Yay, it is almost garden time. The smell of damp earth, the caked dirt crammed beneath my finger and toe nails, the aching backs of my legs…wait that doesn’t sound so great. Oh, but it is. When the earth is tilled and I tromp bare foot for the first time in a season, I know the true meaning of spring.
Every year my husband and I plant a garden with great expectations. A few years ago we began to focus our efforts and grew mostly a soup garden. Onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, parsley, cilantro, hot peppers, tomatoes, and so much more. Of course there are the obligatory cucumbers and summer squash. They always grow all at once and we have more than we know what to do with. I always loved Garrison Keillor’s story about leaving zucchini on the front seat of a parked car. Please take it off my hands!!
Of course, now that we have chickens, the gardening situation is even better. What we don’t eat or can’t give away we feed to them. Happily they nom nom nom it and then…poop it out again to make excellent fertilizer. Chicken poop really makes things grow. Thanks to them our strawberries and concord grapes are flourishing.
In our yard, we are also lucky to have blueberry bushes, that need some poop this year, and a wicked raspberry patch that does so well and is thankfully controlled by the lawn getting mowed around it. Hint for growing raspberries: plant them out in the open so you can mow around them. It keeps them from taking over everything.
What we don’t grow, I get at the local farmer’s market (see yesterday’s post.) So this is my favorite time of year. Before the weeds begin, before I am cucumber and zucchini-ed out. Before the pumpkins have been eaten by deer. (Yes we also have a pumpkin patch that shares a home with the asparagus patch). The thought of growing my own food, even if it bests me every year in the end, is just the sweetest things about spring and the summer to come.
Do you garden? What are your favorite garden recipes? Have any tips?