Each year, as spring begins blossoming, I begin getting the itch to start a garden. As we’ll be moving at some point this summer, but not sure exactly when, I wanted to do something with the garden that would be easy to move, so I looked around my house for unused containers and found a great solution: a wal-mart shopping basket.
This turned out to be just the right size for the chives, two cherry tomato plants and an oregano. Thusly, I’m pretty annoyed with the aviary in my backyard because I just can’t let the tomatoes ripen on the plant because the birds know exactly the right moment to snatch a taste of my crop. It’s pretty hard to stay mad at them, though. We have some truly magnificent birds around here.
Locally, we have an open public market which sells crafty items like jewelry and crochet as well as plants, honey, baked goods, coffee and fresh seasonal produce. The honey we usually purchase is just the best! It comes from a family that produces it just about an hour’s drive away and is flavored with the wildflower pollen their honey bees feed on. This one pounder is only $6 and completely worth the trip to the market.
My other favorite booth at the market is the plant lady. I don’t know her name, but she always has the most interesting herb plants. Last summer, I purchased and managed to kill a chocolate mint plant from her. This year, I repurchased the same plant, but was smart enough to get some growing tips from the plant lady and now my chocolate mint is a success. This weekend, I also bought a cinnamon basil plant and a culantro plant (p.s. it is really hard to get “culantro” out with autocorrect, which is totally spelled correctly).
Strangely enough, the cinnamon basil does have a darker note of cinnamon to it, when eaten raw. I was really surprised by it! In addition, the plant lady had lemon basil and lime basil, all of which had slightly different flavors. The culantro has been on my mind since I saw it during the last market season. Why?… It looks so strange–nothing at all like cilantro, but tastes just like cilantro. The culantro has spiked flowering units that grow through the middle and must be cut off for maintenance, but I’m told it’s otherwise somewhat hard to kill. Perfect for me!
So, have you started a garden this year? Gardening is a very rewarding endeavor and it lightens the load on buying big-box, long-haul produce, which is likely to be riddled with pesticides, gasses and sometimes even radiation to keep the veggies pretty through transit. Do you really want tomatoes from South America? Or from your own community?