March 22, 2008
It seems that Spring has arrived in Middle Tennessee: the daffodils have bloomed all over town with bright yellow bonnets heralding the warm weather to come, and people are out walking, biking and playing on this first official day of the new season.
Two things are going on at my house-- the preparation for an Easter Sunday brunch, and the start of my first ever vegetable garden. I have always wanted a garden, one that would not only look pretty but also produce something we can eat! Being from the Southwest, I've never been exposed to growing much more than a basil plant in the windowsill and geraniums on the back patio (although my dad has a beautiful garden patio in Las Vegas where he is growing all kinds of citrus fruit and tropical looking plants).
But here in the South it seems wet enough to grow stuff and I am jumping in head first. I'm like the new girl at school, not afraid to look dumb to expert gardeners and naive enough to think I can actually succeed at this, despite my absolute neophyte status.
So Daniel being from a family of capable people--a fix everything dad and a master gardener mom--has picked up a thing or two. He knows what we need at least to get started and from there it's one big experiment for both of us. (I'll be blogging about it here all season long as I envision an edible garden that will compliment my cooking experiments and hopefully turn into a healthy new obsession).
We started last weekend by digging up a plot of land in what we believe to be the sunniest corner of our backyard. We dug up all the roots with a pick-axe and a shovel, turning the earth over and over until the worms came out and the soil looked pretty dark. Then this weekend we got the manure (the cow variety) and added it to the soil, mixed it up quite a bit and raked it smooth. Next, putting a fence around it so Olive doesn't romp all over it.
(Break time--fried ckick peas and an american pale ale from Bluegrass Brewing Co., Louisville, KY)
In addition to asking friends and family who are experienced gardeners, I am using a book called "Dirty Knees" given to me by Betsy at work. She's an avid gardener and her mom wrote it. It's about organic gardening for the novice. Perfect. It has a month-by-month breakdown of what you should be doing, when to plant what, and how to do it in simple terms. It's great. Thanks, Betsy.
For Easter I have some friends and Daniel's parents coming over. Let's just say my stand mixer and rolling pin are working overtime--I've been at it since Friday night. Here is just a preview and there will be a special "Pasquetto" blog on Monday. (Easter Monday in Italy is traditionally a holiday too when people take their leftovers from the Sunday feast to the park for a picnic). I am making some yummy things in keeping with my family's tradition of doing it up on Easter. Stay tuned...