Saturday, August 30, 2014

Edible Gardens

I joined a book club a few years ago but mostly attended for the companionship and less for the book selected. As the girls have gotten older and my reading is not based on which parenting tome might keep me one step ahead of them, I've enjoyed reading and contributing more than just wine and whine at our monthly meetings.

My next book club read is From the Ground Up by Jeanne Nolan. I finished reading it several months ago and was excited to learn that she was willing to come speak to us so I've volunteered to host September's club at my house.

One of the things that I miss most about having a yard with lots of sun is my garden. When we lived in DC I had put in a raised bed garden just off our kitchen. I loved coming home from work and getting down in the dirt to harvest what I had grown. It took a lot of work to turn what used to be a gravel driveway into a garden but we ate quite well all summer from our small plot. Our garden used to be at the very back of our yard but as more and more of our neighbor's bamboo encroached, we decided to move it altogether and re-sod.
I really wanted it more accessible to the kitchen so we started to tackle what had been an eyesore for several years.
Newly planted and brimming with lots of good things to eat including carrots, radishes, arugula, tomatoes, herbs, green beans, and flowers.

By August, it was in full bloom. This sunflower grew over the top of the fence and would greet me every afternoon when I came home from work.

 This was an interesting visitor to our tomato vine.
While I was excited to move to Chicago, leaving that garden behind still smarts. The fact that I cannot garden with my girls on a regular basis has been disappointing so I had put visiting the Edible Gardens at the Farm in the Zoo on our summer to-do list and today we finally got in a visit!

I love the juxtaposition of the garden with the city behind.
 Okra ready to harvest.
 The girls helped helped harvest a red pepper.

Kate loved the okra and ate several right off the vine.
Next up were carrots and beets.

The tomatoes were a hit with Lucy.
Kate took one bite and handed the rest to me.

With the addition of some kale, we had the makings of a nice salad for tonight.
These tiny cucumbers are used to make gherkins.
More okra...we couldn't keep her away from that and the basil.
The bell pepper didn't make it home either as both girls munched happily.
We learned a bit about composting.
 An okra flower.

What a wonderful day to spend a morning. We were still hungry after our veggie appetizers so we ended up across the street at the Green City Market for some lunch
and local peaches for the trip home.

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