Historically speaking, this time of year was often referred to as the ‘hungry gap’ when food stored for the winter was running low–or running out–and spring crops had yet to produce. But this year the Dirt to Dinner garden is doing its best to bridge the hungry gap.
Yesterday we picked a big bowl full of ‘Petit Pois‘ shelling peas so sweet we ate every last one of them before we even started cooking. Today we tried the ‘Telephono‘ peas. And there are four other varieties of peas ready to pick and six coming on soon.
There are lettuces for salad, along with celery, spinach and the last of the wintered-over kale, arugula, scallions and snow peas. There are still some carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips and radishes in the ground. And the potato patch planted on Christmas is just starting to pass its peak of leaf growth. If we reached around under those slightly weathered branches, I’m sure we could find some new potatoes. And we may have to, as the last Dirt to Dinner ‘All Blue’ potato accompanied a pot roast into the slow cooker earlier this week.
There are plenty of herbs around to flavor whatever we do find to eat. We have chives, sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary and parsley all doing well, and some marjoram trying to fight its way back to full vigor. Some of the herbs are already finding their way into the dehydrator. Today we did three full trays of thyme leaves. Tomorrow I plan to add slices of green onion to the drying list as there are beautiful stems of ‘Purplette Bunching’ onions ready in the middle of the asparagus bed. There are also bulbing onions tucked here and there around the garden that we could pull and eat if we needed to.
But, thankfully, we don’t. We can wait and plot and plan for summer’s tomatoes, basil, beans, cucumbers, squash and melons. And sip fresh lemonade as we count the blossoms on the apricot, cherry, nectarine and apple trees. For this year at least, no one will be hungry in the Dirt to Dinner garden.
We recently harvested sugar snap peas and had the same experience. They really don’t make it to the table. My daughter is a conservative eater when it comes to veggies, so I let her harvest these with me. The snap peas are a good stepping stone to other veggies because of the sweet taste.