People often think that because I garden I’m a go-getter. You need lots of energy to water your plants all summer, pull weeds, transplant things, fertilize, harvest, prune…
But it’s a heck of a lot easier than having a pet. My plants never bark. They don’t smell. I don’t need to clean their litter. All the manure involved is relatively mess-free. And my plants even make me dinner. (I thought that was a nicer way to express that thought than “And you can even eat your plants!” No need to think about poor Spot.
Point is, when a vicious zucchini pest attacked my zukes and melons late in the season, my co-gardener and I decided to plant some cabbage. It was one of the only things that would have time to grow before the frost came. I was skeptical, but the salesperson at the Atwater Market must have been real good because my friend went for it.
So we planted and waited. And then in September, a little broccoli crown appeared. Broccoli? But we planted cabbage! Or so we thought.
What did it matter? The disappointing part was that in the end we only got a couple tiny broccoli crowns. The other plants were just leaves. And I just left them in the ground to see how big they’d get. Didn’t seem worth it to pull the whole plants.
But when the ground froze, I got out there, energetic pet-owner style, and yanked those well-rooted plants from the earth with none of the love I’d give poor Spot.
I pulled off all the leaves for the huge batch of kimchi I was planning to make that weekend (I still don’t know if I should have used them, but radish leaves are a kimchi delicacy, so I figured I’d go for it) and steamed my meagre, frozen and thawed broccoli. I figured outdoors was just a cheap freezer, so it’d be buying broccoli from the freezer section of the grocery store, but without the packaging. Zero waste. Lower carbon footprint.
But I had a feeling it’d taste like mush, after all the freezing and thawing during fall. And I was right. Which is why I served it with green curry, because those mushy textures work well together. Eggplant, sweet potato and zucchini, simmered in homemade green curry paste (frozen from the last time) and coconut milk. Fifteen minutes on the stove and it was cooked.
Conveniently, that’s the amount of time it takes to steam rice. But it only 3 minutes to defrost my pre-frozen rice.
Or is efficient? Like my self-watering containers, my olla pots and love for perennial and low-maintenance herbs, I built my garden like I built my life – to require as little everyday effort as necessary. So when I need that energy for unique situations, like climbing mountains or driving on the left side of the road while on assignment in Barbados or hauling broccoli plants from the frozen ground, I’ll have it.