When I was younger, I planted pole beans, squash, and strawberries all around our house. Nothing did that well because the canopy blocked out most of the sun. My great grandparents had land in California where they would grow grapes, cherries, squash, peppers, and a lot more. My other grandma planted fifteen tomato plants one summer and installed a greenhouse in her backyard. I guess, we are a family of small farmers – the kind that grow the necessary herbs and vegetables. On my great grandparents property, there was even a small shed where they kept all their canned food after the growing season, so they could enjoy their produce year-round. I hope that being around so many people who knew something about the land will rub off – I just found out that I got a community garden plot for the growing season!
On Saturday, there was a compost workshop in the gardens (which are right behind our apartment). I spent the afternoon talking to the neighbors and turning the compost piles. The neighbors are looking to transform the wooded area behind our apartment into a permaculture farm, complete with fruit-bearing trees. There is a bee keeping box that got its start this spring, chives that grow like weeds, and poppies that spill out onto the walkways.
I learned the neighbors by name – from the guy with all of his plants in the window to the one with the big house cut into puddingstone. We walked around the gardens and they were nice enough to share their knowledge about the best place in the neighborhood for a summer picnic, where to find fresh raspberries, and the story of how the gardens came to be. After Saturday, the neighborhood feels like it’s filled with more meaning.
I am sitting down this week to plan out which herbs and vegetables we are going to plant, but this time, I’m not eighteen years old trying to grow strawberries in the shade. I feel more certain. More honest about my limitations in the garden and where I can lean on the knowledge of other gardeners.
I can’t wait to see how the garden grows and changes this summer. Some of the other gardeners, who have been there as long as ten years, have their plans done well in advance. Some plots are already showing signs of growth. Ours is mainly just soil now, but I can’t help but wonder, if all of our plots are a reflection of where we’re at in life. I hope ours fills up with the same kind of passion that permeates our mid-twenties.
-Pumpkin Seed & Hazelnut Butter-
I’ve always had an affinity for homemade butters. I started by making peanut butter when I was a teenager and it’s been going ever since. I love this pumpkin seed & hazelnut butter as a snack – spread on crackers, toast, or an apple. Sometimes I get home from work and I need a little something to hold me over. I know that alternative butters can be expensive in the store and even when you make them at home. I was really inspired by this post about homemade nut and seed butter from Green Kitchen Stories. Not only did I like their recipes (still need to try the maple turmeric nut butter), but I was really appreciative of their tip on how to make those expensive/rarer nuts go a long way. Add seeds!
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2-3 pinches coarse sea salt