By Joshua Bardwell, originally posted in November 2009 at Jackbooted Liberal.
In late August, I planted a second crop of carrots, spinach, lettuce, and collards, all of which I think are crops that do well in the cold. Carrots, you can even leave in the ground over the winter. Nature’s own refrigerator!
This morning, I pulled a few. The little stubby one on the top/right is from one planter, and the longer, more “normal” looking ones are from a different planter. I’m not sure why the difference between them. I’ve actually only pulled one from the “stubby” planter, and a total of three from the “normal” planter, so maybe the “stubby” planter carrot is just a fluke.
Issa bites one and says, a little bemusedly, “Tastes… like a carrot.”
“What else would it taste like,” I ask. But I understand her reaction. Growing our own food is still new enough that it feels something like a victory when what comes out of the ground not only lives up to, but exceeds our expectations from store-bought food. It’s as if there’s this underlying assumption that only the Machine, or at the very least, some kind of esoteric guru, can produce food that’s any good. Us mere mortals can try it as a cute little hobby, but we’ll definitely fail.
Which is, of course, the exact opposite of reality. To plant these carrots, I literally dumped some seeds on the dirt of a planter and then made sure they had moist soil and sunshine. They did all the rest. No esoteric knowledge required. Which is not to say that some knowledge isn’t required to garden successfully, or that any batch of carrot seeds dumped on any patch of dirt will produce food. Just that plants want to grow and home-grown plants have the potential to far-exceed their store-bought counterparts. Even if the lack of expertise of the home gardener decreases the quality of their produce, the fact that it’s pulled fresh from the plant right before use often more than makes up the difference.