The first edible plant to arrive in my garden is rhubarb. We eagerly look forward to it thinking about pies all winter long. I have found no really effective way to preserve rhubarb that allows me to bake with it in the off season so we enjoy as much as we can while we can.
This particular rhubarb came from Bill’s grandfather’s property. After he died and we were cleaning out the house for sale I walked the yard to see if there was anything I could transplant. His back yard was very shaded and there was a very anemic patch of rhubarb in the back corner of the garage. I dug it up and brought it to Rowe. I planted it in front of a huge rock – it faces west. The plants are shaded until noon during the growing season and I’ve found that really works well, it keeps it from bolting early in the season. Last year I made a rhubarb pie in September and it was awesome. I always thought if you didn’t get it in the spring that was it.
Being able to go out and pick something edible this time of year is a blessing. Gives you hope for the rest of the season even if you haven’t planted anything yet. I have garlic that looks amazing this year but I know I didn’t plant enough. I will be tilling the garden this weekend barring any bad weather. I will set it up in anticipation of the ground warming to a temperature where I can plant most of my vegetables. We had three nights below freezing this past week so I make it a rule to never plant before Memorial Day.
I’ve had a vegetable garden for about 8 years now in varying sizes and layouts. I’m getting a grip on what grows and what will not and have had gardens through summers dry and hot, cool and rainy. I think everyone should have a garden where they can grow something of their own to eat. Our healthy choices are being taken away from us at a breathless pace. I don’t believe if you go into a grocery store right now that you can have any clue where your food comes from or what goes into it. You are being lied to on a daily basis about what’s organic or natural. I figure if it says that on a package than it’s probably not. Start using your farmers gardens. They are springing up everywhere this time of year. There may not be a lot of variety but soon there will be. You’ll know that your veggies and herbs haven’t spent days in a truck coming to you from parts unknown.
The other thing I would add is if you plan on ever growing any of your food now is the time to start. Gardens are slow motion works in progress, they can take years. What works one year may not the next but those experiences are what help you to be a better gardener. So many people I talk to think they can just put one in one year and it’ll be fine so they wait until they think they “really” need it. Don’t wait, do it now, even if it’s just pots of tomatoes and basil.