Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to eat from a home garden

When you consider price, work, weather, bugs etc
 gardening can seem very un-necessary.

Why would I be so driven to grow my own food when I can buy it in the store?

1) The taste of home grown food can not in any way compare to the store bought
2) When it comes to variety home grown can beat store bought hands down
3) fresh, nothing can be fresher than a pre-dinner walk to gather your supplies for dinner.
4) harvest when the food is perfectly ripe has to be my favorite reason home gardens are wonderful.

In thinking about the above list let me add some things for you to consider.  

We do not need to let our home grown plants
 get the size of store bought. 

 We are so lucky to be able to harvest our food when it is young and tasty.

If you wait for your produce to get as large as store bought
 you'll miss out on the yummy taste that is possible.

Here are some examples:
Peas as soon as formed are better than large peas
lettuce cut from the outside of a plant, leaving the plant to keep growing is tender and sweet
Bush beans are wonderful when only 4 inches long
Carrots are sweet and tasty when not too old
Spinach collected a few small leaves at a time make perfectly heavenly salads
Beet greens taken young are very tender as is kale and chard leaves.
Zucchini is perfect at 6 inches long
beets that are the size of golf ball roast in the oven so nicely

Some plants that do need more time to be fully grown are
winter squash
storing onions

They each have signs that show they are ready to eat.
Potatoes need to bloom and die down

Garlic needs to have some warmth to form a bulb 
and then they will dry to about 4 leaves left before harvest

Peppers can get bigger before harvest and be wonderful and juicy

Eggplant need some bulk to be good

Onions can be harvested small, med or large.  They need some dry weather and
the greens to die them over when the onions decide to flower.  

I think we all agree that tomatoes are better when they get red, 
or orange or yellow, anything
except green!

A very good habit to make is to walk through the garden every 
day when planning your evening meal.  
You will learn to eat from all that is in your home garden and become a garden Gourmet.

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