Grow a Few


Herbs that is, or a few easy-to-grow vegetables. Like lettuces and radishes, or laid-back perennials like chives and rhubarb. It’s that time of the year, at least in the upper Midwest, where I live. Stubborn patches of dirty snow still cling to areas of the garden, but they are kindly receding. See the dried-up, honey-colored remnants of leaves and stems--a positive green will soon take their place.

A cup of tea, a piece of draft paper, and some optimism this weekend as I curate the edible garden.

I talk so much about cooking and eating, but I have equal adoration for growing; it being one of my building blocks. Like the practice of cooking, gardening is as humbling and rewarding an adventure. My yard: hardly an area of full-sun, especially with our one backyard maple tree increasing its canopy over the garden each year. Yet I still tuck in peppers and tomatoes and melon plants with giddy optimism. Maybe a single melon will grow, hardly a pepper; those are the sun-lovers. But so much does transpire: peas, herbs, berries, and beans.

If you don’t grow your own food, I nudge you to start now. Start small and playfully and modestly. A few of your favorite herbs, in the ground or in pots, in the yard or on a bright windowsill. Maybe some lettuce leaves, my favorite being the short cut-and-come-again style, alongside a few radishes. That’s all. Start there. These are all relatively simple and forgiving plants to grow. You’ll be impressed by their freshness and flavor, and you’ll be inclined to eat them: the point.

Here's an article on the best garden crops for beginners. Food for thought!

I get personalized updates in my inbox on what to plant and when from The Old Farmer's Almanac. A rather nifty tool in case I get disorganized, which of course I do.

Seed Savers Exchange is my absolute favorite company for sourcing garden seeds. Absolutely, you can order online, and warning: scintillating food porn in the pages of their catalog.

If you haven't a patch of green (or sill or stoop for which to put a few pots), explore some community gardens in your area for a rented patch of your own.

No gardening for you, you say. Support a local grower by subscribing to a CSA farm share nearby to you, and reap what they sow.