I believe that, at least once, everyone should try his or her hand at gardening. Personally, I used to be wary of keeping plants. I was your typical houseplant killer. I would somehow procure cute little green houseplants and would inevitably, without fail, forget to water them. I would then eventually end up tossing their shriveled, dry little carcasses out with the trash and then employ the pots for other uses, such as pencil holders or an odd-and-ends catchall. Recently I again tried my hand at houseplant maintenance in my office at work. That experiment ended when a coworker informed me that the droopy plants in dire need of attention in my office did little to inspire confidence in my abilities to care for others (namely people), thus, those plants found their way out of my office into my compost bin. I’ve accepted that I do not have a great enough appreciation for houseplants to be able to enter into a long-term relationship with one. The occasional bouquet is enough inside greenery to keep me happy. Gardening, however, is a whole different matter.
I started my love affair with gardening last spring when a friend of mine built a raised garden in my front yard for me. Now, one year later, my gardening endeavors have expanded into larger plots that run the length of the south and west facing sides of our cottage. You do not need large plots of land for gardening. Heck, you don’t even need a yard. One can easily start a windowsill garden in window or a container garden on a small balcony or patio. Gardening is accessible to all.
I love gardening because it is my belief that gardening is an exercise in consciousness, an act of sustainability … it promotes stewardship, a love for what is natural, and it inspires us to be less wasteful. By nurturing food from seed to plate, we develop a close, personal relationship with what we eat. We can then appreciate food in its simplest of forms for its unique and wonderful flavors, which inspires us to eat food in as close to its natural state as possible rather than eating food that has been manufactured in a lab and is full of chemicals, preservatives, corn syrup, and ingredients that we cannot pronounce. We are also reluctant to throw away any part of what we have nurtured and sown, which promotes us to be more aware of our resources and to utilize all of what we have rather than mindlessly allowing food to rot and end up in the trash. Additionally, gardening increases our awareness of natural processes and systems. We are then more likely to compost trash to create rich soil for our garden, thus completing the cycle from earth to seed to fruit to plate back to the earth. I believe that gardens help to make our world a better place by improving our lives through healthy eating and more positive environmental practices, which, in turns, help us to make this planet a better place for others.
Currently, I’ve got a number of things growing in my garden: oregano, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, black beauty eggplants, Japanese eggplants, ancho peppers, habanero peppers, flavorburst peppers, zucchini, watermelon, and yellow cherry pear tomatoes. The tomato plant, far and away, has been the most productiveve member of my garden. We’ve had a seemingly endless supply of deliciously sweet tomatoes for the past few months, which has inspired great creativity in how to make use of all of those tomatoes. Our most recent tomato concoction was yellow pizza sauce. I love home made pizzas with freshly made dough, and we topped these particular pies with the sauce, sliced peppers, sliced mushrooms, and slices of Field Roast Grain Meat Co. sausages.
Yellow Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
5-6 cups yellow cherry pear tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Basil leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, whole and skins intact. Cover the pot and sauté over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover, and use a potato masher to smash the tomatoes. (I like to leave some whole). Add the garlic, basil (to your taste), and salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy!