The Past Six Months… Starting with my garden

So much to say. These last several months have been really great. I feel settled in Portland and have vowed to travel less in 2013. I’ve nursed an injury to my “good” knee and fully recovered. I started teaching barre3, a workout based here in Portland that involves small isometric contractions and lots of Rihanna. I’ve traveled to California four times. (!?) I’ve moved–twice–bringing my total of Portland homes to three in one year while my New York decade was spent in just one. (I feel like the universe is just evening things out.) I’m good. I’m happy. I’m healthy. I am feeling inspired in my writing career. I’m having fun putting together workouts for my classes. And just last night I picked up my knitting needles and put on a period drama–my recipe for success last winter. So yes, I’m good.

My biggest regret from this long silence is not sharing about my garden plot. I had the best time. It was incredibly therapeutic, jus tike I knew it would be. (Having a garden was high on my list of reasons I wanted to leave NYC for PDX.) I harvested corn. And beets. And lettuce. And green beans. And tomatoes–3 kinds. There was also kale, and radishes, and carrots, and onions, and scallions, and cucumbers, and strawberries. Such bounty! I loved working the soil. I loved eating the actual fruits of my labor.

But I didn’t blog about it.

So now I will. With pictures of some of my favorite moments, meals, and sights.

When I first saw the plot, in late April, it was 100-square feet of weeds:

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So I pulled them:

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And cleared the space. You can’t really tell, but I put two wood chip rows for walking: 
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Then I planted my starters. (At this point, seeds seemed intimidating.) From left to right, front to back, we have sweet peas against the trellis and leeks to their right. Gold and red beets are in front of them. In the center row I planted spinach, scallions, and kale. In the purple cage is a tomato plant; just to its right is a pepper plant. 
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Overnight things started to grow. My spinach and kale shot up and so did the scallions. 
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The sweet peas started to climb their trellis. I always ate handfuls while weeding. SAMSUNG

They also made their way onto salads of homegrown spinach scallions and raspberries with quinoa, almonds and apple. Delish!SAMSUNG

The leeks, beets, and carrots flourished, taking a bit longer to ripen. (disregard all those weeds in the trail way :)SAMSUNG

Here’s a salad of kale, scallions, quinoa, walnuts, nectarines, and blackberries from my garden. SAMSUNG

By July or so the corn was coming in and the kale was huge! I pulled out the spinach–it bolted in the heat–and put in some lettuce (by seed!) which you see peeking up in the foreground. SAMSUNG

The corn–called sugar pearl–was super sweet. SAMSUNG

Then, one day I arrived and saw that a lending library went in next to my plot. (Just beyond that blackberry bush on the left is the fenced in corner of my garden.) Isn’t it the cutest thing ever!SAMSUNG

Come August, when my purple, green, and red tomatoes were ripening, along with my yellow and green cucumbers and onions, I made every variation of Greek Salad possible. SAMSUNG

Here’s a typical harvest from August: radishes, tomatoes, onions, kale, lettuce, corn, carrots, blackberries, and cucumbers.SAMSUNG

I just love all the color that came out of the ground and off the vines:SAMSUNG

In September, which is part of summer here in Portland, the garden was still going strong.

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The tomato plants got so big and heavy I had to add a second row of trellising. SAMSUNG

The chocolate peppers came in, turning from green to red to brown.SAMSUNG

The green zebra tomatoes started to turn a little yellow, signaling they were ready to eat. 
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Green beans took the place of the sweet peas, which succumbed to the summer heat.
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I had a single delicata squash come in. I stuffed it with brown butter orzo, cranberries, and nuts and served it with some garlic green beans. Yum!

SAMSUNGIn early November I pulled up most all of the plants and “put my garden to bed,” helping retain nutrients in the soil and some other good for the garden things. But my kale plants are still going strong, and so are the leeks. I’m already looking forward to next year’s plan!

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One Response to The Past Six Months… Starting with my garden

  1. Howard says:

    A weeds to riches story with a green zebra tomato running through it — ! Love it. H

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