Gardening means so many positive things to me that I was having a hard time finding just the right phrase to title my new series. I gave serious consideration to “Kelly Does Dirt,” “Dirty Fingernails Are Nature’s Perfect Manicure,” “Fresh Veggies Are Better Than Making Whoopee,” …well, you get the picture. In other words, I was having a hard core creativity block.
When I gave up brainstorming and closed my laptop, the title “Victory Garden” popped into my head. I realized I didn’t even know the history of the term. So, I “Wikied” it. *I’m guessing I utilize the resource at least once a day. Here’s what I learned:
Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front.
What a gift! History had at that moment handed me what I needed. It seems that there has been somewhat of a resurgence the past few years in private residence and public community gardens. Further, my gardens have been my own personal morale booster; they truly have helped me feel empowered by the contribution to our family and health. The “reward of labor” comes almost daily at the height of summer’s harvest.
So, here’s the point: I’m going to start a series on Monday afternoons following Julie’s “Homestead and Garden” posts in keeping with her topical theme. I may be cooking what’s in my garden, struggling with pests, celebrating or failing…but I’ll be sharing it with you this year. Sometimes I might skip a week if my project is a little stagnant, but if growing veggies this year will be anything like the last few years, “stagnant” will never happen!
Week One – “The last of the greens, in hopes of some greens”
This past Friday I spent my lunch hour in one of my favorite places: Horn’s Seed Company. Oh, who am I kidding? I like pretty much every nursery and “seed company” I visit. I’m looking forward to buying my summer vegetable plants and seeds and am planning to go to another place in Guthrie. I’ll make sure and show you that little spot – it’s a “goodie.” However, right now it’s time for early Spring gardening. On my list? Lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard seeds, broccoli and cauliflower plants, onion bulbs and a few flowers beginners can grow for my flower beds. I grabbed a bag of chicken manure compost as well because I don’t have enough homegrown brew (compost) right now and needed to give my garden a treat. I can’t decide whether to plant carrots or potatoes for my final square inches, so won’t do that until next week.
Mick repaired the rototiller, turned up the soil (wow – so soft and beautiful…dirt smells good!), and I was ready to go. I had asked him to please toss the last couple of green onions from my winter planting out onto the grass before he turned everything under. He did, but there were more than a couple! I’d been using them and some reseeded cilantro most of the entire winter, but didn’t remember I had this many. They survived the snow and 20-below temperatures just fine…amazing! Perhaps because they were packed in snow. So this was my job tonight: clean and prepare the last of the winter goodness.
Just a few last notes about nutrition and health regarding the pilaf recipe. I’ve made it with as little as 1/2 the butter and it turned out just fine. I’ve also mixed 1/2 butter and 1/2 olive oil. I’m sure you could make it with 1/4 c. of olive oil and no butter and you would be fine too. As with all recipes, the salt comes late in the game. I always use less than a recipe calls for if it has nothing to do with chemistry (mixing with baking soda, etc.). And, it truly doesn’t matter what kind of pasta you use. I’ve broken up spaghetti, used rotini, macaroni (obviously), and many more “inis.” It will be just fine with whatever pasta you have unless you’re planning something crazy like using lasagna noodles!
Next week preview: I’ll make a decision about carrots or potatoes, talk to my neighbor about garden-sharing…are there veggies we can grow to split between us? And, decide whether or not this is the year we extend our garden to twice its size. See you then!
*Sometimes Wikipedia just says it all. In fact, four times a year, I donate ten dollars to Wikipedia because I just appreciate the project so much.