Food, Fun and More

First Pickings

I walked out to my garden this morning. The sun shone through my neighbor’s tall maple and walnut trees. The grass was wet with dew, haze hung in the air and a morning dove cooed from a branch of the maple tree in the corner of the yard.
My large pot of green beans on the deck had started blooming last week. I pulled aside a couple leaves and there were the first tender beans.  Green Beens I walked over to my small garden by the shed. I have two bush zucchini plants and on one was a perfect baby zucchini about three inches long, with the faded bloom still attached

Squash Bloom
The zucchini squash showed up overnight. I swear it wasn’t there yesterday when I was weeding. There are several more blooms on one plant but none on the other. I’m sure once they start producing full-force, I’ll have zucchini to share.
My garden-guru friend, Margaret, told me about bush zucchini. I found the seed at my favorite nursery, Gleis Nursery and Orchards, near Hillsdale. The seeds were more expensive than the vining variety but since I only planted two hills, they will last me for a couple more years.
This first zucchini was added to my lunch salad. I split it in half lengthwise and the rows of seeds were in miniature perfection. The green beans were added along with fresh cut dill and tender Swiss chard leaves. I grew the rainbow variety this year. The leaf stems are yellow, red or green.  Dill Weed
If you’re like me, you can’t wait to start harvesting your crops. The small new vegetables are delicious gently steamed and sprinkled with herbs or added to a stir fry. They cook quickly; add them last so they remain slightly crunchy.
I enjoy my garden plot and every day I discover something new blooming or fruiting. I’ve got small green tomatoes that grow bigger every day and the rhubarb needs cutting again. The first few red raspberries are ripe. The plants aren’t in full sun so they’re usually slow to bloom and set fruit.
Anyone can garden. All you need is a small patch of ground, a balcony or deck, or a sunny window ledge. Many communities have garden plots for public use. There is something satisfying about eating food you’ve grown yourself.

Green Tomatoes
In my garden I am in control of what, if any, chemicals are on the vegetables. I share my crop with a few bugs and caterpillars but they don’t eat all that much and I know my vegetables are pesticide free.
My friend, Lonnie told me once that I was probably the wife of a farmer in a previous life. I believe her. The earth pulls me and I am right at home with my fingers in sun-warmed soil.
When I walk out to my garden to cut some basil leaves, pick a tomato or see how big the green beans and zucchini are growing, I feel like I have a piece of heaven right here in my back yard. My dad’s hobby was horticulture. He showed me the joy of gardening and being close to the earth. He gave me a gift that I appreciate more every year. Thank you Daddy.


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