All in Fruits & Vegetables
Yesterday my husband and I had a wonderful morning at the Mill City Farmer’s Market. I was asked to shop the market and create a simple meal from what we purchase. We meandered the aisles, chatting with vendors about the mushrooms in season, the best bundle of beets and how to create the best sourdough bread. We spent a couple hours taking it all in, stopping for breakfast to mull over meal ideas and finally filled our basket to the brim with stunning produce.
Herbs for me are perfect things to add in where there is a pocket of space, or where they can benefit the plants that need it the most. Herbs are perfect to grow amongst your vegetables, as they help with pest control. Herbs can actually mask the sent of your plants to pests, confusing them of the tasty vegetables' location. Some herbs actually improve the growth and taste of other plants. Basil actually helps tomatoes grow, and blue borage makes strawberries sweeter. How cute is that?
Asparagus and rhubarb are so bizarre to watch as they push their way out of the ground in the early spring. They seem to defy nature with the way they push through chilly soil, with rhubarb unfurling into big beautiful green leaves, and asparagus poking their bright, long stalks out of the ground, which I swear sometimes grow several inches overnight. Strawberries come with their own level of wonder, as bright, super sweet berries fill tiny little plants. I am so looking forward to how my perennial plants will grow and develop this season!
I am so excited about the onions and garlic I am growing this year! Garlic is a garden wonder I am so excited to keep working at. The fact that you stick them in the ground in the fall, and wait for them to make their way out of the ground in the spring is so amazing to me! I have also found that homegrown garlic and onions have a flavor unlike anything you can buy in the store. They also keep through the long and cold months of winter, making it so enjoyable to dig into the winter storage and still use something fresh from the garden.
Kale, cabbage and broccoli are still new vegetables to me as far as growing them in my garden beds. This patch of my garden will be a lot of testing and learning this year, and I am so excited about it!
In past seasons, I considered greens to be a garden staple, and grew the most basic cut-and-come-again lettuce and butterhead lettuce. After having enjoyed a few salads while traveling in Europe, I realized that the world of salad greens is vast and full of various textures, flavors, colors and forms. I am excited to branch out this growing season and try out a range of different greens.
Root vegetables are my favorite to grow, and I grow ALOT of them:) I love the surprise of pulling a vibrant radish or beet out of the garden. I am in awe of how stunning the colors can be, fresh from the garden soil. Roots are also perfect to grow as they can be harvested at almost any growth stage - young, crisp beets and carrots are perfect in spring, while full-sized, earthly and rich roots make excellent fall and winter dishes. Root vegetables also benefit from a touch a frost, making their earthly flavor a touch sweeter. This makes them perfect to grow here in Minnesota, as our growing season is so short, and frost is bound to happen early in the fall.
For me, green beans are a garden staple, something you must grow if you are a backyard gardener. They are high yielding and just about everyone loves garden-fresh green beans. Peas on the other hand were a new vegetable to me when I first started gardening. I mean, of course I have had a bag of frozen peas from the grocery store, but I had never had a crisp, sweet fresh-from-the-pod pea. They are now a must grow for me, and are given a hefty space within my garden bed. So excited to share the pea and bean varieties I am trying out this year!