Friday, August 14, 2009
When Life Gives You Onions, Saute Them
My garden's been a disaster this year.
Since the Spring of Gorgeous Lettuces--and yes, they were--it's been the summer of my discontent. There are no tomatoes in my garden; not a single tomato plant made it up through the soil. Nor did any carrots. Two zucchini plants poked their heads through, but they produced nothing. Two bean plants made it up, as well, and even put forth about 10 scrumptious green beans before turning brown and giving up the green-bean ghost. The dill I planted barely broke through the ground before dying. And while one of my basil seeds actually turned into a reasonably productive basil plant, all I can say is, really? Only ONE basil plant? After all those sown seeds?
It's been sad. I'll go even farther and say it's been downright depressing. Most of what I've accomplished in previous years has been more or less accidental, rarely planned-for, rarely thought out. But it's happened, and we've enjoyed the fruits of my accidental gardening since we moved into this house.
And then I went back to work, taking whatever gardening mojo I'd had with me, apparently. Because what remains at my house--this Dead Zone, this place where no green goodness grows any more--seems to have resulted from my inability to do a daily garden check for areas that need a little TLC or even to do anything resembling regular weeding. We don't have a real irrigation system in my garden, which worked before, because I'd notice some wilting, and I'd do a little extra hand watering in addition to whatever hits the garden when we water the lawn every two to three days. Worst of all, I planted when I had time, not when the time was right...and that, I believe, was my true downfall.
I've become generally bitter about the whole thing, to be honest. In case you hadn't noticed.
Which is why I thank god for the onions.
Sometime in the late fall, I saw a bag full of onion 'bulbs' for sale at a local gardening shop. They were on serious sale; I think I paid $2 for them. I knew it was late in the season to plant them, and I didn't have room for them in my 'main' garden, so I stuck them in a rarely used patch of dirt toward the back of the yard--an area where the light isn't at all optimal for veggie-growing, and where the sprinklers barely reach.
I was pleased when I saw green shoots coming up this spring, despite the conditions. But the "70 days 'til ready for harvest" had long come and gone, and all I had to show for my initial investment were some green onions. I'd pull one or two now and then, but mostly I ignored my pathetic little patch of failed garden in favor of gnashing my teeth over my pathetic BIG patch of failed garden.
Which is why I became ridiculously excited, a few weeks back, to discover that a few of those now-wilty-looking green onions had, while my back was turned, become now-wilty-looking BROWN bulb onions...and good-sized ones, at that. But there were only a few, and while it was nice, it wasn't impressive.
Now it's impressive. Or at least it was last night, when I decided to pull the weeds that have grown amongst the onions, and realized that almost all the onion leaves themselves had browned and fallen over...which meant that they were all ready to be harvested. And so harvest I did--a good three-dozen-plus onions, most of which were the size of real, though small, onions, and a few of which were relatively impressive, fists-sized suckers. Once I'd pulled 'em from the ground (and arranged them for a couple of glamour shots, of course), I chopped three or four of them up, sauteed them in a little butter and olive oil, added chicken thighs and, later, rice, and served them to my grateful family, who might miss the sun-soaked stringbeans of yesteryear, but were nonetheless grateful for the tear-gland-assaulting onions of today.
And so all is not lost in TC's World of Accidental Gardening. MOST is lost, but not all. And for right now, that's good enough.