It’s amazing to me that just a couple months ago the garden was sparse. A few seedlings crawled to life. The choke weed never had a chance to snake its way up the vines. There was hope but there were a lot of questions and fear too. Was I doing it right? Planting too late? Too early? There was a lot of rain and a log of seedlings lost but through it all I’ve learned a few things.
Fertilizer is very important. Nutrients for the nutrients I’m growing. (Side note: I’m learning so much about the importance of soil health from the book What your Food Ate which is probably the inspiration for taking such care with my soil this season.
Raised beds are the way to go. The weeds are so much more manageable.
Take better notes. Not sure this will ever be me but I aspire to it.
Be patient. Growth will happen.
The work of spring is rewarded by the bounty of summer.
Farmers charge too little.
Satisfaction tastes so good, so do the carrots.
Gathering is not the only reward. I love that the garden has brought more life to the yard; more bugs, bees, and birds. It’s a daily reminder of my partnership with the earth. We’re not separate in our aspirations but rely on one another for our growth.
Yesterday I spent much of the afternoon harvesting then transforming that harvest into snacks, dinner and dessert. With the kale and turnips I made dehydrated chips lightly seasoned with olive oil and soy sauce. The raspberries are now jam and grandma’s fresh raspberry pie: A delightful cream pie with melted marshmallows folded into whipped cream then fresh raspberries layered in between. All of that is nestled into a graham cracker crust. The basil I didn’t grow but couldn’t resist their fragrance at a farm stand I stopped at on the 4th of July. That became pesto with pistachios and then that became our dinner with two pounds of zucchini cooked with olive oil and chili flakes for over 30 minutes. During that time they practically melted then caramelized.
I’m the only one in the family who loves zucchini and for years now I’ve been trying to get the garden to a point where I too will have the problem of too much zucchini. This may be my year. The eight plants in my garden just started popping and they are quite healthy and abundant. There will be zucchini bread too but this long sauté was a great way to slip in zucchini with our pesto pasta.
There was so much doubt in the spring. Wishing that I had read the gardening books in the winter that I promised myself I would. Comparing my meager pea and tomato starts to the expert gardening accounts posting on Instagram. The rain didn’t help but still I blamed myself. And yet I did the things I knew to do. Weeded and fed the young plants. I took the time to learn who likes to be neighbors in the garden and who needs a little space. I tenderly trained pole beans to grow tall and pruned the tomatoes in the hope that their energy is spent getting strong and growing lots of fruit. Coming home from vacation to the abundance of the garden was a reminder in the power of doing the work even when the rewards are not guaranteed and/or are a ways off. And, a lesson I’m continually learning; don’t be so hard on yourself.
Basil and Pistachio Pesto
4 cups (4 ounces) packed, basil leaves
1 cup /4 ounces parmesan, grated
2/3 cup pistachios
5 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
Combine the basil, parmesan, pistachios and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely minced and well combined. While the machine is running, pour in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then mix again. Season with salt.
Pesto will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months. In the fridge it will last for one week.
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My go-to garden pesto is parsley-almond, because my Italian parsley has just taken over one of my beds! Ashley - do you have a favorite fertilizer for your edibles? I use the stinky Alaska fish goop but always looking for less fragrant options :)
We make our pesto cheese-free with very little oil & added water. Also use macadamia or cashews. You'll be surprised how good it is!