Wednesday, April 20, 2011

To grow your food is to know your food

...I think I just quoted a Wendy's commercial.

But no matter.

It's true!

Growing your own food is such a tasty and rewarding experience. All my years growing up, I picked oranges and grapefruit from the trees out back for breakfast. I shucked sweet corn in the backyard and brought it in for dinner. I carefully guarded my strawberries from those pesky birds. And yes, all of this was in the desert of Arizona.

You see, though I grew up in AZ, my dad will always be an Iowa farm boy at heart. So of course he had to plant a garden each year, wherever he was! In fact I'm pretty sure I was the only kid in Arizona who had towering stalks of sweetcorn in my backyard. And boy, were those other kids missing out.

When I was in AZ for Creative Estates, I got to loot his garden once again. It's still early so the late spring and summer crops weren't full-grown yet, but they were working on it!

Dad's garden (14)

You can see that it's not very tall yet, but give it a couple weeks and everything will be exploding with growth!

Of course some things won't grow very big...

Dad's garden (11) least not above ground. These bright green leaves are the tops of carrots! Aren't they pretty?

Dad's garden (4)

Of course we can't forget the corn. These little guys are only a foot or two tall now, but soon they'll be reaching up to the sky.

Dad's garden (3)

I think this plant might be my favorite. Yes ladies and gentlemen, those are Brussels sprouts! They grow on a big, long stalk, with huge leaves fanning out on the top. Then you just pop off the sprouts when they're big enough!

Dad's garden (10)

The baby spinach was coming in nicely. I snagged some of this to bring home to cook with!

Dad's garden (8)

The beginnings of what will become a giant bush of a tomato plant. The cage around it helps the vines have some support when the fat, juicy tomatoes try to weigh it down.

Of course, the best thing about all this home-grown goodness is that everything is so wonderfully fresh. For a huge cook and foodie like myself, just-picked-fresh produce is heaven!

This year is the first summer that I have a deck, even if it is a bit measly. They're hard to come by in Chicago so any deck at all is a great find! I can't wait to start planting my own small garden. I'm hoping to have basil and tomatoes, both which grow well in large pots. We'll probably also throw in a smaller herb garden, maybe some chives and dill? I'm holding off for another week or two for the weather to get out of this rainy/snowy/slushy/windy mess before I plant, but I'm definitely beginning to get the itch.

Summer can't come fast enough!

Dad's garden (13)


  1. This is wonderful! I take for granted my large yard. I don't have the greenest thumb but I am wanting to plant an earth box with some herbs and veggies.

  2. wow soo pretty! we grow green onions in our yard!!

  3. That is sooo awesome I have posted a couple brussel sprout recipes on my blog and actually posted a picture of the plant on there it is so dang neat!! I love your blog by the way! You and me have alot in common and you are so pretty :D Thanks for being inspiring!

  4. So fun! I hope to have a yard some day where we can do some of our own gardening. Right now, we're stuck with herbs in a flower pot. haha

  5. wow! i'm so jealous of your dad's garden! we had a little one on the side of the house last year with bell peppers, tomatoes & herbs. this year i'll have to make do with window boxes full of basil {if it ever stops snowing long enough for me to plant them!}

  6. HUZZAH, this is such a lovely post! My husband spent hours designing and tending our garden last summer, it was so rewarding (and delicious!).

  7. Katie - you have such fun information! It was so fun to see your folks - next year you have to join us at the fish fry!

  8. We'd love to start a garden! My in-laws have a huge one and we enjoy their produce in the summers. You can't beat the taste :)

  9. beautiful! i don't garden but these pictures were just so fun to look at.

  10. Marianne Berhow said

    I really enjoyed your garden blog. I can relate to the idea, once a farm girl or boy always a farm girl, as I have had a garden for over 55 years. As I'm getting a "bit" older, I say I'm not going to have a garden next year, but spring comes and I'm planning one again. Now I only have tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, peppers, parsley, cherries and gooseberries. Still in Iowa.

  11. Aren't gardens great! Do you have room in Chicago to grow some veggies? Brussel sprouts are my 12 year old's favorite! He is growing them in his little garden this year.