Monday, July 23, 2012
Things to Plant Next Year
Chamomile. Pattypan squash. More artichokes, I'm crazy about the idea of having artichokes. More asparagus, since I will feel fortunate and unworthy if the sad job I did of it this year results in even two measly spears worth eating. I'm still not ready for cauliflower, or cabbage, though one of my favorite memories from my first year up here was that night I drove through the fields near LaConner, those big heads of cabbage glowing like grounded moons. Last year flowers didn't seem worth bothering with, but this year they seem like the best - no worries about whether a slug's mouth has been there first, no big deal about bugs, really, and no question about when to harvest. The big red poppies Tom planted this year - we could not possibly have too many. More of them. More of things to cut, and keep in jars around the house, with the mint and lavender that grow so well here and smell so good.
How do you know when an artichoke is ready? I searched the internet for that today, then stood out in the back of the field looking at them, spiny leaves slightly parted from the core of the vegetable - is it too late? Some looked so small, there was no question, but there was one guy who I was tempted to bring in. One tomato came with me to the kitchen, still orangey, but if I remember right it was an heirloom variety that wasn't really supposed to get all the way red. The last one had a little spot of rot before I had grown brave enough to pluck it from the vine, but I was undeterred, sliced off that little spot and ate it last thing before bed on Saturday night, a fresh square of local mozzarella between my fingers, a leaf of basil picked off one of the plants that sits in the kitchen window. I held that little treat in my hand over the sink, drizzled balsamic vinegar over it, over my fingers, popped it in my mouth and said goodnight.