Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pre-Spring Harvest

I know it's not quite Spring yet but it surely starts to look like Spring around here. Since the Gods of Rain have been generous with us lately, the ground is getting covered with a wild cloak of green. Nasturtiums and oxalis are to be found almost everywhere along with wild fennel and huge mustard leaves. Even trees of the prunus family (cherries, apples, peaches...) are starting to bloom.

As an apartment gardener, I grow what does best in my containers: mostly greens and herbs. I also grow a few roots vegetables and berries. And I just harvested my first spinach leaves as shown on the picture. I tried growing heirloom varieties of spinach but I had bad luck. This time I tried an new (hybrid) variety called Bordeaux Red Stem and I had no problem at all. The leaves have an arrowhead shape and a red stem. They grew to a pretty decent size but I still have to taste them ;).

Now that the days are getting longer and the sun is returning, I will have to plan for more gardening. I've already sown seeds for a beautiful red stemmed dandelion and ordered some bare root 'Mara des Bois' strawberry plants. This variety is a french heirloom which is basically an improved wild strawberry (in terms of size). But since it's hard to find here in the US, I suspect that they played with strawberry genes a little so that they could recreate this variety (the website doesn't provide clear explanations as to the origin of their Mara strawberries).

Anyway, sometimes heirlooms get lost in time (which is a pity and a shame) and there is a need to re-create them...But does that technically make them hybrids? I try to go with heirloom seeds as much as I can because the taste & appearance of a heirloom edible plant is unbeatable. I'm sure the nutritional content is also superior to modern varieties. And I enjoy the whole process of watching the plant grow...Gardening can really teach you a few things about life!

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