How does your garden grow?

I love my garden, and have been known to spend several hours digging in the dirt on weekends… emerging in the dusk hours with mud streaked all over my arms and plant pollen dotting my hands. I did today, in fact.

My Garden - and Yes, that is a mooning gnome.

I do this for the chance to grow my own food – which is the coolest thing ever. Last night, our dear friends Jason and Juan came over for an Italian feast, part of which was my homemade pesto tortellini. The pesto was superb – and made from 2 bunches of my own backyard basil. It’s such a neat feeling to eat something that you lovingly grew yourself – and it’s cool to know that you’ve essentially made a meal that cost only the price of the seed packet and occasional waterings.

Thanks basil, for making a delicious pesto!

Here’s a small sampling of some other things I hope to be harvesting soon, beginning with tomatoes. The ones shown here are a cherry variety, called “Matt’s Wild Cherry.”. I also have a Roma plant (that’s the biggest plant in the image above), an heirloom Brandywine, and a striped variety called Tigerella.

Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes

I have about 9 cucumber plants, from the “burpless” variety (that always makes me giggle – you’d never think cucumbers would be something that would make you burp), to a Persian, to a “tendergreen hybrid”. They’re just now starting to grow, about the size of a baby carrot and covered with the funny little spikes.

Baby "Burpless" Cucumber

My strawberries are hanging in there, and I was excited today to see one tiny little green berry. Strawberries don’t seem to do well in the San Fernando Valley, or maybe I’m just making that up, because I guess 40 minutes north in Ventura County is the strawberry growing capital of the world. Maybe I’m just not cut out for strawberry plants.

Little Green Strawberry

And last but not least, a favorite of mine… ARTICHOKES! This massive plant started from a tiny seedling I bought at the farmer’s market for $1. Now, it’s easily one of the biggest plants in the yard, and as you can see, loaded with artichokes.

Don't choke up over the beauty of my artichokes.

Some of the other goodies I have growing that aren’t shown include yellow squash, zucchini, green onions, green peppers, hot peppers, yellow corn and chocolate mint. I can’t wait for the days I spend digging into the vines and rummaging among the thickly-scented tomato leaves for ripe fruit. Should be about a month and a half and I’ll be posting pictures of my harvest. You better believe there will be some great food porn images then!