A Fine Glaze

For a moment, I thought that dripping off the front awning was the little icicles melting.  Then I looked out and saw the thin glaze of frozen rain over everything.  The roads don’t look too bad yet, but the sidewalks are treacherous.

I hate using commercial ice-melt on my sidewalks because I don’t want that chemical run-off in my soil.  Luckily, because I use sand as a component in my seed-starting mix, I had a five-gallon bucket of it sitting in my basement, half if which is now on my sidewalks.

I’ve been perusing the two main seed catalogs I’ve received so far–both from Maine.  I always order from Johnny’s Selected Seeds out of Albion/Winslow, and I almost always order from Pinetree Garden Seeds out of New Gloucester.  There are others, too, but I haven’t got their catalogs yet, so I won’t go through them.

I have gotten two catalogs from the same address (they were bought up by Jung): Totally Tomatoes and Vermont Bean Seed Company.  There might’ve been a time when I would have ordered from VT Bean Seed, but as a native Vermonter, I’m not ordering from a catalog bearing that state’s name and with an address in Wisconsin.  It’s bad enough to buy Hoffman’s “Vermont Cheddar” from Wisconsin, but a girl gets desperate, you know.

A couple of items I’m excited about this year: over Thanksgiving, H’s daughter S brought some of those big black radishes for the salad–they were incredibly good with a little salt and beer.  I’ve decided to forgo the usual Easter Egg blend of red, pink, white, and purple for some of these big, mildly spicy beauties.  For the fall radish crop, I’ll be bringing back the rose hearts–a green, turnip-sized radish with a hot pink interior.

I had planned to try celeriac last year, after picking up a couple last early spring from the now-defunct Floyd Boulevard Local Foods Market in Sioux City.  This year I’m definitely doing that, and I’m going to try the big “Kossack” kohlrabis as well.

I’ve been noticing this long, light green eggplant called “Raveena” that I think I’m going to try along with my regular “Lavender Touch” (a gorgeous variety I’ve seen nowhere but Pinetree).  In Pinetree as well there is a variety of flatleaf parsley that is supposedly slightly sweeter and better-tasting than the run-of-the-mill flatleafs (flatleaves?).

I want to do parsnips because I never have, and I want to do some more gi-normous winter squashes, since those seem to be the only winter squash I can successfully grow (besides spaghetti squash).  There’s a peanut-shaped Italian heirloom called Naples Long in Johnny’s that I’ve never seen before, and I’ll probably succumb to the call of the big blue Hubbard as well.

I guess I’ve come out of the rest period a little by now–I keep looking outside and wondering if there’s some kind of garden work I could be doing, and it hasn’t even seriously snowed yet.


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