The Back 40.

Last year I planted my first garden. I thought that was pretty neat. I had big plans on eating smarter again after spending 5 months eating almost nothing but hospital cafeteria food. So in the middle of June with visions of august meals, I planted three types of tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, cucumbers and summer squash. I didn’t know at the time that I would go on to spend the next 4 months eating nothing but a different hospital cafeteria’s food. Bummer.

All of the plants grew surprisingly well given my level of neglect. Had I watered them during the dryer weeks of the season we would have had fresh ingredients for a majority of the summer and late into the fall. Every plant grew large and fruitful but was never harvested. Alas, I let a lot of crops die on the vine but all of that dead fruit helped to fertilize the soil in that area. This year I am eagerly anticipating the growing season. I’ve done more yard work this spring already than I did last year and hope to continue that all year. I can’t wait to get the garden really going again. Next weekend the plan is to move my compost pile and turn the garden’s soil. Hopefully I’ll have enough of my own compost to hit all the areas but I’ll probably need to hit Benny’s for some fertilizer.

My father has a bunch of tomato plants for me that he grew from seed in the greenhouse. He also has some spinach plants and I’ll steal a few of those as well since spinach currently is the base of my lunch every single day at work. I’ll definitely go with green beans again since I love eating them and there were tons of them last year. But after that I am not sure what else I’ll be growing. I’m open to suggestions. I also have to find a place for my two gooseberry bushes. When I was a kid I used to make myself sick eating gooseberries in my nan’s yard and now I have a few bushes of my own from her yard. They’re still in buckets as we speak though and I’m not sure where I want them yet. Already got fruit on them though so that’s cool. Gooseberries were the crazy special ingredient on a recent episode on Chopped – also cool.

In the year before Karin was pregnant with Liam, she and I had each lost 50 pounds by exercising daily and eating all the right things (fresh, fresh, fresh and unprocessed) while staying away from all the wrong things (fast, processed foods). Then we had a child; and stress dictated diet more than anything else. We’re just now getting back on track. We both have been getting to the gym 5 days a week and the snacks in the house right now are limited to fresh fruit and greek yogurt. While last year I was glad I planted even if I didn’t end up harvesting, this year I am excited to create meals with my own produce. Right from my own garden.

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