Even though this is not a recipe, this is such an essential for anyone to have during the summer: a summer garden. Whether you live in the tropics or the cold north like Canada, it is such a learning experience to have a garden at home, and gives you such an appreciation for produce. There are so many reasons to start a garden, and I will try and address the main reasons why my family has a garden in our backyard.
It doesn’t matter whether your backyard is small or large; you can start small and go big. My mother started with a small herb garden with some rosemary sprigs and a few parsley. Just moving to Canada from warmer North Carolina, we were still unfamiliar with the weather, but what people don’t really know about Southern Ontario is how fertile the land is. The Niagara region, which isn’t too far from Oakville, is one of the most fertile parts of Canada with such a temperate climate relative to the rest of Ontario. Thankfully, we too can enjoy some of this climate starting in spring; however, we did not start the garden until mid May because whatever you do, you can’t escape the isolated early spring Canadian chill.
This year we grew a lot of tomatoes. You name it: Cherry, Heirloom, Roma, and Globe. Once they started ripening, everyday we would pick a fresh batch of tomatoes and they would be gone the next day.
Every night my mom goes into the garden and picks up a fresh batch of tomatoes, they are sweet, juicy and make it into all my salads, sauce and soup recipes. You can certainly taste the difference. I guess whenever you put in the work for something, the results are far more rewarding.
The first to be harvested were the lettuce and spring onions which where out and about after the first three weeks they were planted and boy did my mom and sister have many many omelettes and stir-fries. I just stuck to the lettuce wraps.
We have had a few potatoes, green pepper, habanero peppers and zucchini, but we are still waiting on some onions, a few more zucchini, green pepper and green beans.
We have also had our fair share of failures. Unfortunately, our kale did not make it. We just didn’t plant it early enough and wasn’t hydrated enough.
Certainly if you make the decision to start a plant based diet, starting a garden is a really great way to get connected with your food and really have a great appreciation for produce and all the fruit and vegetables that we are so lucky to have. You definitely learn a lot more about many different vegetables beyond their nutritional facts and have a better appreciation of the work that farmers, especially local farmers, put into producing the organic, local produce we all love to support. If you are into organics without the hefty price tag, this is also a great way to save on your favourite staples. Learning to love food and appreciate what you put in your body can start by planting your first seed and nurturing it till it is ready to make its way to your many delicious summer recipes.