Fresh, homegrown in winter
We just had lunch, an egg omelet that included chives (not the garlic chives whose seed I'm offering, but the more common round leave onion chive that gets pretty purple flowers), lemon thyme, chickweed, and basil.
All of these are growing in pots. The chives were planted about 10 years ago, the lemon thyme from a tiny plant 15 years ago. Chives are looking prettty flattened and browned at this point, but as long as the winter is relatively mild, they will keep growing from their bulb, putting up fresh green for us to find.
The lemon thyme is nearly evergreen, but turns maroon-ish in the leaves, in order to gather the warming sunrays. It will loose all its tiny leaves and even die back on the ends when winter is long and rough. But with a springtime haircut it grows out lush and beautiful again.
The chickweed germinated some weeks ago in a pot in which I had grown a dahlia rhizome in the summer. Since the pot had been placed to decorate the walk to the front door, I spotted it soon after it sprouted, and today I took the first cuttings from it. It has grown stems about 8 inches long that were trying to lay snug against the soil. Sometimes chickweed is called winterweed -- no wonder.
One pot of basil was grown in a 6 inch plastic pot that has previously grown St Johnswort seedlings and prickly pear leaf cuttings. When it started getting too cold for basil outside, I pinched off its flowers and brought it into the cold but south facing kitchen window. I could easily wipe out this little plant with a single pot of spaghetti sauce, but I treat it as if it were some precious, exotic, herb that I will never have again; I ration it.
A second pot of basil is one that was rescued from my compost pile. A neighbor had contributed it early in the spring. I don't think she realized it had survived winter in its pot and would grow well again when hot weather came. I think it might be Thai basil. It has reddish stems, wirey, but stout. I could see the tiny, undeveloped leaf buds when I picked it up from the top of the compost pile and gave it a new pot. It just looked hardy. I'm wondering whether this basil might be perennial if I keep the flowers picked off before they develop seeds.
Lunch even had a fresh citrus dessert. Tangerine. We grow the tiniest tangerines in a 16 inch pot that sits on the front porch as long as the temperature is above 35 F. I'd love to put it in a bigger pot, but the tree would grow too big for our house if it had any more soil.
What fresh foods are you able to find in nature or in your garden in winter?