Thursday, July 8, 2010


I grew up around gardeners.  My parents have always had a big vegetable garden in their yard where they annually grow radishes, peas, beans, potatoes, lettuce, beets, carrots, cucumbers, dill, tomatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi (link for those of you who don't know what it is), and other vegetables on occasion (I remember we grew corn when I was really little).  They also have a ton of raspberry bushes and pots with hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, parsley, and more cucumbers.  Most people I think have tasted the difference between store-bought and home-grown carrots, but have you ever tried fresh steamed peas right out of the garden?  The difference is mind-blowing.

My mom came from gardener parents who grew many of the same vegetables as well as had a crabapple tree, plum tree, and Saskatoon berry bush in their yard.  The thing I miss most about that house is definitely the crabapple tree - I've been meaning to get some crabapples and make a pie for the past few summers but it just hasn't happened.  Crabapple jam is also amazing and I've been able to find a similar-tasting substitute for my grandma's jam at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market.  Also perfect beet borscht made with nothing but garden vegetables - beets, beans, peas, dill, potatoes, carrots, and maybe a couple others - is another taste I've been missing terribly since my grandma moved out of her house and stopped cooking.

Over the past few years I've really wanted to start gardening myself.  This is a bit of a problem since I live in a house with a parking lot instead of a back yard, and until the past fall I lived in the basement.  I put a couple of parsley pots outside my window last summer but that was really all the space that I "owned" in the yard.  But this year I live upstairs with dibs on the front yard space!  Check out my sweet sweet garden:

It started off as a couple of herbs but I wanted to see if vegetables could be grown in smaller planters.  So far I seem to be having relatively good luck with broccoli

and red peppers (they're just babies so far)

It's true, I'm attempting to grow some peppers in a pot that we burned on the stove and can't use anymore.  It has no drainage so it's an experiment.  They seem to be doing well though!

I've also got a planter with two rows of romaine lettuce which is coming up nicely.  Although I'm leaving town in about a week just when it starts being ready to pick and I might get back after it's all done :(

Garden lettuce - so much better than from the store!  My favourite summer salad is fresh lettuce, cucumber, dill, green onions, with sour cream for dressing (be generous with the sour cream).  Add some salt too and the flavours go together AMAZINGLY.

My sister and I also bought a couple of different strawberry plants at the beginning of the summer.  One of them is obviously not going to produce fruit this year but the other has a few flowers and one lonely half-berry:

My favourites though are the tea herbs I've been collecting.  I'm hoping to find a place for them indoors in the winter to keep them going.  I probably shouldn't buy anymore but I've currently got peppermint, chocolate mint (!!!!! who knew it existed !!!! it actually smells so chocolately), and today I accidentally bought lemon balm because it smelled so good :D

Mint is super easy to take care of (basically if it's being kept outside, you just leave it and it grows itself - totally idiot proof).  The other day I harvested a few of the fresh leaves to make tea.  It was the freshest, "cleanest" tasting drink ever.

I am really excited to eventually move into my own house and have a big garden and plant fruit trees, but until then I am content with this tiny planter garden.  I love going outside every morning to check how my plants are doing.  You guys should start tiny gardens too, they are so fun!

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