Native plant gardening is lots of fun. I love seeing the butterflies, lizards, and birds partaking of the garden. Still there is something about getting “free” food from the backyard that is really special. Of course it isn’t exactly free with buying the seeds or plants, and then watering, weeding and caring for them. Anyway, it seems like it is free when I go out to pick the lettuce for our dinner salad. So today I thought I’d share a recipe that I made with the Swiss chard from my garden.
The recipe is Heidi Swanson’s Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens. By the way, my daughter got me Swanson’s amazing cookbook, Super Natural Cooking for my birthday and I really like it. Many of the recipes are simple and they taste delicious. Now back to the beans and greens.
I suppose I should start with dirt. I dug the dirt for my new vegetable garden on September 13, 2009.
The challenge was to figure out how to plant a small garden in the sunny area near the back door for convenience, but also to ensure that it did not get “watered” by my dog, Milo. I thought of fencing it in, but am way too lazy to go out and buy a fence. In one of my posts about this part of the yard a reader suggested a keyhole garden:
O.K., so now I can’t resist a wild, out-there suggestion I’ve thought of trying. Because all the talk of ‘hardscape’ and veggies makes me think of a novel version of a raised bed but so much more ornamental. I ran across it while web-surfing (actually, I got caught in a serious cyber undertow…fun, though!). You may have already heard of ‘keyhole gardens’, but here’s the link: http://www.sendacow.org.uk/schools/africangardens/keyholegardens
I looked into it and fell in love with the idea. Then I modified it – completely. All I preserved was a very rudimentary raised, semi-circular bed, and the “just-do-it” spirit of those working in Africa.
Within days, I had a Milo-proof garden that has been producing Swiss chard, arugula, lettuce, chilantro, and mint for months.