"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kitchen Garden 2009

I definitely always have eyes bigger than my stomach for gardening. I knew absolutely nothing about gardening when we bought our house 5 summers ago, but I had visions of growing my own herbs and produce. I can't bear to actually sit down and read a book about soil quality and fertilizers and other dry technical matters, so my approach has been of the trial-and-error, lazy organic variety. Fortunately, though pretty it ain't, I've managed to have lots of success with my experiments, despite the fact that by early August I tend to just pretend I don't see the weeds and the gone-to-flower vegetables.

My designated patches are pretty small, are limited in where I can get full sun, and prone to attracting weeds, but though I seem unable to resist overplanting, I get by. I've tried to limit myself to herbs and tomatoes only, but I have allowed myself a few cucumber plants (I like to have a cuke around for a quick cucumber salad), red leaf lettuce, some hot peppers, a couple of broccoli plants (one of the only vegetables Young Master Gateau will eat), and some radishes because they are so easy and fast to grow, and thus good near-instant gratification for kids. There also appear to be a few carrots and beets from last year.

The herbs this year include my monster tarragon plants, oregano, chives, mint, cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, rosemary, and lavender. Nothing particularly exotic, but all get steady play through the season. I have some nasturtiums for decorating salads, and Y.M.G., on a Roman Empire kick, has asked for a bay plant so he can make laurel wreaths.

As for tomatoes, I'm going for a rainbow of smaller heirloom varieties -- Arkansas travelers (red), Sungold and Yellow Pear, Green Zebra, and Black Cherry (a strange purple-green). These plants tend to grow out of control and produce more than I can eat, so I'm going to try to jump on the pickling/canning bandwagon and see whether I can come up with some good preserves, chutneys, etc. At worse, I can turn them into some weird colored but tasty sauce and freeze it.

Tomight we should have the first lettuce and radish salad!

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