Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From garden to mouth

I like to garden. Well, mostly. I'm not fanatical or anything, but I certainly take great pleasure in my backyard, filled with interesting plants full of color and character that I personally chose. Pent up aggression and angst? Try trimming up an overgrown plant with those big garden clippers - mental therapy and upper body work out all at once! Feeling defeated? Take that you annoying weeds!Sometimes, on a beautiful sunny day like today, I simply lounge outside and soak in some rays while watching and listening to birds, squirrels, and bees that make my lovely backyard their home. Total bliss.

Occasionally I'll get inspired and drive to my local nursery and buy some new plants, stick them in the ground, and see what happens. I so wish that I was one of those gardeners that knows when to feed, what percentages of this and that to use, when and where to cut, etc., but...alas... this is not me. Bat guano...is that what I think it is? Umm, not sure I want to touch that. My mom says I have a green thumb, but I think it's mostly sheer luck and she doesn't see the ones that end up brown and in the compost bin. It's pretty much a gamble to see what takes off and thrives or what gets added to the list of Don't Buy This Plant Again. Banana tree - not so much. Red trumpet flower plant that the hummingbirds love - ding ding ding!

I reserve one garden planter for only vegetables and fruit. Again, I plant what's in season and hope for the best - maybe adding a bit of general plant food on occasion but never any chemicals (I prefer the yellow flowers to attract the bees instead). Most types of lettuce do well, strawberries thrive, some squash, tomatoes, and unexpectedly...broccoli. Last year the broccoli produced two bites of edible food, so after the plants flowered I cut them way back and left them alone. When I walked past the planter today, I stopped in my tracks. What?! Look at all of that broccoli!! I grabbed my small garden shears and cut what was ready to eat and marveled at my find...a perfect addition to tonight's veggie noodle bowl dinner. What a pleasure.

There is just something so wonderful about growing your own food in the busy city. In the summer we picked mandarins and ate them on the spot - like candy I tell you. Strawberries taste amazing full of warm sun. It's just so grounding, you know? So basic in nature. To cut fresh broccoli, steam it up, and serve it to your willing eaters is just so special to me. I hope that my kids can appreciate that to some extent, but if they don't, oh well. Sometimes it's just enough that it makes me giddy and proud of all my "hard" work.

*from garden to mouth in thirty minutes!

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