Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Does My Garden Grow?

I don't know if it's all the rain or all the cool weather, but my garden is already producing. Today I had the first BLT of the summer. I have never had tomatoes this early. These today came from a plant that Cynthia gave me, a huge thing that lots of fruit. Th lettuce is like Strega Nonna's pasta pot. Cynthia put in three little plants a couple of months ago. They have grown and I pick a bunch of leaves every few days, and in a few more days there are more ready for salad. I planted spinach rather late, but have already had several salads and side dishes from that. I like to saute it in olive oil and garlic with a little lemon juice Tuscany style. Tonight I'm putting it in Portuguese kale soup with spinach instead of kale.I love having a garden. Mine is quite small.

This year I have planted three heirloom tomato plants and three green pepper plants that I bought at the Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath. It's a former retreat that some nuns changed a few years ago to a farm which specializes in Green agriculture. Their buildings are even earth friendly. They have a huge plant sale every May which is very popular. You have to get there early to get the good stuff.

In my small garden I also have a nice collection of herbs: thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley and chives. By August we'll be having pesto. I found a number of recipes for all sorts of pesto - oregano and parsley even. I love to use thyme and rosemary in spaghetti sauce. Both of those are great with chicken or potatoes, too.

I remember when it was so hard to find pine nuts, among other "exotic" ingredients. Now I can find all sorts of things like that at my local supermarket: fresh ginger, capers, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, all sorts of mushrooms, etc. It seems that when I was learning to cook many, many years ago, there was salt and pepper, chili powder and McCormick's seasonings, like sage and the spices for pies and cakes. Now I have access to the kinds of things once only available at specialty stores in big cities.

It's so nice to have food from my own back yard. I know it's free of pesticides and chemicals and it's right from the garden to the table. Like many towns, Kent has a couple of community gardens for people to grow their own produce. You can see whole families out weeding and watering their crops. Most of them also provide food for the food banks, or ask folks to plant a row for the poor (although I don't think they call it that). I don't have enough room, though the way the tomatoes are producing this year I may be able to take some down to the local free lunch place.


Expat Hausfrau said...

I am looking forward to consuming and cooking with your produce in a few weeks!

SallyB said...

Mmmmmmmmmm! Fresh veggies! Nothing better! Sorry I missed the kale/spinach soup last night. That's so delicious! This is my favorite time of year with all the fresh fruit and veggies available to us. I only wish we had a longer growing season in NE Ohio.