Monday, August 2, 2010

My Magical Green Beans

My little backyard garden is a source of a lot of happiness. Today, I thought I would share some of my special gardening "secrets" with you. {cough, cough, giggle giggle}

First, I plant way too much stuff in too little space. I start with good compost-rich soil, but then I forget to ever fertilize and rarely weed. I water -- but in a lazy, distracted way.

My trick is to basically ignore the plants, allow children to trample them at will with their flip flops and soccer balls. And somehow despite all that, most of my little seedlings actually manage to grow. I am always sort of amazed when I root around out there and find things like zucchinis and jalapeno peppers.

This year, I really outdid myself in the overcrowding department. We've got:
  • 3 tomato plants (2 grape and 1 big boy)
  • 3 basil plants
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • Lots and lots of haricot vert (pictured above)
  • Thyme
  • 3 basil plants (pesto, pesto, pesto)
  • Lemon verbena (which is totally amazing --- hoping to have a lemon verbena tea recipe to share soon)
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Cucumbers (the tastiest, little thin-skinned things)
  • Zucchini
And that's not counting the lettuce, spinach and 2 varieties of snap peas I grew in my Earth Boxes in the spring.

Today, I found myself at the Home Depot filling my cart with arugula, Romaine, and Bibb lettuce seedlings for our fall salads. I need to exercise some self control.

So the truth is that I am no master gardener. But I can grow green beans in my backyard in the middle of Chicago and my three children devour every single one on their dinner plate.

Doesn't get much more magical than that.

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