Mystery Garden

"Mom. We HAVE to put stakes or bamboo sticks or SOMETHING in there for the peas to climb."

Just before Christmas, Wyatt and I sowed six planters of different kinds of cool weather vegetable seeds. In some planters, we even planted two kinds of seeds. When we were done, Wyatt informed me we HAD to label the planters RIGHT THEN. But I didn't want to get out the label maker with him (because for every label I make, he insists on two for himself) and I couldn't find the masking tape. Then it rained for awhile, so I put him off some more because the labels wouldn't stick to the pots. And then we both forgot about labels until mid-January when we went outside to empty the saucers under the planters. Surprise! Everything had sprouted except the peas, the only planter and seed combination we remembered.

Our little mystery garden practically pleads for me to be a better planner and organizer. The saying, "A stitch in time saves nine," also occurred to me, finger waggle and all. But rather than considering how I could become someone who does things like this right the first time, I'm thinking about the possibility that I can just learn to be more free with the label tape.

Over the last few weeks, some of our mystery seedlings have begun to reveal their identities. The radishes are obvious—fast growing and decidedly radish-like by now. The peas finally sprouted and are growing taller and taller. Just yesterday, I provided a tomato cage to satisfy their grabby little tendrils. I also noticed the beginning of feathery leaves on what might be a carrot, but because everything else in that pot looks decidedly not carrot-like, I still can't reach a conclusion about those seedlings. The rest of the planters remain a total mystery.

In an attempt to get some yield from all of the mystery plants, I read the backs of all the open seed packets for thinning recommendations. But because I can't say with certainty which packets of seeds we used for planting and which we didn't, or where they are, I simply attempted to average what most of the packets advised and applied that rule to all of the mystery seedlings. I like to think that if we were relying on me to grow the vegetables we'd eat this year, I would have handled seed sowing very differently and set us up for better results.

Details are obviously important. And as much as I like to think I can keep all the details about everything straight in my head, I have now proven to myself (once again) that I can't. Luckily for all of us, though, I wrote down the date we wrapped our Camembert-style cheese to age in the refrigerator. We have been counting down the days until taste test day, otherwise known as this past Wednesday. Our cheese was delicious, and there was no question that we created a Camembert. The flavor and texture were unmistakable. We also started another batch of chèvre that we will age, hopefully without the unwanted ecologies from our last batch. Wyatt took to heart David Asher's suggestion to taste our cheese before we age it. He slurped up almost an entire bowl of fresh chèvre curd.

As of today, we have officially run out of space in the refrigerator in which to age cheese. We are aging our blues, a second batch of Saint Marcellin, and I have just nestled in a second cave to house the chèvre cheeses.

I suppose this refrigerator real estate limitation is for the best, though, because although we want to make all the cheese now, I need to focus for the next couple of weeks on the details of my knitting patterns. Believe it or not, I think I have found a tech editor, and that means I've got a deadline!