It's been a long, cold, snowy winter and I'm beyond excited to see all the new things popping up in my garden. While I prefer vegetable to flower gardening, there's nothing better than seeing cheery little Scilla flowers after a long winter or the deep red peony fronds coming up out of the ground. It's all a reminder that we made it! We survived a long winter and now we get to look ahead, with brighter days to the new opportunities that await us in the garden.
This year, we're excited to put in a slew of fruit bushes - more currants, raspberries, haskaps and a few more I've forgotten about since making my mid-winter order. While most of this fruit must be left for a year or more for proper root growth and development, the mere idea of sweet summer treats is exciting.
We've decided to rely more on our CSA this year and grow only the foods I will can and rely on the most and that means tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes.
During the challenge, we ran out of canned and frozen tomatoes about mid-way through. I never realized how dependent I was on tomatoes to add body or provide the foundation in my dishes. I also realized how badly I needed tomato paste, so we've started a combination of Tiny Tims, Yellow Heirlooms, Bonnie Best Heirlooms, Roma and Sweet Cluster tomatoes. Aside from the easy picking, easy eating Tims, most will be turned into salsa or just plain peeled and diced for canned tomatoes. It's tedious work, but in the dead of winter, there's nothing like opening your own can of home grown, home canned tomatoes to bolster your stews.
We're growing a few odds and ends as well, like some jalapeño peppers, rosemary, sunflowers (we grow them in advance or else the Ring-Neck Pheasants eat them within minutes), marigolds (the perfect insect repellent), snapdragons and fingers-crossed, some Sunberries that have yet to germinate.
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So while many people continue to lament the rising cost of food and fuel, I'm happy to do my part and grow nutritious food that doesn't hurt the pocketbook.
For the gardeners out there: Planning anything new and exciting in your garden/window box?