These warm winter days hold a promise of spring weather to come. Whispers of short-sleeves, flip-flops and gardens ride the winds.
My family has had a garden as long as I can remember. I recall my grandparent's gigantic garden full of everything you can think of: tomatoes, lettuce, chard, onions, carrots, squash cucumbers and more. They also had raspberries, blackberries, cherry trees and persimmons. They took the state motto, "The Garden State" to heart.
My parents had a smaller-scale garden as well. With all the usual suspects of a summer New Jersey garden.
There was an orchard nearby where we got apples and cider. We picked our own strawberries every year. One year, my dad planted a pumpkin patch.
Then I went away to college and moved to the city. I grew tomato plants on my balcony. We moved to a house in the burbs. . .but I didn't feel skilled enough to attempt a "real" garden. We finally put in a raised bed and I have a large planter for herbs. But besides lettuce, tomatoes and peppers. . .I haven't experimented too much. And what I can produce (that the groundhogs don't eat) isn't enough to sustain us. And that leaves me feeling inferior. I try to shop at local markets and farm stands - but sometimes, the effort it takes and the cost involved makes it overwhelming.
As part of From Left to Write Book Club, I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable, Miracle. And the next step in my route to feeding my family better has been set.
There are so many things I love about this book, and so many takeaways. But it also leaves me with a feeling of want. . .wanting to do more, be more. I love how the book is arranged into months. . .I have to confess, I read February and March first. . .since that is my current season, and I'm moving into garden planning mode.
Speaking of planning. . .I'm going to try sugar snap peas this spring and maybe spinach too, in addition to our tomatoes and peppers. My herb planter is typically a success, and since this winter has been warm, I am still cutting rosemary.
But first, I'd better go find a book about thwarting groundhogs. . .and dust off the bread machine.
What are your gardening plans this year?
Could you live an entire year eating locally or the food from your
garden? Barbara Kingsolver transplanted her family from the deserts of
Arizona to the mountains of Virginia for their endeavor. Join From Left to Write on February 21 as we discuss Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.