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Gardening – My Other Escape

Ah, springtime! When mens’ fancies turn to…digging in the dirt? Growing food?

Well, mine do, anyway. With my various other projects – rebuilding the edge of my deck, working on songs for the new album, dialing for gigs – I’ve been a bit delayed and distracted from my usual spring planting.

It looks like this will be the weekend when that changes for me. I was out first (or second) thing this morning, to collect my semi-annual three bags of compost from our municipal waste folks. Our arrangement is that I give them all the greenwaste that I don’t compost myself every week, and several times a year, they give me shit right back. πŸ™‚ Three bags of it, all ready to help little things to grow. πŸ™‚

After that, I got back in the car and headed down to Orchard Supply (OSH), to see what they had by way of vegetables. They must have seen me coming – they had a mini-garden center set up in the parking lot:

They were ready for me!

Of course, my hands were full of vegies and a roll of weed mat before I went into the store!

By the time all was said and done, I’d accumulated the following goodies:

  • Orchid food, for the free orchid I got back after the holidays at work
  • A six-pack of bush beans
  • Three different heirloom tomatoes – Mortgage Lifter, which I’ve been hearing about for years, Russian Orange (new to me), and Sweet 100 (because I like cherry tomatoes)
  • Three full-grown strawberry plants in a pot – to fill in around my fruit trees where I have spaces
  • An Ancho Poblano pepper, so I can do salsa later in the summer
  • A pair of Mud gloves. These are like kitchen gloves on steroids – hardy enough to stand up to digging in the dirt, but hopefully sensitive enough for those planting and weeding tasks I’d previously been doing bare-handed, because the leather work gloves I already have are way too coarse, and I can’t feel a thing through them.

So now I have all these plants, that I need to find homes for and take care of. It’s sort of like puppies in that way – I can’t just let them sit around the house until they die of neglect. As it’s now noonish, I’ll leave them where they are until around 4 and plant them then – it’s better not to expose them to the harsh noonday sun right when you transplant.

Several of them are in a new biodegradable type of pot, similar to peat. The roots are growing right through the walls. I figure I’ll just slash the sides of the pots and put them in whole; that way the roots will have more ways out and I won’t have to disturb the roots on those plants to put them in.

And then I get to figure out what I can do with them when they grow up.

September is Salsa Time!

I just finished making my first batch of salsa for the year:

photo of salsa made at home

Fresh Salsa!

I do this every year, generally along the time I have enough tomatoes to do it. This year, I happened to have all the *other* ingredients around the house as well, so it qualifies as “garden salsa.” And *that’s* something I’m very proud of – that I can create this out of plants I’ve grown myself.

I *did* have to cheat a little bit. I didn’t quite have enough left of my last onion, and the pepper I had looked a bit anemic. So I went down to the corner market and got another onion and another pepper. But everything else comes from my garden, organically-grown.

If you want to try this yourself, here’s my recipe:

  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 peppers – I use one jalapeno, or a jalapeno and a milder pepper. If you like the heat, add more and hotter peppers.
  • 1 medium to large onion – I prefer purple
  • 6 large tomatoes, or equivalent
  • juice of 1/4 lime

I put each ingredient in turn into my food processor and turn it on high until the ingredient is thoroughly shredded. Then I add the next ingredient, top to bottom on the list. The tomatoes get blended in partly on medium, partly on high.

You can, of course, add or modify ingredients to this, depending on how hot you like your salsa, what types of vegetables you have, etc. But it’s a relatively fast and simple recipe that almost anyone can use.

Bon appetit! πŸ™‚ I’m serving this with some Trader Joe’s unsalted corn tortilla chips and a rum ‘n Coke Zero, with another bit of that lime squeezed in.