to think about what you would like in next years vegetable garden now. Why not take advantage of the energy surge that comes with these first days of autumn by ordering your seed catalogs? Get the paper kind, at least this first year. They're good to have around. Our experience has been that many catalogs, in addition to supplying us with seeds for heirloom varieties we don't normally find at the nursery, also provide useful information about planting schedules, preferred types of soil, companion planting, and ways to keep them healthy. I found myself referring to my seed catalogs just as often as the books we'd checked out of the library. Familiarizing yourself with how things grow and thinking about placement now will just make things easier when you start digging next Spring.
This summer, especially now that things are ripening, I am so thankful for the spark of inspiration that gave way to our potager, our vegetable garden. Last spring, when our plants were nothing but seedlings grown on our city window sill, I wrote to my friend Lizbth, asking her what vegetables her children liked. They were coming to visit this summer, and I figured I could plant them and they'd be ready just in time for their visit in August. The only thing she could definitely say about that was that they both had a thing for carrots. So we planted them.
The carrots grew in neat little rows. Only later did I realize what a miracle this was, in my conversations with the two experienced gardeners in the village. "Carrots don't grow here", they said. But our little raised bed into which we layered loose worked native soil and haphazardly folded a good dose of our rich black compost before planting somehow coaxed them out. The wild boars didn't come digging either, which was a blessing in itself. When Lizbth's children came, I gave them free rein in the carrot patch throughout their stay, sending them out with baskets and gloves. Such rich pickings, and all for just a very little bit of work and care. They came back with marvelous harvests, mostly to be crunched down straight after washing. Have you ever soaked up the pure joy that emanates from a little girl perched on a stool at the kitchen sink, washing the carrots she just picked and placing them neatly in a colander? Have you ever let the perfume and sweetness wash over your senses while crunching a freshly pulled carrot? We made a carrot cake, too.
There's more to say about the garden. But I am in the city now, and there are new restaurants to try, calls to make, and errands to run. It's September in Lyon!