Monday, April 13, 2009
I didn't start my garden because of the Obamas. I didn't start it because it's newly hip to grow your own food. I didn't even start it (solely) to be more eco-friendly.
It was actually an accident.
We moved across the hall in our apartment building in February. On a routine attempt to spruce up the place (an endeavor that stretched our move-in time to about three weeks), I turned my attention to the back yard, which was covered in leaves at least a foot deep. A few forceful swipes revealed, however, more than I ever could have wished for.
Underneath this leaf bed, apparently untouched for at least a dozen years, lay black gold. Compost, that is. Our lazy ex-neighbors had unwittingly been cold composting, a process that involves leaving your brown and green organic matter in a pile and doing nothing. It takes much longer than the high-maintenance composting you hear about, but it's a heck of a lot easier.
So, here I am, food lover and cook, with a plot of land made solely of highly fertile material. Feeling guided by the hands of fate, I started the process in my own makeshift way. I gathered gardening tools from my neighbor's neglected collection, ordered my favorite vegetables in seed form, and bought some lime and a bag of compost just in case.
After a month and a half of gardening, these pictures you see are what I have. So far, the only things I've reaped are some herbs (because I bought parsley, sage, rosemary, lavender, chives, and thyme in plant form), arugula, and green garlic. After eating a deliciously simple soup of green garlic for lunch today, I decided this food blog was the perfect place to post about my gardening experience. After all, hopefully many of my meals will be coming from the garden in a few months. So far I've planted potatoes, garlic, peppers, jalapeños, fava beans, zuchinni, kale, carrots, beets, frisee, bok choy, escarole, microgreens, rapini, fennel, tomatoes (four varieties:brandywine, black cherry, red zebra, and san marzano), edamame, mache, radicchio, turnips, thai hot chile, strawberries, red sail lettuce, okra, and a ton of herbs.
Already I've found that it's so addictive. I'm out there everyday, looking for new weeds to pull, trekking back and forth to the hose on the other side of the building, and, who am I kidding, just staring lovingly at my little plants.
In the left corner, those monstrous plants are my potatoes. To their right you can see little green shoots coming out of the ground-this is green garlic, the immature leafy part of a garlic bulb. They are delicious, in soups, mixed with creamy cheeses, and atop pasta. What's more, you can cut them a few times and they'll keep growing back.
simple green garlic soup
3 c homemade chicken broth
4 sage leaves
2 tbsp chopped green garlic
2 slices of toasted bread
Bring chicken broth to a boil with sage leaves. Remove leaves and add green garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook five minutes, at a simmer, then add toasted bread drizzled with olive oil to a bowl, top with soup and a pinch of chopped parsley.