New Project: My Food Garden

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That’s me in June harvesting kale! (Photo Credit: My son!)

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!

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My prize rose!

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Butterfly bush and a friend!

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.

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Filling in the beds with organic soil.

And then we started planting in April!

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Planting day!

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.

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Then we got arugula and chives.

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And kale and mesclun greens!

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And tomatoes!

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And carrots!

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And eggplants!

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More tomatoes and cucumbers!

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And more tomatoes in October!

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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 beanseggplant involtini, and eggplant bacon? Here are some more fun things!

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Zucchini blossom crust. My new coconut oil crust thinly rolled out, topped with whipped ricotta and zucchini blossoms, and baked.

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Slow roasted tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt.

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On toast with whipped ricotta and fresh herbs…

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With mashed avocado, gooseberries and radishes…

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And on more avo toast.

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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.

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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!

2 thoughts on “New Project: My Food Garden

  1. This is so lovely, Lisa! Look at the color of those tomatoes!
    Even though I have a lot of space to plant things in my yard, plants just seem to hate me. I can’t grow not one seed 😦 I don’t know what am i doing wrong though… I’ve seen people recommending when working directly with seeds that you have to germinate them first before planting them in their definite place? Is that right?

  2. i am definitely not an expert but we did plant a lot from seeds – the tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, basil, carrots, beets, kale – straight into the garden bed. i would seek out someone locally who can help you. that’s what i did. we also did a soil test which could perhaps tell you what the issue is.

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