|Italian flat-leaf parsley, zucchini and sage from our garden.|
|Italian flat-leaf parsley from our garden, my Grandmother’s gathering basket.|
One of my fondest memories is running through the large vegetable garden at my Grandparents’ house. Rows of corn hid us from view and we could spend hours out playing in the small stream that ran through their property catching water skippers in glass jars and then letting them go. When we needed a snack, we’d pick fresh peas off the vine and drink cold mountain spring water from the hose. Nothing tasted better on a warm summer’s day.
Considering it brought me so much joy in my childhood, I’m not sure why it took me so long to do my own vegetable garden. In California we have so many great farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores, I guess it just never occurred to me that I could at least have a mini version of my own. For whatever reason, I got the bug this season and began researching rooftop gardens.
I found a wonderful–certified organic–place near me in Los Angeles called “Two Dog Nursery“. The owner, Jo Anne, couldn’t have been nicer and was quick to provide advice on every aspect of the process. I highly recommend working with her if you live in the area (or within shipping distance) and are interested in starting your own garden. I know she offers classes for beginner gardeners and even hosts planting parties.–Sounds ideal for getting your children involved and interested in growing their own veggies.
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I went up to check on the garden this past weekend. The zucchini plant had grown extra large, almost overnight it seemed. I had already harvested some parsley and sage and I was removing tree leaves that had fallen in to the beds and just doing general maintenance. I moved the giant zucchini leaves to one side, inspecting the blossoms and making a mental note that I needed to try a zucchini blossom recipe I brought home from a friend in Italy. I wasn’t even looking for zucchini yet, so I practically jumped for joy when I discovered it. I yelled down for Alex to come see, insisting that she make the climb up. . .that it wasn’t enough that I just tell her about it. (Admittedly, she was never quite as excited as I was about it, but seemed happy that it had made me so happy.)
Later, Alex made a delicious zucchini and shrimp pasta for our dinner. She and I laughed when we got to talking and learned that each of us had inspected it as it was cut open, looking for signs that it was, indeed, like the zucchini we were used to. It just seems so miraculous when you get to have a hand in the process and to witness it all from beginning to end.—A tiny plant that grew so quickly and is now bestowing us with delicious, nutritious food. A reminder to me that with all our “conveniences” in this world, we may miss out on some of the best experiences in life. That appreciation and connection to nature–to the food we put in our bodies–is a gift that should be cultivated wherever possible.
I’m off to see if any new treasures await me!
Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
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