I have been working on a flower garden at my house for the last 5 years. When I started, I was inspired by the High Line in NYC to create a garden with lots of color, movement and sea grasses to fill it in the spaces. Now, I have beautiful pink and red rose bushes, purple, pink and sometimes blue hydrangeas and butterfly bushes that start attracting butterflies the weekend of my son’s birthday every August. I have Montauk daisies, lilies, lavender and mint. I have crepe myrtles and hydrangea trees. My garden is lush, meandering, and full of color. It has been a labor of love and I’ve become a pretty good gardener! I know how to weed, fight stinkhorns, and prune my roses just so. And it’s all on one side of my driveway!
I’ve gained a certain kind of confidence in the dirt with what I have accomplished, so I decided this was the year to let my garden blossom without moving anything around or planting annuals. Then I asked myself, if I don’t have my garden to work on, what will I focus on? I need a project, that’s just me, and that’s when I decided it was time for a food garden.
I enlisted a local guy who has a company called Home Organic Gardening Service to build two raised beds on the other side, the narrow side, of my driveway.
And then we started planting in April!
What a learning curve! I had no idea how or when to harvest or if I should prune anything. And I still don’t but I went out every Saturday morning (and the almost every day during the summer) to see what was going on. The first thing we harvested were these radishes. I have never been so proud.
Then we got arugula and chives.
And kale and mesclun greens!
More tomatoes and cucumbers!
And more tomatoes in October!
Not to mention bok choy, spinach, beets, basil, pole beans, and an attempt at zucchini from which I got zucchini flowers but no zucchini. I can’t believe how much these two little beds have produced, it’s crazy! I’ve had such a great time that I can’t wait until next season. We are going to build a little hoop house over the kale and hopefully have it all winter.
I have learned a lot and can’t wait for next season. I sketched out a design for what I want to plant but in the meantime, I will be planting garlic, leeks and onions for the winter. What a joy!
If you have ever fantasized about growing your own food, I am here to tell you that you don’t need that much space and it is not that complicated. Yes, there is a learning curve but you have to start somewhere.
And if you really have no space, like if you live in an apartment in a city, try to find a community garden to plant in. If that’s not viable, you can grow your own herbs in a wine bottle! I helped a company called Urban Leaf develop the coolest “grow herbs in a wine bottle” system and I grew basil on my windowsill in my apartment in the city over the winter!
Anyway, I wanted to show you some of the food I made with my garden bounty that I haven’t already posted. Have you seen my tomato pies and galettes, cucumber salad, sweet carrot slaw, spiced green beans, eggplant involtini, and eggplant bacon? Here are some more fun things!
Zucchini blossom crust. My new coconut oil crust thinly rolled out, topped with whipped ricotta and zucchini blossoms, and baked.
Slow roasted tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt.
On toast with whipped ricotta and fresh herbs…
With mashed avocado, gooseberries and radishes…
And on more avo toast.
What about this platter of tomatoes, cucumbers and carrot lox made with carrots from my garden? I made this for break fast for my family.
I hope this post inspires you to try your hand at gardening or growing herbs on your windowsill. Whatever you grow, herbs on a window sill or kale and eggplants, let me know how it goes!