Last year’s garden

Carrots from our garden

Sorry for my absence, I’m getting back on my feet after a debilitating stomach bug. Maybe it was the 24 hour flu, but whatever terrible thing it was, I’m so grateful it’s over. I feel human again. But I’m behind on emails and responding to comments because of my illness. I just now finally have energy to type.

Our first CSA box arrived this week and I can’t wait to share it with you (blog coming next week). Now I just have to wait for the first Farmer’s market to really feel that summer will be coming.

Last year I decided to plant a garden in July. The last day of frost in our area is around mid-May, but I planted late. July was when I had my epiphany: my son will love this even if we don’t have much of a crop. So we planted carrots, sunflowers, pumpkins, radishes — basically just a random assortment of stuff. The pumpkin needed way more days and it just didn’t go anywhere by October. I felt really bad watching it die in the cold weather. The sunflowers were great and the carrots were sweet teeny tiny things when we harvested them in October. We got exactly one radish:

One radish 

I know radishes come early in the season so I’m going to have to find some more appealing ways to prepare them this season (please share favorite recipes). We tried them chopped over salad raw and they were so bitter. I did try “radish chips,” which weren’t terrible. For the record: kale chips are way, way better.

This year with our impending move, we aren’t really going to be able to grow very much. However, the Easter Bunny did bring Charlie a little spade and a little rake with a note that he should use them to grow carrots for the Easter Bunny, himself (such a selfish rabbit!). A little someone was highly motivated to plant so just last weekend my husband went outside to plant all of the seed packets we have left including a little packet of carrots. I didn’t want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm with the trivial information about any impending frost between now and mid-May. I just figured that 30 minutes of digging in the dirt was good for both of them and can be repeated in the future. Even in July.

Last summer, we were so proud of our little carrots!

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5 Responses to Last year’s garden

  1. Heather @ InHerChucks April 21, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    I am so proud of your carrots too! Growing a garden is so rewarding. It really makes you appreciate the food that you eat. My family and I recently started a garden and are having a blast learning how it all works. If you would like to read more check out this link: http://inherchucks.com/2012/03/06/how-is-my-garden-growing-the-next-chapter/.

    I look forward to your CSA post. I have been a CSA subscriber for almost 2 years now and I love everything about it. I also do a weekly CSA post http://inherchucks.com/whats-in-the-box/ and recently started a CSA link party. I look forward to you linking up when you publish your post 🙂

  2. Kelli April 21, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    I live in an apartment and have tried to grow vegetables in pots on the porch, largely unsuccessfully. But for me it’s about nurturing and watching my plants grow. If I get a yield at all I am very happy.

    I found a potato sprouting in my pantry last summer. It had long pale stems with leaves and I felt bad tossing it in the trash so I cut it up and planted them in yogurt containers to see if they would grow. Once they got big enough I put them in big pots on the porch and mounded dirt on them as they grew. I had 3 big containers, each with a potato plant and I got less than 10 small potatoes I think. But it was really fun to dig them up and see how many I got. I spent a lot more on dirt than I got in potatoes but I didn’t care. I grew potatoes, gosh darnit, and I was very proud.

    Maybe someday when I’ve got a yard I’ll try my luck at a raised-bed garden. I love reading about your gardening adventures. Your son is so lucky to have that experience. Being connected to the earth and understanding how food grows is really important (preaching to the choir, I know). I’m sure those will be fond memories for him.

  3. Meg April 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I’m not such a fan of raw radishes, but we get tons of them in our CSA boxes, especially early in the season. I’ll slice a few into salads, and hand some off to my mom, who loves them in the traditional European style–dipped in salt, accompanied with dark bread and butter and beer. My preference, though, is to slice them thinly and sautee them in a little butter or olive oil. The cooking mellows some of their bite, and I’ve used them to top salads or as additions to sandwiches and wraps. I also will often add them whole to a pan of vegetables to roast in the oven–they work well with a mix of summer squashes, onions and eggplant, and also with more root veggies like carrots, parsnips and potatoes.

  4. Noelle Johnston April 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Hello Sarah. I am so excited to be writing to you:) I too am a teacher (In California) and a parent of mine just gave me your book (a signed copy) because she knows this is my passion! I have devoured it! Thank goodness for people like you. You truly do make a difference. I am just so excited that more and more people are getting on board with this cause:) On my end, we are fortunate to have a garden here at school, however we have not used it to really feed the students, just to give them the experience (which has been great). Now, I am feeling so inspired to do more! We do not have a lot of space either but there is hope. There are many ideas out there but I have recently become a part of something called the Tower Gardens (as a matter of fact at Chicago O’Hare Airport, there is an entire terminal full of them:)) Anyway, they have smaller systems that are fabulous! Not to mention, they can even come inside during extreme weather! They are great materials keeping kids safe because they are UV protected AND the plastic used is food grade plastic…no toxins. They use a lot less water and recycle the nutrients that are ALL Natural. We are looking into grants for these. If you want to take a peek at the website, please see livelean.towergarden.com. YOu can also check out http://www.livingtowers.com to see how a woman is really making a difference in her community. Hope you continue to be inspired. Thank you for all you do and I will certainly be doing my part in our community.

    Noelle Johnston (LaQuinta, California)

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