With all the enthusiasm of Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk when the new phone book arrived, I did a little happy dance when I saw the Territorial Seed Catalog in my mailbox!
My current work schedule makes it a rare event when I get to be the one to tend our garden. That, however, did not dampen my excitement at all as I turned the pages of seed porn.
There are so many kinds of everything. The choices are overwhelming! Bush or pole, heirloom or hybrid or graph. Do I want more disease resistance or larger fruit?
I used this catalog last year for our string beans, and only one of the three varieties really took off. Do I use the exact same type of high producing plant this year, or do I go for another in the same family but whose beans grow twice as long?
Needless to say, I got my gardening geek on. What fascinates me about growing food is you never know what is going to take off and what will spend an entire season to produce one undersized vegetable. You’d think it would be more predictable, but it is the unpredictability that makes it exciting!
The one vegetable that we are bound and determined to grow that has so far alluded us has been parsnips. They either don’t germinate or the germinate but seem to disappear between waterings. This winter we have had a few that have grown real leaves, and I’m all excited!
I didn’t even know parsnips existed until I lived in England. Being a poor college student, I would go the bargain veggie section of the store. They had one pound for £1 root veggies. In the bag I found two that were new to me: swedes and parsnips. It wasn’t until I returned stateside that I discovered that swedes are rutabagas (essentially a sweet turnip), but I loved them even when I had no clue what I was eating. I learned quickly that those albino carrots were delicious and worked really well in stews!
I’d love to grow enough parsnips that I would be willing to have a couple of them blend their flavors in the crockpot. With only a handful (at best) in a season, roasting is the only way to go to truly appreciate their delicious flavor. Fingers crossed that the parsnip gods are kind to us!
What food would you most like to grow? or What gets you jumping up and down excited?