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December 19, 2008 at 11:43 AM

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme: A garden of frozen delights

As I’ve pointed out before: I’m no gardener. But I’m convinced that a garden can bring a world of pleasure to the table. Even a brown-thumbed, weed-no-whacking, way-too-busy-to-deal-with-a-garden troll like me can grow a few hearty must-haves. Like the potatoes I was carrying on about in my previous post:

Those were especially delicious because I cooked them in smoked-paprika flavored duck fat, rendered a few weeks ago when Mac was, once again, making paella. Next time, he says, he’s sticking to chicken thighs. Though I was mightily impressed by the quack-meat and glad I was smart enough to save the schmaltz from the duck (in a canning jar, in the fridge), which is far better for frying potatoes than chicken fat. Or even freshly rendered leaf lard. Of course, it didn’t hurt that those potatoes were the carolas I grew this summer.

Back in the spring, my potato plot looked like this:

But I weeded (once), planted, and grew those carolas until (cue the sound of angels singing), the plot grew to look like this:

Eventually, I got a few big ones:

But because I was lame about watering and fertilizing my garden plot (aka garden “plotz” — as I refer to them), most were fairly small. Here’s that plot(z) this morning:

Good thing I harvested the last of the carolas before the cold weather set in (plus a handful of red-jacketed volunteers I planted two years ago, which have taken a lickin’ but keep on tickin’). I’ve been keeping them hidden, stored in a big colander (for better circulation) in the crawl-space under our basement stairs, where it’s dark and unusually cool year-round:

I bust my own chops about that garden on a regular basis, and every year I swear I’m going to do better with it — though I never do. I know how fortunate I am to have so much space to grow a garden, though space doesn’t have to be an issue for a kitchen garden. You can grow much of what I grow best (herbs) in pots on a windowsill or deck. This morning I went out to take a few photos, and if my life were a movie (or Seattle Times videographer Genevieve Alvarez was following me around with a camera and editing the resulting footage — as she did the last time we were together cavorting in a kitchen garden), this would have been the right soundtrack:

Despite the snow and ice, there’s still parsley:



And thyme:

Which come in handy when you want to roast a chicken, fry up some potatoes, or just need proof that despite what you might think when you’re trying to brave an icy commute, nature is a wonderful thing.

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