Spring is Upon Us

It’s easy to complain about winter. About being house-bound by the rain, about the uninspiring gray days and dreary early dark nights. About how our main heater is a finicky S.O.B. that refuses to turn on until we’re finally warm in bed and asleep.

But in SF, winter tends to go on spring break in February. This month, we start to see the welcome signs that winter’s grip is loosening.  The plum trees are blooming and showering little pink petals down on the sidewalk. The weather turned warm this week, giving us a few downright summery days in SF, foggy, eucalyptus-scented mornings that break into sunny, 70-degree afternoons. (This is the trade off for the winter days we have in July.)

Spring is appearing at the market, too. We bought pea greens and green garlic this weekend and in few short weeks, we’ll be eating Delta-grown asparagus and shelling fava beans.

But my favorite sign of spring this year has been in the little garden Mr. WholeHog set up in our little front patio. Growing some of our own food is something we’ve long wanted to do but we’ve never had the space for it. We had a little yard in Oakland, but it was all landscaped.

Our Noe Valley place doesn’t have a true yard but there’s a little brick patio out front and a concrete slab behind the house. When we asked if we’d be able to use the space, our very accommodating landlord gave us full reign. So we’ve started to do a little container gardening (and by we, I mean Mr. WholeHog).

I’d heard that if you want to grow food, you should start to grow food you like to eat. So some of our first plants were fava beans and sugar snap peas. Our first peas appeared just last week, and the fava beans have burst into these lovely black and white flowers. Seeing the favas  reminds me of Italy, of the Cinque Terre, where so many gardens had robust fava beans growing.

The back patio gets much less sun than the front, but this last sunny weekend, we planted some chard (which seems to grow easily in San Francisco), spinach and broccoli rabe.

It may all get eaten by bugs or shat on by neighborhood cats and the favas may turn out to be too big for their containers, but I’m hopeful that as spring settles in, we’ll have something to harvest.

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