I’m an avid organic gardener. Growing up, I loved working with my Dad in our little garden. Early in my career, I owned a garden center specializing in exotic herbs and vegetable plants.
These days I feed my passion on a very small scale, with select varieties grown in containers on my enclosed deck, fairly well-protected from the bears and other critters around here.
The beginning of May always holds such promise for success in the garden. Dreams of a bountiful yield sparkle everything. There’s not a hint yet of the devastation various insects and small rodents can and probably will cause. None of that happens until the vegetables are just ready to pick. That’s the heartbreak of gardening – all my hard work obliterated overnight.
Still with me in May are all the joys of gardening and the anticipation of getting back to favorite recipes that just don’t make it without my fresh, homegrown herbs. I can’t wait to once again make that super-easy Thai vegetable curry loaded with my own spicy Thai basil. Or chicken enchiladas with a green sauce made with my own roasted poblanos. Or even a simple green salad loaded with fragrant chopped fresh mint.
For the next 5 or 6 months, most of my cooking will be based on what looks good in the garden or needs to be picked. I love the home economics of it.
Last Friday, the first warm day in May, I made an initial round of visits to local garden centers to see what specialties they’re offering this year. With limited space, I can only try a few new things each year and still have room for the essentials – a few tomatoes, cukes, poblano and jalapeño peppers, a large variety of herbs (basic and exotic), and some flowers – mostly red ones to attract hummingbirds.
Although it’s a little early to trust there won’t be a frost here, as always, I took a gamble and put everything out. If I hear a frost is likely, I’ll drag all the pots close the house. The heat from the house and the overhang seem to be protection enough.
I know some of my readers are as crazy about gardening as I am. I’m not the only one who loves the feel of rich soil under their nails. This post is for my fellow green thumbs, to share the pleasure of planning and digging into this year’s gardening experience. Let me know how your gardens grow.
By the way, Johnny’s Seeds is a great place for lots of hard to find organic and heirloom seeds along with organic fertilizers and pest controls. And go to Penzey’s for cooking spices, herbs, seasonings, etc.
If you’ve never tried gardening, think about giving it a go. It’s one of those simple, quiet pleasures that actually have therapeutic benefits. With minimal commitment, it’s a rejuvenating break from the pull of social media – soothing your eyes from too much screen-viewing and refreshing your energy and focus.
Let me know if I should share some of my favorite recipes, as the growing season progresses???