For four or five years now, it’s always the same conundrum: I enjoy the beauty of my growing food more than eating its vibrant freshness. Lettuce, cabbages, chard, collards, and the entire bounty wear an effortless, nonchalant splendor that captivates me, makes my heart sing. Every year since I started putting seeds in soil. I face the dilemma between beauty and utility.
I’m not a good pragmatist, never have been. So I begrudgingly convince myself that the common gardening wisdom is true, and that plants ‘like to be cut.’ Plants, like people, grow better with pruning. So growers’ lore says, and it seems mostly true.
Here’s a photo of the red chard that’s growing in the planter upstairs, the stuff of a reluctant meal this week. The plants upstairs survived winter’s extremes, and they flourish despite our still below freezing night temps.
It seems a shame to cut them, and then eat them. They are pretty and proud, coming into their own well before the dandelions and crocuses bloom.
They seem to me more a testament to life’s resilience then foodstuff, a testament more important today than two or three months ago.
Perhaps, given their glory, I’ll wait another week. Or two.