Tiny Harvests in Early Spring
This week’s balcony garden yield (?) included a negligible salad, early and utterly doomed squash blossoms, and initially unwelcome radish flowers — a bunch of quote-unquote mistakes I have been really thoroughly appreciating.
The salad just kind of happened when my daughter and I were outside on a sunny morning and “thinning lettuce” became the spring’s first harvest of “micro-greens.” Earthy, early season mache, arugula, and red ‘Merlot’ lettuce. Later, at lunch, that first forkful was just too pretty to eat right away. And then I did eat it, and it was crunchy and, just, important.
The flowers came from the same flat of early-sown stuff, namely from the failed radishes — which started bolting under the fluorescent lights of my new propagation shelf — and the accidental squash seedling planted in a very oh-what-the-Hell moment also involving my toddler daughter, and a February afternoon some ridiculous number of weeks before the last frost date. Happy accidents! Those little go-nowhere blossoms truly smelled like garden.
Depending on the weather — so, literally, from one moment to the next up here in New England — it can feel like early December or like late spring. Either like the tail end of a growing season, or like it’s so close to summer, I get the impossible urge to throw peas (seeds) every which way and grow them, damn it, before it’s too hot! This is because my goal as a relatively new gardener is to have an earlier harvest of something (really, of everything) each year. Logically, I know that’s impossible to keep up, but it is still so fun to try. I think that might be the definition of spring fever.
However, so far, I have actually practiced more restraint when getting this small space growing: no peas yet planted, because the new everbearing strawberry seedlings have priority of place and precious potting mix; no tomatoes started yet, either, because that feels like hurrying past spring right into summer. And I’m not actually ready for summer yet — I’m just starting to really enjoy spring.