Crisp lettuce, plucked out of the snow in November, brought me nearly as much joy as my entire Thanksgiving dinner. No mulch, tarp, or cloche was involved - this lettuce would simply make it on it’s own or not at all. I only went to the trouble of putting the seeds in the ground. By the end of the season, I walk a very fine line between hobby gardening and overworked burnout. Any more effort may have taken me to a limit I didn’t want to reach, so if my lettuce crop was destined to wither, unprotected from the cold, so be it. I would look forward to the next crop in the spring rather than get sick of all the work and quit. This makes real farmers laugh and roll their eyes but we’re not real farmers and we know it. We tend to our crops after we’ve worked all day, finished the house chores, gone for a run, mowed the lawn and kept dates with our friends. Although it’s our biggest hobby, it’s still just a hobby and when a hobby becomes too much work, it’s no longer a hobby at all. Managing the amount of sweat we’re willing to commit to, ensures we’ll continue to enjoy our passion for growing food. I will say there’s great pleasure in enjoying something you’ve worked hard for, but if you’ve worked too hard, the pleasure is lost. That was a lesson from my wise parents.
This was the very last harvest of the rather effortless fall salad greens and I ate them plain, stuffing one whole crunchy leaf into my mouth at a time – knowing it would be months before I would get to enjoy them again. The cold gave the lettuce an extra rigid crispness that felt as though it was flexing it’s muscles to withstand the elements. I’m not sure what variety these were. I remember sprinkling a little of each seed to give them all a chance, knowing only the toughest would make it. Just one distinct variety survived in two colors. I’ll have to research my seed mixes to identify it as the epitome of hardy.
Not every leaf survived the weather so well. I had to separate the good from the bad and the ugly.
When we heard the snow was coming, we harvested what was left of the late tomatillos and a few leaves of kale. The tomatillos are still in the fridge, keeping well. Some are meager but still treasures to us.
We’ll enjoy some green salsa soon but the kale was needed to add some life to a hot can of soup for lunch that day.
The Red Boar Kale is as beautiful as it is delicious. It seems to turn deeper shades of purple as the temperature drops but it remains crisp, firm, and loaded with fresh green flavor.