My garden. I know it looks like a random mess, but it's quite productive. This year I'm growing 3 or 4 varieties of tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, sugar snap peas, cilantro, mint, basil, oregano, strawberries.
As it turns out, you really don’t need that much space to produce a healthy bounty. The key is to be selective. Before I planted, I thought long and hard about what we like to eat and what would give the most yield for the space. Things like sugar snap peas, peppers, and tomatoes were naturally at the top of the list. Squash and cucumbers are also good bets. Still, 16 square feet just isn’t enough space, and until Hubby builds me a second vegetable bed, I also have to use containers.
Sonny wanted to grow strawberries this year. I've never grown them, so it will be interesting to see how many we get.
Sugar snap peas are so easy to grow. They like cool weather so you can plant them in early spring. And they produce a ton of pods that are so sweet, you can eat them raw right off the vine. You can eat the young tendrils too! They're also supposed to be nitrogen-rich, putting nitrogen back into the soil.
Send positive thoughts for my dwarf nectarine tree. It seems to have come down with a case of leaf curl and the fruit might not be able to mature. I also have a dwarf cherry tree and Meyer lemon tree, but they have yet to bare any fruit.
I encourage everyone to grow something edible. Even if it's just herbs, it's still worthwhile. Fresh herbs are so easy to grow in containers. Every time you pluck the leaves, it encourages the plant to produce even more. You'll have basil for pesto or mint for mojitos all summer long!
The herb I use the most is cilantro. Sure, it's cheap enough to buy, but I want the roots as well and it's impossible to find cilantro with the roots. I use the roots to make Thai curry pastes and in stir-fries. I'll post a stir-fry using the roots soon. In the meantime here's a simple rice recipe using the leaves and stems. Cumin and lime (or lemon) juice give it a nice freshness. It's very versatile too; perfect with Mexican, Middle Eastern or Indian food.
Feeds 4 as a side dish
- 2 cups Basmati or other long grain rice, washed and drained
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (water is also fine)
- Juice from 1 lime or lemon (about 3-4 tbs)
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 large bunch cilantro (about 1/2 cup or more to taste), finely chopped and divided
- salt to taste, if using water
I'm submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted by Paulchen's Foodblog this week.