Spring’s the season for scheming. I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking about root vegetables. Why didn’t I plant more beets? Then Bill’s been planning various summer-time trips–a bike ride to Bolinas, a trip up to Seattle for my mom’s 65 (!) birthday.
It’s also time to plant a victory garden on the lawn of San Francisco’s City Hall! I’m doing research for a story about heirloom seeds and got myself invited this weekend to a seed-sowing party in West Oakland. We planted and transplanted veggies to be featured in a victory garden in the front lawn of San Francisco’s City Hall. I don’t want to give away all the secrets of the project, but I’ll tell you that I planted several types of amaranth, peppers, and tomatoes.
The idea for community-focused vegetable production has been a fairly long-standing tradition in America. In the 1890’s, the mayor of Detroit first advocated growing community gardens. Growing your own veggies made a lot of sense during the Depression, too. When WWI hit, war gardens sprouted up all over America. The idea being the troops needed the food from the farms, so ordinary citizens should grow their own for their tables. During the Second World War, victory gardens were popular. During the 1940s, all over the country, including urban areas like SF, NYC, Boston, Philly, cities played host to demonstration victory gardens to inspire citizens to grow their own food. For the whole story, check out an article from Tea and Cookies in Edible SF about the project.
City Slicker is donating the know-how and their greenhouse; Seeds of Change the seeds (all heirlooms); the City is hosting the spot; Garden for the Environment is coordinating the whole deal, and a group of artists at Future Farmers are adding the artistic touches. It’s going to make SF proud. Now if only Oakland would do the same!
Spring is also harvest-season. Today’s NYTimes had a photo spread of vegetables gone wild in kitchens–here are mine. They are new potatoes, fava, young garlic (garlic press), artichokes (one enormous plant gave us 30 ‘chokes), in the jar are newly-ready olives, finally brined and palatable six months after picking. Enjoy spring!