Last year I had planted a few ground cherry seeds in the gaps in the asparagus bed. I only got a few ground cherries, and as an experiment last fall, I buried them near the plants. It worked. Now there are several more plants, and I plan to repeat planting the ripe berries this fall to see if I can get some more plants. I have previously thought it was a perennial but apparently not in my zone. However, it does self-seed if I leave a few fruits and is pretty tough, so I am looking forward to establishing them as a regular, low-maintenance garden crop!
Remember the knitted wasp nest decoy? The designer is friend and neighbor Robin (pssst, she has a blog too, and it’s fun). She invited me to go along with her to a garden party and tour last weekend, and we had a great time. Organizer Megan Cain is a blogger (hint: read her excellent blog), book author, and gardening teacher. Megan hosted a potluck in her yard where we got to see the front yard vegetable garden she has started at her new home, and then we carpooled to four other gardens filled with delicious and thriving vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The focus of the tour was urban edible gardening, and I came home inspired and full of ideas.
While spring time is full of promise and excitement for gardeners, it has also been an anxious time for me as I struggle to figure out what I can manage and why that never feels like what I have. Megan wants us (me!) to have a garden that feeds both body and soul, and after what I learned on the tour, I will be leaving that spring anxiety behind from here on. This fall I’ll be growing more in the cold frame, and in 2015, editing the many parts of our garden. Some plants need to be in different places to grow well and not make me crazy, and I have some new weed-busting strategies. Before I switch topics, I also need to plug the Savvy Gardening blog which is awesome, very practical, and very informative.
A month or so ago, my upright freezer started to fail after 15 years of faithful service. I’m only glad I noticed when it went from very cold to a little cold and before it got to not cold at all. I purchased a 7 cubic foot chest freezer, and I love it. The upright was significantly larger but almost always had a lot of unused space. I am packing the new freezer tightly with grated zucchini from my one prolific plant, roasted tomato sauce, freezer jam, pesto cubes, farmer’s market meat, assorted grocery store stuff, and some partly prepared meals.
For years, I’ve been thinking I should use the freezer more to make weeknight meals easier but hadn’t done much more than freezer extra chili and spaghetti sauce. Now I am using two great books, Don’t Panic–Dinner’s in the Freezer and its sequel, by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia. These books make it very simple for me to prepare more than one meal at a time, cook one for immediate eating, and package the rest for the freezer. If you are interested in eating home-cooked more often but need some help with reducing your prep time, I encourage you to take a look.