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Reality Bites In A Winter Garden

A vegetable garden in February is just so sad. Just ask actor Ethan Hawke, aka "Troy Dyer."

For a while we had our raised bed of vibrant carrot tops -- the Scarlet Nantes variety. Scott and I kept checking in on them, occasionally pulling a small carrot or two, just to make sure they were growing.

They have a 65-75 day maturity cycle, so since we planted them in late September...
Paging quality control. the third week of January, four inches of snow came and the green carrot tops became drab and shriveled-up.

So Scott grabbed a hoe and turned up all the dirt in the raised bed. And we found the carrots waiting for us to rescue them before they became too woody to eat.

Filthy carrots.
Clean carrots.

I'd like to make a pot roast or beef stew (naturally the lazy way, in the slow cooker) with these carrots but for now a quick way to use them is Mark Bittman's recipe for Curried Carrot Lentil Soup. I can't find it online but it's an easy dish: cook up some onion, carrots. lentils, veggie stock, coconut milk, curry powder, garlic. It's delicious. I don't know where lentils have been all my life but this soup was my first experience. I wasn't prepared for them to break down into a starchy mess but that's ok. Soup isn't really about the presentation, right?

So what's left in your precious community garden, you may wonder.

We have a row of Swiss chard plants stripped of their gunky old withered-up leaves. Our community garden experts Ron and Joan tell us that we can leave these roots there and in the early spring they should come back to life. I hope so, if only so I can go around pronouncing the plant correctly. For two years now I've called it Swiss "Shard" and I don't know why. Saying "Chard" is so strange to me.

Weak Swiss Chard in early January. They're now stumps of nothingness.

Next post: gawking at seed catalogs and making spring and summer plans. 


  1. I recognize your carrot towel!! Looks quite colorful...


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