For most of the month of February it was hot and dry here on the Front Range (eastern side) of the mountains. We had whole weeks where the daytime temperatures were 60 degrees and above. I am a gardener and this raises all sorts of issues inside me. I worry about having enough precipitation to keep things alive... and on the flip side I start thinking I should get things planted because hey! it is 75 degrees out today - in the middle of February! Patience right? So I am reading and researching instead. Last summer we dug up the last of the compacted and practically dead grass in the back yard and my garden has doubled in size. I am thrilled and overwhelmed at the same time at the prospect of expanding the variety of what I grow because along with that comes maintenance and new pest issues. I really want to grow pop corn but we have some amazingly large Raccoons around here. I am definitely growing beets and am giving Kale another try even though last year my crop was overtaken by aphids. So why am I rambling on about this? I have finally found a gardening book that is concise and doesn't burst my bubble when I want to attempt to grow new things. The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch is my new bible! I don't honestly know how I have lived without it but all I can say is Game On! We are eating well this year from our garden. When I am not doing deep research on planting, I am finally reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver who is my favorite author hands down. The quote on the back of the book sums it up:
"This is the story... of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air."
I am inspired and maybe a bit overly ambitious since I don't live on a farm. But I believe this is going to be a great year for learning to be more self-sufficient, utilizing what tools and resources we have near and eating better because of it. My son also turns 4 next week and I am so thrilled to get him involved in the process of growing his own food. Besides, let's face it: vegetables just taste better straight from the garden.
Do you have any suggestions for what I should grow? Recommendations for an exceptionally hardy variety or something that you can taste on your tongue at the mere mention of a summer garden? Share! Share!