I never cease to be amazed that plants – plants I can eventually eat – come up in the spring. Right out of the ground! Every year! The little green shoots poke through the soil, and it’s mind-bending, every time.

Last fall, we planted garlic. We bought a bunch of bulbs of it at the supermarket, broke them into cloves, and put each clove, shoot side up, in a little hole in the ground. We sprinkled a little bone meal into each hole, filled them in, and went about our winter business. Now what are the odds that those cloves would survive the winter and start the process of turning themselves into actual garlic in the spring?

Strange as it seems, that’s exactly what they did. This week, we got our first garlic shoots.

Even stranger is the mint. You don’t even have to plant it every year. Do it once, and the stuff just comes up, unbidden, some time in mid-March, year after year.

Thanks to the magic of the cold frame, our lettuce sprouts are now tall enough to be thinned, and Kevin’s makeshift greenhouse is housing our first arugula shoots. That tiny little seeds, no bigger than a pinhead, have all the necessary equipment to become big, green, and leafy is a miracle of miniaturization.

The dandelions, though, put all our cultivated plants to shame. They’re the swaggering show-offs from across the tracks, with full-blown leaves already. I’ll have the last laugh, though. If the dandelions had the good sense to wait until the arugula was ready, they wouldn’t find themselves in risotto.

5 people are having a conversation about “Sprung!

  1. I unknowingly planted my garlic right above a rat tunnel and the little devils keep uprooting them when they pass by. Our lettuce seedlings are fairing better and are about the same height as yours. I still think it’s miraculous every year, when I see those first tiny green shoots.

  2. I always have to remind myself – when the spring chores seem overwhelming and exhausting – that the really *difficult* work is done by the plants, not by me. I can dig, carry, cut, stoop, plan, seed, transplant, pitch and harvest – and god knows I do. But I can’t photosynthesize, or turn dirt, air, water and soil into something delicious. It rarely looks it, but plants do a helluva lot of the heavy lifting around here.

  3. Jen — I didn’t know there was such a thing as a rat tunnel! Those little beggars can do anything. I’m sure the tunnel is part of a global interconnectedness plan that leads to world domination. You gotta love a rat.

    Kate — It is amazing, isn’t it? A little soil, a little water, a little sun, and voila! Not only do the plants do the work, they do it so quickly. In a matter of weeks, they go from pinhead seed to full-blown food.

    Paula — I know how you feel. We’ll be there in about a month!

  4. side note on sprouting garlic: I had some cloves sitting in bag from the grocery store awhile back already broken up, the remains of some recipe or another. Anyway one of the cloves had sprouted so I poked it down into a small empty flower pot I had sitting on the window sill in the kitchen. It took off like a shot, so much so that I started to trim the top off of it every few days. That got me thinking of cooking again, and how the garlic shoots looked like chives. Then I researched and found that fresh garlic shoots are a delicacy and something you usually can’t find for cooking unless you grow your own. These little shoot are PACKED with garlic flavor. Next time I busted up a clove cooking I took all those little tiny ones that you never really have a use for and pushed them all down in the same flower pot about an inch apart, a few days later I have a whole pot full of these shoots ready for snipping and tossing into recipes… Just an idea I thought i’d share, Garlic loves growing in window sills!

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