Melissa McGreggor’s Garden

Last summer we joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. This is basically a “share” of a local farm’s harvest for the season. We paid $375 to the farm in March so they got money to put into their crops early in the season, and we and picked up bags of fresh fruit, veggies, and flowers every Monday from Mid-May through October. Win-win! Here’s a picture of our first pickup. The amount of food we got doubled by the time summer was over.

Garden 1

We could have purchased all of the same fruits and veggies at the grocery store for about the same price and a little more convenience – like say only getting the veggies you know you like and being able to plan a menu for the week before picking up your food. But did you know that there is a huge difference between the bell peppers you get at your local supermarket and the bell peppers I got from Pahl’s farm?

For one, produce begins to lose nutritional value as soon as it’s harvested. So the sooner you eat it after this, the more nutrients you are getting. I.e. food that traveled days to get to the grocery store and then sits there for days before you buy it is much less nutrient dense than the food you will pick up at your local farm or farmers market. And quite frankly, if I’m going to be eating radishes instead of pizza, I damn well better be getting every last vitamin out of those bitter red bulbs to make it worth the sacrifice!

Also, the skins of fruits and vegetables are quite permeable, meaning they will soak up any pesticides (bug killers) or herbicides (weed killers) used on or around them. Commercial farming uses many more, and much worse-for-you, chemicals than you will find in a small, local, operation.

Disclaimer – while I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject, I’ve not done a ton of detailed, science-y research on this so I can’t speak to it with the conviction I would like to while putting my values in writing for anyone to see and judge. BUT. I really don’t think that this crap can be good for us. Between all of the pollution we breathe in on a daily basis, all of the chemicals we use to clean with, all of the junk we ingest, our bodies are working super hard to filter the crap and keep us healthy. It just doesn’t make sense to me to knowingly put a POISON, like a bug killer or a weed killer, into my body if I don’t have to.

Yes, I know, just because it kills beetles doesn’t mean it will kill me. I mean my wasabi pea dark chocolate bark (yes, it exists and it is ah-may-zing!) will kill my dog. And I know for a fact I can survive with plenty of it in my system. Like I said. I’m not a scientist. I know there is a heck of a lot more to this story that I’m unaware of. I’m just going on what logic tells me. Take my opinion for what it is.

So. Anyway. This is why we joined that CSA.

When Tyler and I bought this house we knew we wanted to plant a garden. Last year we were too busy doing necessary home and yard projects like painting (well, maybe just flipping through HGTV magazine to pick paint colors), learning how to grow grass and making the house look generally presentable to worry about the garden thing. But this year. WE. DID. IT!

Eh, well…really…Tyler. Did. It! And I took pictures.

The process involved removing an old section of dilapidated fencing and replacing it with a new fence and knocking down the overgrowth that was at one time a garden years ago, I believe.

Before

Garden 2

DuringGarden 3

And afterGarden 4

Then there was the tilling of the soil and then bringing in a truckload of leaf compost and more tilling.

Garden 5 
Garden 6

Then we just had to order and install the edging of the garden (I am rolling my eyes here. I was against this because of the additional cost and the fact that it really was unnecessary.)

Garden 7

But, it does look much nicer than it would have otherwise.)
Garden 7.5

And then, finally, we got to buy seeds and plants and go to town! Which is about all I had a hand in, other than playing iphone photographer just in case I wanted to tell the world about our garden one day. Thank goodness I thought ahead, you lucky, lucky people who get to read all about this!

Garden 8 
For real though, Its been so much fun coming home every day to check it out and see what’s happening (are the seeds sprouting, did that eggplant perk up, do we have any strawberries yet?? OMG its like Christmas every day!) By the way – weeding f-ing sucks. I hate it.

Within a few weeks we should have a mean green veggie and fruit producing garden! Yay.

One of the hardest things for me about trying to lose these last few pounds is the lack of variety in the food options I feel I must choose from. It was enough in the beginning to cut out junk food, count my calories, and call it a day. I still came home and cooked dinner the way I had always done, which is really important to me. The closer I get to my goal the more honed in on my diet I need to be.

Enter the garden! Now I’ll be forced to try new things. New recipes, new flavors, different combinations. It’s really the cooking I miss when I’m trying to lose weight, not so much any particular foods. So, this is a great option! I’ll get to try all sorts of cool new stuff, and I kind of have to use everything we’ll grow because if I don’t all the hard work we put in (Tyler put in) will be a waste.

I’ll be certain to share my favorite recipes. And you, people of the internet, please feel free to share any recipes you have found distinctly delightful (and fairly healthy) that include one or more of the following:
 

Beetsgraphic

Mesculin Greens
graphic

Onionsgraphic

Brussels Sprouts (don’t mind the weeds)graphic

Sweet Peppersgraphic

Hot peppersgraphic

Snow peas (and more weeds)graphic

Cucumbersgraphic

Squashgraphic

Strawberriesgraphic

Eggplant (if I can rescue it from those little black bugs)graphic

Herbs herbs and more herbs (plus dog who never went near the damn garden until we started showing interest in it and now won’t get the hell out)
Garden 9
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