You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who loves chocolate more than me, which will hopefully lead you to take the following advice: don’t give chocolates to your lover for Valentine’s Day.
It’s a cliché. Chocolates are what teachers surprised their classes with on Valentine’s Day in grade school. Do you really want your valentine to associate you with their grade school teacher? No, you don’t.
Rather than chocolates, get your valentine something that shows you are ready to commit to a more caring and tender relationship; show them you are ready and willing to provide them with what they need in life.
Give your valentine vegetable seeds.
By buying your valentine vegetable seeds, you will impress upon them that you’ve put significant planning into the next few months, and you are ready to provide for their nutritional, gastronomical and aesthetical needs.
For an added touch of that little something special, to give you that romantic spark you’re looking for, I’ve compiled a list of love-themed vegetables to show your lover you really are ready for commitment.
On the other hand, if you’ve had a crush for a while and want them to know it, seeds are the obvious choice. There’s no better way to say “I love you,” than a packet of seeds — what else could a packet of vegetable seeds mean besides “I love you”?
Valentine’s Day Radishes: For those who aren’t sure if it’ll last the whole summer
Have you ever tried to eat a rose? Yeah, not too tasty. Every rose has it’s thorns, which makes them useless, really — you can’t touch them or eat them. Skip the bunch of roses and aim for a nice bunch of radishes instead. This mixture of purple, red, pink and white radishes can rival any bouquet for beauty, and to top that you can eat these little guys, too. The crisp bite and zesty aftertaste will remind your valentine that you like to keep things a little spicy.
Bonus: They only take 25 days to reach maturity. If you’re not sure you want to commit to a four-week growing cycle, then these prolific tubers of joy will give the illusion of you being ready to commit. If it doesn’t work out, though, it’s no big deal, and you can, just like a radish, bolt after 25 days.
Planting: Sow these guys sometime around mid-April, on one of those days you don’t have to wear your coat. If the going is good (for the radishes and the relationship), you can continue planting them every two weeks for a consistent, season-long harvest. If the radishes (or the relationship) become a burden, you shouldn’t feel the need to continue cultivating.
Juliet Tomatoes: Not for the faint of heart
This is for those couples in a serious relationship. The growing of tomatoes, like any major life decision, should not be taken lightly. These tomatoes, unfortunately, have a tendency to follow the tradition of their namesake and die while in the hands of those who care for them most.
Along your journey of cultivating these Roma-style sauce tomatoes, you’ll encounter all manner of trials and tribulations: tomato hornworms, potato beetles, competition from weeds, blighting of the leaves, talking too loud around them or playing too much Nickelback on Spotify. But if you manage to weather these obstacles, you’ll emerge having gained delicious tomatoes and a relationship that’s ready for anything.
Planting: ‘Maters enjoy being started indoors, under a light, preferably away from political dialogue, sometime around late March or early April. Transplant them outside a few weeks after you’ve finished with exams.
Sugar Baby Watermelon: A term of endearment, embodied
This is for those of you in it for the long-haul, so don’t plan on skipping out mid-summer. The sugar baby is everything you want in a watermelon: sweet, crisp and small enough — unlike some other melons — that you don’t have to use a forklift to move the darn thing. The petite size of this melon is perfect for sharing between two.
When it ripens in August, take your significant other out into the melon patch, sit in the grass (or weeds, as it usually is in my garden) and cut open your sun-warmed melon, and rejoice in the sugary juice dripping down your face and hands. Splitting a bottle of wine is nothing compared to splitting a watermelon.
Planting: The same day you transplant your tomatoes, pop these seeds in the gentle hills of earth you form with a hoe.
Mache: For the health and witch-conscious
Mache was the famous “corn-salad” Rapunzel’s father stole from the witch’s garden to please his wife. By growing your own, you’ll be able to liberate yourself from sneaking around late at night to procure your greens, as I’m sure all of you, like me, do regularly. Better yet, Mache is cold-hardy, meaning you’ll likely have Mache last you through the winter until the next Valentine’s Day when you can either the celebrate one year’s worth of relationship-based cultivation, or regift to your new valentine.
Of course, you could continue to steal your Mache from the witch, but I’ve heard she doesn’t even compost.
Planting: Sow in early April, earlier than you probably think you should, but after the soil hits that 40-degree mark, the mache can handle it. In much the same way that this mache can handle the cold weather, so will it give you and your valentine the strength you need to get through the tough times.
Featured image by Evan Rieth.