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French Sorrel Catches the Winter Sun

April 11, 2012

My French sorrel clump was a gift from my neighbor, Chuck. He also gave me asparagus roots about twenty years ago and extra seedlings often came my way. Early on, I recognized Chuck as a New England gardener, though he was raised in the house he now lives in on my street. He would have liked Crockett's Victory Garden. Resourceful, Chuck grew everything from seed and his garden flourished, enriched with compost and common sense.

My sorrel clump gradually enlarged beyond its allotted bounds. I shared a piece with my (New England) neighbor, Betsy. Any visitor to our garden who indicated interest in French sorrel went home with a bag full. Two people can only eat so much sorrel.

One day, I lifted the whole clump, about three feet in diameter. Most of it went into a plastic trash can lid and rhubarb assumed the sorrel’s place next to the compost bins. The sorrel lived in the lid for almost a year. It wilted and shrank to almost nothing in the shade of the apricot tree. A little water would revive it. During the winter it sat in rainwater until I tipped the water out. It persisted through numerous such drought and drowning cycles.

Now as you can see, it lives in a pot, hedged in and happy; just the right amount of sorrel for us. I prefer the lemony flavor of the leaves in the winter months but I’ve used it in the summer. It fills in nicely when I’m short on lettuce. Handy to have such sturdy perennial greens in the garden. I think Jim Crockett would have liked French sorrel.

Ever a bi-coastal gardener.

Harvest Monday: Lime Ginger Marmalade