Thursday, March 4, 2010

Showing off

Sunday was one of those Southern California this-is-why-I'm-willing-to-risk-the-7+-magnitude-quake-pretty-much-guaranteed-to-come-within-the-next-30-years sort of days. We haven't had a lot of them of late; the rain, she is persistent. And while there are people who love cold, rainy days, who love the moodiness of cloud cover, who love weather...I am not one of them. Give me blue skies and sun. That's about all I need.

And so, when I actually got blue skies and sun...well, I abandoned you all, is what I did. Instead of following through with my plan to spend some time in the kitchen in order to put up a recipe for you today, I headed out into my garden with my kids and my camera. I can't say that I regret it, either. In fact, it was one of the best days I've had in a long while.

(I should say right now--in the interest of full disclosure--that most of the photos in this post were taken by Em. She couldn't take the one at the top, since she's in the one at the top, but the rest? They're hers. She's something else, that girl.)

But it was relevant to this blog, I decided, because, really, my garden is alllllll about food. The vast majority of what I plant is edible. I seriously love almost nothing more than feeding people--feeding myself--something that just came out of the ground not fifteen minutes earlier. In fact, that's exactly what I did that day; we'd invited our Sunday Gang to come and play (a total of eight adults and ten kids when we're all together, and we were indeed all together that night), and so I picked snow pea pods and baby carrots, washed them and put them out. I didn't even peel the carrots; they're thin-skinned and perfect exactly as they are.

They were gone within half an hour. And the adults had to fight off the kids to get to them.

Right now, my garden love is centered on the pea pods and carrots. (Em got excited about photographing the snow peas, and so sort of neglected the carrots. Poor carrots. Next time.)

The broccoli (what little grew from the seed I set out in the fall) is done, as far as eating goes, but it's flowering, and it's so beautiful when it flowers. (Yes, I grew up in a city, and yes, I'll admit it: It wasn't until the first time I saw my broccoli flower that it hit me...Ooooohhhhhhh. Those green dots that make up a broccoli floret? They're flower buds! Perhaps that's why they're called florets! I am quick, I tell you.)

There's cilantro and parsley, too (that's some rogue parsley twined in amidst the snow pea plants), and within the next week or so I can probably start picking leaves of romaine lettuce to make dinner salads with. There's a little bit of spinach, but not enough to do anything with yet. I've put some heirloom tomato seeds in the ground, as well as a few zucchini and cucumber seeds; might be too early for them, so I'm holding back about two-thirds for planting over the next month or so.

Not all of it will work out for me, of course; I'm very much a seat-of-my-pants gardener. I throw seeds around sort of willy nilly, and see if and where they'll grow. I'll mulch when there's stuff around me to mulch with, but often there isn't, and I watch helplessly as the ground bakes my plants into nothingness in the summer. Or maybe I'll get a few tomato plants to grow, but then the horn worms will find their way to my little patch of earth, and that'll be the end of that, because I don't really know how to keep them horn-worm safe.

Still, from March through October, more or less, there will be--on a pretty regular basis--stuff on my table that came from my garden. And as the various veggies, fruits, and herbs make their way from one place to the other, I'll share the recipes I use to show them off to their best advantage. Or, more likely, ask you for your favorite ways to prepare the things you grow.

I can't wait to hear what you have to share.

My garden. It's what's for dinner.


  1. Perfect! Absolutely perfect. As I look at the remnants of snow on the ground in my very soggy, boggy (and TINY!) back yard, I remember why I would move back to CA in a heartbeat, too.

    Can't wait to see what the seasons bring to your garden.

  2. I loved this post! And between your pictures and the fact that it's both sunny AND in the 40s here today, it got me thinking about my own garden. Spring can't arrive soon enough!

  3. Fabulous! Love the photos, they make me want to plant things.

  4. I am SO JEALOUS that you are picking stuff from your back yard now! We are still freezing at night. I can't wait to have fresh food in my back yard....