Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yard To Table

Boston lettuce, collard greens, and romaine lettuce.

Mr. SevPrez was inspired to plant a vegetable garden in our backyard this spring. I was extremely skeptical, knowing that I wouldn't have much to contribute. Until two weeks ago I was getting home at 7 every day, with not enough time or energy to take care of my existing obligatgions. And my track record is not good. I have killed cacti. I have barely been able to keep potted flowers on our deck alive... I always start out with the best intentions, but with plants I tend to have the wrong instincts.

Thankfully Mr. SevPrez refused to listen to my nay-saying and went ahead with the garden. He chose a sunny spot in our yard, measured a plot around 4 by 16 ft, and started digging. Apparently, it's all about the soil. And we knew we didn't have good soil, as we can barely grow grass in spots of our lawn. Somewhere underground there is a pool that previous owners filled in when they had a baby. So we have issues. But he dug on, and double dug, and got a few bags of good soil from the nursery, and started composting. And it seemed to be working: Mr. SevPrez announces with great pride and excitement everytime he finds a worm. Apparently attracting worms to the garden party means you are doing something right.

Flash forward a few months and we have been enjoying the "vegetables" of our labor. All three of us have had collard greens sauteed in garlic and oil. Our lettuce varieties are growing fast and furiously so we've had lots of crispy salads, which is extra fantastic because even though I love salads, I hate buying salad greens at the grocery store because they always end up going bad before we can eat them all.

Is there anything worse than having to throw out spoiled vegetables? Not only did you manage to avoid eating the healthiest thing in your fridge, nature's bounty went to waste. Double whammy. I have really enjoyed composting because if I am forced to throw out any spoiled product, I don't feel so bad knowing it's contributing to future harvests. We also generate a lot of peels from making homemade baby food so it's very satifying to put it all somewhere that it will do more good.

Aside from all the herbs we've got going on, we are looking forward to beets, zuchini (Baby SevPrez's favorite veggie), leeks, onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Tomatoes will come in late summer. We planted blueberry bushes that should yield a couple pie's worth of berries in about a month. And we have a little pot of strawberries that the birds kept beating us to before we got nets.

The early bird gets the strawberries.

I am happy to say I am a garden convert. It's amazing to watch all the veggies grow before your very eyes. And there is nothing, nothing more exciting than being able to say, "I'll be right back, I'm going to pick the lettuce for dinner." Nothing.

Mr. SevPrez wanted me to share this quotation from the book that inspired it all, The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans by Patricia Klindienst: "If you cannot see where your food comes from, you are doomed to live in ugliness." Pretty heavy. But when we haven't gone grocery shopping all week and manage to throw together a healthy salad for lunch because we can walk outside and harvest our own lettuce, it all feels very light.

Thanks to my readers who asked me where I've been. Sorry for leaving you hanging! More to come!

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