So a little fun fact about me is that before going to law school I was not only working at Starbucks, but I also spent a fair amount of time volunteering at a local Las Vegas Orchard. I know that seems random in more than one way… the main way being how is there an orchard in Las Vegas. Most of the time people are like: “isn’t it just a desert out there? how does anything grow?” You’d be surprised though… a lot can grow out in that little desert.
My time at the orchard really helped me understand my relationship with food a bit more. I grew up like most American children… on a diet of processed foods and fast food delights! And while there is nothing wrong with eating these items every now and then, it does really skew your understanding of where food comes from and how to best utilize it. Working in the orchard, whether it was helping harvest honey from the bees, giving small tours, directing people on how to pick fruits from the tree, or helping make apple cider donuts, gave me a new spirit about food.
Fast forward to this past summer… that direction led me to attempting to grow my own food in my backyard. I started my garden in the spring in little containers on the porch. Some of the sprouts died with a late May snowfall, but a good amount of squash and broccoli sprouts survived. I then supplemented some of my seedlings with small baby plants from Home depot.
I bought a strawberry plant, some tomato plants, leeks, peppers, and peppermint plants. Eventually I transplanted my still living seedlings and the newer plants into my garden boxes. I made sure to add a great mixture of top soil into the boxes and some plant food stakes, even though the soil was already pretty good (full of worms too!!). I planted everything on May 26 and now I wanted to share how it’s been going!
After about 2 months I had nice juicy strawberries. These were the best strawberries I have ever eaten. Now I may be biased because I took care of the plants, but I promise you, they were amazing! I’m still waiting on the rest of the plants to be ready to harvest so here are some pictures of how things are looking right now. I have three types of tomatoes growing in the garden: big boy, beefsteak, and cherry. Here are two of the now five beefsteak tomatoes growing.
One of the plants that I transplanted were these green onions. I had a recipe that required green onions and instead of tossing the bottoms with the roots, I simply cut what I needed and planted the bottoms into the ground. Now they are huge! I cannot use them enough!
I decided to grow peas and carrots at the last minute. I bought seem seed packets and planted them the day I transplanted the others. At first the peas started to grow but the carrots were non-existent. Peas are climbing plants and man do they grow quickly. Because of bar prep I never found enough time to go and buy a proper trellis for the peas to climb, but I did have extra tomato cages so I put those in and the peas climber them quickly!
The most interesting items to watch grow are brussel sprouts (pictured above) and broccoli. I haven’t had actual vegetables grow out of these plants yet. But these plants look so nice!
Lastly I have squash, zucchini and cucumbers growing. Did you know cucumbers are climbing plants like peas? Me neither, but how cool! I am so excited to harvest the veggies off these plants!
Growing food isn’t easy and I know not everyone wants to do it, but it’s such a cool experience that everyone should at least try it. Growing your own food connects you with the food you consume. It connects you back to the earth and gives you a greater appreciation for those who mass grow our food. As summer gets closer to ending, I’ll post another blog with an update. But for now, my biggest take away is that until we really understand how our food grows and where it comes from, we don’t really appreciate it. And that’s not a place I want to be any longer.