In a relationship, gardening is where the rubber meets the road.
People are unique beings with unique quirks, and whatever yours are, the garden will reveal them. Got a soft heart, so that each cut of the pruner nips into it? Your plants will reveal it by growing long and leggy. Got a short memory, so that you can’t remember where you planted the carrot seeds, and plant bean starts on top of them? Your garden will reveal it by growing a huge carrot hidden away under the been teepee.
Even two people who have been married for a shockingly long (to them) time can have very different ideas about when it’s time to take out the “Bull’s Blood” beet or prune the grapevines.
Take Lacinato Kale. This currently so-chic kale is sold as an annual but as this photo proves, if you live where it doesn’t freeze, it’s not – it’s a perennial. And in our garden, where the amount of light differs radically from winter to summer, it grows in a tangled mass. Whatever leaves grow in the winter are pretty much inedible – and as soon as spring comes, the ends of the loooong branches start sprouting tender, tasty leaves.
You can just leave it alone and it will keep growing – but you’ll never lose the ratty bottom half (and trust me, you’ll never want to eat those old leaves). And, you’ll be tripping over the canes all summer. But, if you just start chopping it down, someone will come up behind you and say “What are you DOING? It made it through the winter and we can eat it!! Don’t cut it all down!!! Plus, I think it looks cool like that!!!!!” And then you’re sunk.
This is why every gardner with a partner needs A Well Articulated Kale Management Plan. In the garden as at work, if you make a plan and articulate it clearly, you are more likely to get what we in the corporate world call “buy in” – and with buy in, you’ll end up with neatly pruned kale, all ready to sprout again, and a passel of tasty, tender tips (which is probably better than anything you’ll end up with at work, but that’s another blog post).
Anyway, yes, that’s the kale in the foreground. We’ll talk about artichokes some other time.