The problem is, we don't eat chard. Ever. Why, you may ask, do I grow plants that I don't even plan to eat? Well, you know those days when you want to plant something and there's nothing available that you should plant? The Grange had rainbow chard seedlings that day.
So we have plants that we don't eat. Useless plants. Except that they look great. In December.
So rather than correct my error and plant things that I'll eat, I'm planning to compound the error next year, by planning and planting a purely ornamental winter kitchen garden. Purely ornamental, but I demand that the plants be vegetables - normal table-quality vegetables. I'm strange and, well, strange, that way.
I want this garden to be pretty. And somewhat orderly, unlike the design of the summer jungle. Geometric. And it should make you hungry. I'm imagining something that you could see Peter Rabbit hopping through. Though without the big expanses of carefully weeded dirt, because nobody likes doing all that careful weeding. It should be neat, orderly, and crowded.
So what to plant? Remember, I don't care if I'll eat it. I don't care about harvest times. I just care about how it looks. I'm finding that planning it that way is fun.
I believe in repeating successes. So I plan to include rainbow chard again, probably Bright Lights, for multicolored stalks and glossy green leaves. And curly and flat parsley for two different kinds of green froth. For the flat, Giant of Italy looks to have particularly nice, dark green leaves. For the curly, I generally feel that curly is curly.
But if the mild winter isn't quite as mild as I think, and the lettuce freezes out, there's kale. Red Russian, Lacinato "dinosaur" kale, curly kale, and probably any number of varieties that I've never heard of. But not the purely ornamental kale. Gotta be edible.
Now we have an expanse of leaves, begging for another form. Leeks, tall baby leeks, for stalks of green emerging from the froth, should do that. Or maybe tall monster leeks, like King Richard. Onions and greens, a visual salad. That should make me hungry.
And the Nice Folks Next Door eat vegetables. Maybe they'd be willing to eat those greens. Or maybe their ducks would?