What I know about growing vegetables

Each Sunday now, our family heads out to the farm to collect a basket of herbs, veg and yummy homemade biscuits. (And there’s also usually fudge, but I secretly eat it all, so shhh…)

Since we joined Prairie Gardens’ Community Supported Agriculture program, we have eaten a lot of delicious new foods and I have learned a whole bunch about growing vegetables. Here are three cool things I have learned so far.

1. Parsnips are best in the spring

Spring parsnips were one of the first veggies we got from the farm and they are huge and very sweet. They need to be frozen to be sweet, which is why the spring ones are best.

I know all about parsnips now because along with our baskets each week, we get recipes and tip sheets. So besides learning all about what grows when, I am getting some neat facts – like that ancient Romans ate parsnips instead of meat at Lent. It’s a parsnip fact.

2. Don’t overstuff your planter

Growing vegetables violas in planterI do this to my tiny garden every year too – I cram every little space with seedlings without thinking ahead a few weeks to when they have all grown into each other. I try to pass it off as a cottage garden look, but really I’m just overexcited.

This year, during our welcome potluck all the CSA families planted containers with herbs and veggies. I dug in some basil, sage, a tomato, cucumbers for the baby, two kinds of violas because they’re so pretty and some frilly kale (I actually didn’t mean to plant the kale but in the flurry of things…)

When I got it home I had to scoop the cucs to another planter and then the basil to give everything enough room. I will really try to be more restrained next year.

3. Grow lots of herbs

Growing vegetables watermelon mint

I have been experimenting a lot with new flavours and have been adding herbs to everything I make. We just have so many mugs and jars of beautiful herbs around the kitchen all the time now. This week, I’m working away on a big bouquet of dill.

My greatest success so far has been very simple watermelon salad with chopped chocolate mint. A big hit on a hot day.

And we’ve just begun the summer – by the end of September when we’re gorging on corn and pumpkins I’ll know so much more. Plus, I’ll get a chance to work in the CSA gardens soon and learn a whole bunch more about growing vegetables. Keep you posted.