Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Gardening

In celebration of Earth Day, and because I had the day off from the bookshop (we're closed Mondays and Tuesdays), but mostly because I had procrastinated quite a bit, I spent this warm day in the sunshine, barefoot and bent over, planting my spring vegetable garden. Yesterday was the back breaking part, edging my 25 x 45 foot plot with the square spade. It started out Monday morning as a 23 x 44 footprint, but I kept veering off crookedly, so there's more room to plant.

Today was a perfect seed planting morning. Our soggy soil had dried up enough to resemble chocolate cake crumbs, which I read somewhere once is the perfect loamy texture to inaugurate the garden season. I managed to get in my spinach, climbing peas, lettuce, radishes and Italian dandelions. Dandelions! Yes, dandelions, because I like my braised veggies with garlic and oil and this is some fancy Italian chicory that is a new resident in the garden bed. I already had some returning chives, Oriental poppies (from a mixed wildflower seed packet from four years ago that keep on showing up), cilantro, lemon balm, thyme and oregano. No spears up in the asparagus bed yet, but they'll follow the sun soon and then we'll get to gorging ourselves on them, roasted with garlic and herbs.

If you fall in love with your garden each year too, then here's a book I have recommended and placed in customers hands over and over again. I buy it every time I see it when I'm out book hunting, and it never fails to find a good home. I have one copy for sale at Old Saratoga Books at present, but you could also probably find a copy at your local library too if you want to "test drive" it first.

This book gem is:

Cooking from the Garden, by Rosalind Creasy (San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club 1988). A gorgeous, photograph-packed book for home gardeners and cooks to drool over. Creasy thoroughly details theme gardens: Heirloom, Native American, Baked Beans, Cajun, Asian, French, Mexican, German, etc. and offers planting advice, recipes, interviews with gardeners, and a wealth of new ways to enjoy vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. The emphasis is on vegetables and herbs that taste and look good, and you'll find plenty of new varieties to try.

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