“As the story goes, the earth goddess Demeter had a daughter, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades to live with him as his wife in the netherworld. Demeter would have nothing to do with this and threatened to shut down all plant growth. Zeus intervened and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would spend only the winter months with her husband, Hades. Demeter, saddened by her daughter’s absence, made the earth barren during that time. On our farm we refer to the period when the days are less than ten hours long as the Persephone months.”
— Eliot Coleman, “The Winter Harvest Handbook”
It appears Persephone is returning early this year — we spotted chives coming up in the herb garden. We pulled up most of the winter carrots, Napoli at top and Red Core Chantenay at bottom, before they began resprouting, and a bunch of King Seig leeks. The lone parsnip was to see how they’re doing; it’s one of only five that germinated in fall, our first time trying to grow them.
Great story. Those carrots look fabulous – I have neither carrots nor leeks at the moment, both were planted too recently to be a good size yet.
Strange to think those leeks were started almost a year ago!
Oh I’m jealous as I never have much success with any of these as they don’t seem to like being grown in containers. As I’m living in Wales where the leek is the national emblem and traditionally worn on St David’s Day (March 1st) or on days of an international rugby game, I am a disgrace… The only thing that saves me is that the other national emblem of Wales is the daffodil, now more widely worn and less smelly, so at least I can wear that instead!
I had no idea leeks were so revered! I’ve been reading about the permaculture technique of cultivating steep land through terracing with swales, maybe something applicable to your (beautiful) hill situation?
Certainly in Wales the leek is revered! See http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofWales/The-Leek-National-emblem-of-the-Welsh
I know some permaculture does go on in Wales as the landscape can mean you have to use every bit of land you can. There are pockets of arable land but a large part is sheep up on the mountains and hills and cows in the more sheltered valleys.
Nice leeks and carrots harvest, will be a while before we even think about putting anything in the ground.
The calendar says February, but the weather’s been tempting me to scratch in a few seeds just to see what they’ll do!
Those carrots look really delicious. We lost alot of our 2011 crop to carrot fly infestation so we went a long time this winter without fresh carrots. Missing them quite a lot.
We’ve a number of farmers still bringing carrots to the market, but there’s still nothing like a homegrown one…
your leeks and carrots look fabulous! I have a few parsnips left that were planted late and so they haven’t sized up at all. Thinking of just leaving them for seed. Will be planting leeks later on in the spring.
Good idea to leave for seed, we may have to also!
I love the story of Persephone. it was our first year growing parsnips and we are still waiting for them to get big enough to harvest. we planted and planted and planted and finally some decided to grow!
They really are discouraging, aren’t they? I’ve talked to farmers and they say growing parsnips is just as persnickety for them. This makes me cherish them even more when they show up either in the garden or the farmers’ market!
What a pretty basket of carrots and leeks! I have the same variety of carrots. I planted them in the fall and they are still very small. I’m hoping they pick up the pace soon! It’s crazy how long leeks take… gardening definitely takes patience!
Patience and also luck! We’ll be interested to hear how your fall planted ones do, we haven’t quite figured out the timing to have a new crop come up in spring…