Sunday, April 18, 2010

Overwintered spinach!

I’ve been waiting all winter for this. Finally, a garden salad!
Young spinach leaves and sweet onion, a clementine and a quarter chicken breast, braised, sprinkled with fresh lemon, tossed with Annie’s Goddess dressing, and topped with ground pepper. What could be better?

It exceeded my expectations!
Lately I’ve been too busy to enjoy food. It’s spring, for one thing. And I’m moving next week, for another. Fuel, I think, I need fuel to keep this machine running. I throw together a pita pizza or a tired salad made from supermarket romaine, or I grab a package of Wegman’s sushi.  As I eat, hastily, my mind is elsewhere. I am envisioning the “living tennis garden” that will span the centuries (and attract big donors) for a historic garden client, or mentally sorting through the rolls of speaker wire and boxes of dried up crayola markers that I’ve dragged through the decades. Nervous energy requires ice cream, and gardening burns calories, so I indulge as I collapse on my easy chair at night to watch a mindless hospital show rerun or predictable crime drama. Ice cream is a “no-fail” satisfier. But it’s been a long time since I’ve had REAL greens, and ice cream after a fresh salad would taste oh so much better.
But my spinach will not be rushed. It puts on another set of leaves. So painstakingly slowly the leaves grow! I’m moving, I growl. Can’t you just speed it up a little I ask (nicely) as I cut a couple of the little leaves to add to my supermarket romaine? It crinkles its veins.
Yesterday morning I assessed, and determined that my little row of overwintered spinach would be sufficient for one salad. And I have to say it was one stupendous salad. The best, and probably the last from this particular plot of ground. I stole four seedlings of Loma lettuce from my buyers garden (already I think of myself as the caretaker for their plants), which had sprung from the seeds I scattered last fall, and potted them. I had no choice really. By the time I pack up my speaker wire and leave my scented Daphne and viridiflora tulips behind, Loma will still be mercilessly unyielding. And that is just not acceptable. 

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