“I will NEVER have a garden!” my 15 year old self exclaimed. When I was a kid we had a HUGE garden and guess who’s job it was to weed it? Me & my brothers. Ugh, I couldn’t think of anything more boring. Yes, it was great eating food right out of the garden, I still love my mom’s zucchini relish recipe, and using my brother’s broken hockey sticks for cucumber trellis was genius, but me garden? No thank you. As with most things you change as you get older. Over the last 7 years of living in a big yard I have come to enjoy gardening to the point I think I can call it an official hobby of mine. Three years ago we put in an asparagus patch and this was the first year we got to taste the harvest. There is nothing so delicious as harvesting asparagus, throwing it on the grill, and eating it all within an hour. This year we also re-arranged our garden to maybe get some better harvests and boy did we ever! The tomatoes have been amazing! Now I’m getting the itch to do more. I’ve been inspired by the blog “One-Hundred Dollars A Month” by a seattle area mom with the pseudonym Mavis Butterfield. Mavis’ goal is to feed her family of four on $100/month so she can use the savings to travel. She does this by converting her entire yard to an edible landscape complete with greenhouse and chicken coop, bartering, getting free “throw-away” food from supermarkets, coupons, etc.My hope was to plant a fall garden to take advantage of cooler weather crops. I dug out some extra pea, bean, spinach and lettuce seeds and as my green beans died off I thought I could replant. I also wanted to try beets & kale. My friend Christine has had some kale adventures in her blog “Please repeat.” And in the last year my husband and I have discovered with love beets! Who knew? So I went to my local gardening center to try to find seeds or, if I was very lucky, some starts. Apparently, I don’t live in an area where people do much fall gardening because at this very well-known garden center not only were there no starts, there were no seeds. At all. They did have rows and rows of fall mums, but nary a vegetable seed to be found. This just goes to show that I need to plan better. Next year we hope to add another garden bed (or two!) and expand my tilled area to include more room for pumpkins/squash and the husband and I have other pet hobbies we want to explore (bees for him, chickens for me). My goal is to turn as much of our big yard into edible as possible. It’s a lot of work, but enjoyable too in a meditative way. I care and nurture my kids much like the garden, but my garden has yet to yell at me, get into fights, or not clean up its toys. It does get sick on occasion, but at least not all over me. Maybe someday my yard will be more like my friend Martha, whose blog Scrumptious Life says it all.
In the meantime, enjoy this gazpacho recipe. It’s a conglomeration of two recipes in The Raw Food DeTox Diet by Natalia Rose and I’ve been making it all summer to devour our delicious tomatoes.
- 5-6 large tomatoes-coarsely chopped
- 1 cucumber peeled and seeded
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 C. olive oil
- 1/3 C. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 a red bell pepper- diced
- 1-2 ears of corn, cut off and cooked for about 1 minute
In your blender/vitamix take the garlic and chop up. Add the cucumber and tomatoes, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce. Set the blender to chop and then puree. In your soup bowls add the red pepper and corn and then pour the blended tomatoes over it. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy.
PS: I like this with some olive oil flat-bread that I make using the recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and topped with a garlic/red pepper olive oil from Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics Cookbook.