I’m staring at a seed pack.
French Sorrel $1.75
Underneath that is the usual verbiage about when and how to plant the seeds. One sentence sticks out, “Cut off flowering spikes or leaf growth will cease.” This sentence is underlined with a bold blue line. I underlined that, on a cold spring day. It strikes me now as a cautious move. As if underlining the information would keep me from making a mistake that might cause my sorrel plants to collapse, heaving a big dramatic “you failed” sighs as they hit the earth.
To be fair, it was the first time I had planted sorrel. I knew so little about the plant. It was the kind of unsureness that made me want to google “sorrel” and fritter a whole evening away reading patches of information- straining my mind to stitch them all together.
All I knew about growing sorrel I had heard from a farmer at a local grower’s market. In her lilting black sunhat she said “it likes shade” and “watch out it can spread.” That second tidbit was also on the seed packet: “…can spread- be sure to contain.”
I planted it in a corner of the garden just left of the garden gate, against the north wall of the house. I had never planted anything there before. I prepared a small triangular bed of soil. It was a shady island away from the rest of the garden – perfect for this new crop with viral tendencies. After planting it I tossed the seed packet into my seed tray- not reading the blue underlined sentence all summer.
When the flower stalks started to grow in late June- rope like spires from the middle of the plant- I cruised by and absentmindedly loped off the flower head. In one serpent movement of my hand and a quick clench of my fist the flowering spikes of the sorrel were gone. There was no thought, no googling, no underlined intention that made me cut them off. I just did it.
Months later reading the seed pack I chuckled at my diligence and caution.
Turns out I never needed the information on the seed pack.
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More pictures of the garden are posted there!
NOTE: Sorrel is a tart, tangy, lemony green. I cut leaves for salad. I make soup ( both Julia Child and Alice Waters have great recipes in their books. Alice waters recipe has bacon crumbles on top– yum!) I also make a sorrel- goat cheese tart.
The garden gate- sorrel is inside to the left
Sorrel patch (strawberries in front, sorrel in back)