The seed catalogs have arrived.
Like pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training (22 days, ladies and gentlemen), seed catalogs are an early harbinger of spring. Very early. The cold and the snow won’t leave Boston for months yet, but I’ve got a dining room table full of seed catalogs and I’m thinking about what I want to plant.
This is, I admit, a purely theoretical exercise. I have no land at all. I kill things growing in pots. I’ve been on waiting lists at my community gardens for years now. But I persist in imagining my garden.
It would be a basic jardin potager — a soup garden. Mostly I draw from The Kitchen Garden Seed catalog and Seeds of Change. I have long lists with cross-outs and notes on what I want to plant. I won’t bore you, I promise.
But I will mention one variatal that made me think. The Royal Chantenay Carrots “has wide, strong shoulders up to 2″. … It is a bright, deep orange, excellent for canning and freezing, stores well.” I marked that down as something I’d buy because I like carrots in my soups and stews all year.
Then I realized that if I was cooking out of a garden, I’d be planning, in January of 2010, for soups and stews that I plan to eat in… April of 2011. That’s a long lead-in time.
Then I started thinking about the fact that I mostly eat stews made of lamb in the winter. And that those lambs, which I would eat with those carrots, were conceived three months ago. They will be born in the next month or so.
In these days of convenience food, it’s hard for me to remember that most meals have at least a few months start-up time and some have more than a year.