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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Joys of a Kitchen Garden

This beautiful parsley is from our garden. Some of it is from a store-bought parsley plant that's been growing here for a year and a half. Some of it is from parsley plants that grew from seeds that I sowed in the spring. All are raised organically.

Lots of food plants are totally impractical, given the amount of time and money they require compared to their yield. Don't even get me started on those blasted rats with fluffy tails (squirrels) that ate all of our spring/early summer tomatoes! Herbs are a wonderful exception to that. We had great luck this season planting seeds for cilantro, basil, and parsley. We also planted basil, parsley, rosemary, culantro, chive, and oregano plants. We've had a great yield from them. We're already planning what herb seeds to plant next year.

It's so rewarding to grow a "kitchen garden." Fresh, home-grown herbs are the perfect addition to your recipes and besides being healthier than chemically raised herbs, they're also so much tastier when harvested just before cooking. We use organic fertilizers and as little pesticide (also organic) as possible. Of course, when we harvest herbs to cook with, we have to soak them for a while to be sure there are no cute little inchworms clinging to the leaves.

In the case of the parsley, the only real "pest" it has is the Monarch butterfly caterpillar. They seem to like the curly parsley much more than the flat-leaf Italian parsley. One caterpillar will pretty much strip a curly parsley plant of its foliage; however, then it moves along and the plant typically regenerates. Sure, we could use poison to keep the caterpillars away or crush them when we find them, but isn't it worth sharing a little of our parsley to nourish the caterpillars that will become the amazingly beautiful Monarch butterflies soon?

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