Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Veggie Garden Project: Version 2.0


Kate the Zucchini
For me, loving something means sooner or later learning more about the elements that make it what it is, as that increases my appreciation of it that much more. This is certainly the case when it comes to my approach to food. For that reason, I got really into learning how to make my own bread, my own cheese, my own tortillas, and so forth at different points over the years. Then recently, I've discovered that I also enjoy growing vegetables.

Really, let me tell you that there's nothing more rewarding than watching something you nurtured grow from a tiny seedling into a flourishing plant. There's also nothing that tastes better than a salad made from freshly harvested greens and veggies that you grew yourself. For that reason, I think every chef ought to at least attempt  to grow their own produce at least once in their lifetime. It gets you in touch with your food and your craft in a way nothing else really can.

I grew my very first veggie garden ever when we were still living in Montana and I really couldn't believe how simple it was to maintain. I also couldn't believe how much produce the thing produced, even though it was literally just a modest corner of cleared land in the back yard. There were salad greens, zucchini, and corn... almost too much garden bounty to even eat it all, but it was amazing. It was nice to be able to know for a fact just how the vegetables were grown, whether or not any pesticides were used, and so forth as well.

Fred the Jalapeño
We didn't get a chance to repeat the experiment last spring and summer, as we were planning our move to California at the time. However, we have decided to grow at least a few plants this year. At this point we have two, a zucchini and a jalapeño. We're going to attempt growing them in pots this time because of the massive gopher problem we have in this area of California, but so far both plants seem to be pretty happy with their little lives.

As you no doubt realize, we've even named them, as their being in pots somehow makes them seem more like individuals. They're actually named after two of the band members of The B-52's, one of my favorite bands. I am sure that if we acquire any other plants, the names will follow suit. I can't wait until these produce their first harvest and I get to share what I cook with it. It seems like it's a really long way off right now, but with the way time flies, I'll be making stuffed jalapeños thanks to Fred and zucchini lasagna thanks to Kate before I know it!
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