The Joys of Growing Your Own Food

Another passion of mine is growing vegetables and tending to our little garden. If the surf is blown out, or if it is a moon day, I love to get my hands into the earth.

One of the many reasons why I love spring is that we can grow a fresh new crop of vegetables in the garden. Every year, I try something different, and also grow some of our favorite things to eat.

I can’t boast of a big garden with rows and rows of different crops that burst from our own soil. We have a small backyard and just a small, 4×4 raised bed that I had put together from wooden planks from Home Depot a few years ago. It’s beginning to fall apart, but I am figuring that maybe we can eek out another year or two from it before I bite the bullet and buy another raised bed set-up. The raised bed garden works for us because our soil (in San Diego) is parched and clay-like, and a lot of work to transform it into that loamy, rich soil I often dream about.

I can’t say that I start our veggies from seed, either, although that is a long term goal of mine. So I just buy little seedlings from our local garden store (Anderson’s of La Costa is a really nice place to go), add and work in new soil and organic fertilizer, and pray that our little seedlings will grow. This year, I decided to try two new things — Japanese eggplant and bok choy. I cook these veggies a lot, so it made sense to grow them. I also added in our favorite staples of tomatoes, spinach, Swiss chard, red leaf lettuce, basil, and chives.

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With the ongoing drought on Southern California, we had to be very mindful of water usage. What I did was use a bucket to hold all the excess gray water from our showers or doing the dishes, and poured that gray water into the garden on a daily basis. Pests haven’t been a issue -yet! I use neem oil spray for bugs and it seems to work well enough. It seemed like the seedlings like that a lot! In a few weeks, this was what we had:

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Last night I was inspired to use some of these yummy greens in our dinner. From garden to cutting table, I snipped up Swiss chard, spinach, chives, cilantro, and basil…plus a lime from our lime tree (which seems to survive just about anything)…

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I combined the greens into orzo, and used the lime to make a picatta sauce for some cod that we had. As an aspiring yogi, I have cut out a lot of red meat and poultry, but seafood still remains a part of the diet (for now). My family loved it!

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There really is a certain pleasure in seeing your garden grow, and being able to eat from the garden. It could be all in my mind, but the greens just seem to taste a bit crisper and brighter when plucked right out of the soil. Plus, there is something so grounding about being able to work one’s hands in the soil, and tending to the vegetables that grow in it. A garden really feels like a gift from the earth!

 

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