Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A New Garden Adventure Begins

I've discovered the secret to perfect, robust, healthy produce: join an organic produce co-op!

On Super Bowl Sunday, my friend Donna brought the most delicious carrots I'd ever tasted--they were so good I didn't want to adulterate the taste by using any dip. She told me she'd gotten them through a co-op in our area.

After a couple of weeks, we picked up our first biweekly bin of produce from a lady just a couple of blocks from our house!

For $50, we got:
  • 7 kiwis (Ethan's favorite)
  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 Haas avocados (Allyson's favorite)
  • 3 bunches of leeks (a giant, mild flavored green onion)
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 juicy, sweet red bell peppers
  • 10 Braeburn apples
  • 12 bananas (4 pounds)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 9 large carrots
  • 2 heads green leaf lettuce
  • 5 pounds of russet potatoes (we cut up a couple and planted them in a bucket)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard
  • 4 ounces local salad greens (Mizuna)

Everything was juicy and delicious, and it was fun figuring out how to cook it all. I sauteed the chard with garlic and onion and buried it in a delicious lasagna, and I used the leeks in a cream sauce over scalloped potatoes and sweet potatoes. I'd never dreamed I could get my family--or myself--to eat these vegetables! I can't wait for our second delivery this Saturday.

So does this mean we're done with the Family Garden? No, of course not! We had way too much fun last year to give it up. Thanks to some tips from my mother-in-law and my friend Helen--both highly successful gardeners--I have hopes that this year it will be productive as well as entertaining.

We've actually been preparing the soil for several months by doing our own version of composting. I tried to convince Bill to go to a composting class at a nearby farm, but he scoffed, asserting that he could figure it out on his own. All week long, we collect egg shells, banana peels, and little bits of veggies in a big coffee can, and then Bill buries it in the garden on the weekend. The only flaw with this plan is that, nine times out of ten, Lola immediately digs it up and strews garbage all over the lawn. Just as I'd suspected last year, the little wire fence is no match for her.

At least some of the compost must have found its mark, though, because this year there are far more worms wriggling in the rich, dark soil. Allyson is still fascinated with worms, but she's a bit more timid about actually holding them. She says, "I'm afraid they'll tickle me."

Last Wednesday evening, she got to help Daddy dig up some dirt and mound it into little biodegradable cardboard planters.

Allyson was thrilled with the opportunity to use the adorable pail and shovel she'd received as a party favor at her friend Grace's birthday. She discovered another fun use for the shovel today: digging up worms and grubs in the garden--which Bill fed to Lola (ugghhh!)

Ethan's contribution was making a grid to label all the little planters.

In Case You Wondered, Allyson Picked Out Her Own Clothes That Day

And my contribution? Taking pictures, of course. But soon I'll be on daily (obsessive/compulsive) weed control.

Now, we wait--and try to stop Allyson from doing unauthorized watering with her pink polka-dotted pail. The planters are soaking up the sun in our kitchen window seat for now, but in a few weeks we hope to transfer the young seedlings into the garden plot, which Bill is enlarging to make room for the cantaloupes and pumpkins we're adding this year.

The pumpkin seeds were another gift from Grace's party, and Allyson is already making plans for the pumpkins--like pumpkin oatmeal, our favorite.

Ah, the glory of spring!


Victor S E Moubarak said...

I am totally useless in the garden. It's a constant fight with the weeds. I did manage though to get a good crop of apples and pears last year; a few figs too. But that's all!

God bless.

Melissa Irwin said...

I love it! The co- op and the garden planning. I am planning to enlarge my flower garden this year. I can't wait to get dirty. :-)

Jara said...

I want to hear more about this co-op, how does one join?

Anonymous said...

人若賺得全世界,賠上自己的靈魂,有什麼益處? ..................................................

Jenny from the Block said...

You got a lot of great looking organic produce for only $50! What a steal!


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