a spring surprise.

Last fall, I planted some kale in the box gardens we built in our apartment’s tiny backyard. For a few reasons, the harvest never happened:

1) Weather. In central Virginia, kale is a spring and fall crop. It likes cool evenings and mild days. If any of my fellow Virginians remember last September-ish, it went from being about 95 degrees to approximately 40 degrees in about, oh, two weeks. Not exactly kale-friendly.

2) Oops. I had never grown anything from seed before. For our box gardens, I bought seedlings from the Charlottesville farmer’s market. Anyway, my dad told me just to “spread them around” in the soil. Well, I did that, but apparently I spread a few too many. My little square box was so filled with those little sprouts that when they did come up (even though they didn’t have time to fully mature – see #1) they were so smooshed in there together they never would have had a chance anyway.

3) Woof. Since that little backyard of ours has often been the gathering place for our friends and their dogs, there was always a chance that the pups would decide the boxes were a playground. And alas – one fall evening, dear Bella got the party started. She dug and dug and dug until (we thought) every little tiny plant was upturned and every seed had flown out of the box. We didn’t mind – after all, the weather and my lack of gardening skills were already working against us.

But check it out – the picture above was taken this morning! As the weather started getting warmer (I’m going to ignore the fact that it SNOWED this morning. And yes, sadly, I’m serious), Alex and I started noticing some little sprigs popping up in our box. Sure enough, it was real live kale. There’s about a 12 inch deep line of the leafy green – a line that’s usually blocked by this board we use for impromptu seating:

And so, on this cold March evening, I’ve just enjoyed a plate full of steamed kale! (In case you’re curious about how I fix it – I use a steamer basket, layer the kale with chopped onions, and use lots of salt and both black and white pepper for seasoning.) And of course, it was marvelous. Bring on the spring. :)




Filed under the back burner.

7 responses to “a spring surprise.

  1. Patty K.

    That’s awesome, Nikki!

  2. Bring on the spring indeed, Ms. Nikki! Kale from your own boxed garden! Now that’s what I call fresh produce! :)

  3. I adore kale – kale chips was one of my favorite things I learned to make last year! So wonderful. Lookin’ great Nikki!

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