To a gardener, every year holds excitement and wonder. Each new tendril, each tentative shoot and spindly seedling is anticipated with the enthusiasm of a new life of possibility. It’s a surprise and a joy every season, to see them emerging from the soil, to watch them unfurl and grow, to pick them and wash them and, finally, to eat them. A gardener can grow the same pea seeds every year for fifty years and feel that same distinct awe and elation year after year, every single time. It just never gets old.
I’m no different. I’m so looking forward to every single plant on my list this season. I’m growing a lot of the same ones this year as in years prior – why mess with a good thing? – but I am branching out with a few new crops that I am super excited about.
- Rutabagas and turnips. If you were to go back in time and talk to my younger self, you would find out pretty quickly that there is no way on earth I would eat (let alone be excited about) rutabagas or turnips. And yet here I am, 30 years later, daydreaming about those globed root vegetables. I think a lot of it stems from a desire to have fewer meat-based meals in our lineup, and also because they’re just surprisingly tasty.
- Broccoli. I never liked broccoli as a kid, but I’m finding that as I age, my tastes buds are changing. That, or they’re just dying. It could be either. I ordered “Summer Purple” sprouting broccoli from Territorial Seed Company, and I’m excited to see how it does. This particular variety grows lots of little florets, sort of like a cut-and-come-again, which is perfect if you don’t want a whole large head to contend with. It should also produce well throughout different seasons, and I can’t wait to see that beautiful purple color amidst all the green.
- Brussels Sprouts. I sense a trend here. “Foods I would have abhorred as a child.” Seriously though, I recently discovered that brussels sprouts are good, especially roasted or sauteed in butter. And they’re so interesting looking, especially in the winter when everything else in the garden is dead. I do hope these do well in my particular climate, because they seem like a win all around.
- Corn. I know, I know. This isn’t a new crop. But, well, I’m determined to win at corn this year. I’m excited for this new chance to get it right. Last year the corn I planted didn’t do so hotly, and we ended up saving just one gallon of kernels. It lasted us all of a month. This year I’m doubling what I plant, I’m going to make sure to water them deeply and consistently, I will amend their soil with fish emulsion, I will SING to them if I have to! Whatever it takes! But by god, I am going to grow the corn!
- Toothache Plant. OK, this should be a fun little crop, just for my own amusement and that of my kids. This flowering herb will supposedly numb your mouth when you chew on it! I’ve been interested in herbal medicine for a couple of years now, but only in an offhanded, maybe-one-day-when-I’m-a-hippy kind of way. This could be just the push I need! I could also see this plant really being an asset if the SHTF, but for now I think it will just be fun, and give the girls and I something to giggle about while we’re weeding.
That’s it for me! What are some things you’re excited about growing this year?