Gardening Nerd

With all the enthusiasm of Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk when the new phone book arrived, I did a little happy dance when I saw the Territorial Seed Catalog in my mailbox!

Territorial Seed Catalog

My current work schedule makes it a rare event when I get to be the one to tend our garden. That, however, did not dampen my excitement at all as I turned the pages of seed porn.

There are so many kinds of everything. The choices are overwhelming! Bush or pole, heirloom or hybrid or graph. Do I want more disease resistance or larger fruit?

I used this catalog last year for our string beans, and only one of the three varieties really took off. Do I use the exact same type of high producing plant this year, or do I go for another in the same family but whose beans grow twice as long?

Needless to say, I got my gardening geek on. What fascinates me about growing food is you never know what is going to take off and what will spend an entire season to produce one undersized vegetable. You’d think it would be more predictable, but it is the unpredictability that makes it exciting!

The one vegetable that we are bound and determined to grow that has so far alluded us has been parsnips. They either don’t germinate or the germinate but seem to disappear between waterings. This winter we have had a few that have grown real leaves, and I’m all excited!

I didn’t even know parsnips existed until I lived in England. Being a poor college student, I would go the bargain veggie section of the store. They had one pound for £1 root veggies. In the bag I found two that were new to me: swedes and parsnips. It wasn’t until I returned stateside that I discovered that swedes are rutabagas (essentially a sweet turnip), but I loved them even when I had no clue what I was eating. I learned quickly that those albino carrots were delicious and worked really well in stews!

I’d love to grow enough parsnips that I would be willing to have a couple of them blend their flavors in the crockpot. With only a handful (at best) in a season, roasting is the only way to go to truly appreciate their delicious flavor. Fingers crossed that the parsnip gods are kind to us!

What food would you most like to grow? or What gets you jumping up and down excited?

8 thoughts on “Gardening Nerd”

  1. I really wish I could be a gardener. I really do. But everything green I touch seems to die. I guess I’m not a very good outdoor kind of person. My wife used to grow grapes in the backyard and those often turned out well. But since we’ve moved, we don’t have a yard anymore to grow things. Still, I wish I could somehow get that green thumb and grow food. I think there’s something satisfying about growing your own food.


    1. I am a killer of orchids, but food plants normally grow for me. I agree with you that it is incredibly satisfying to grow your own food: The taste of fresh off the vine is incredible anyways, but there is a flavor enhancer when it is your vine!


  2. ME? I’d love to have a little lemon tree and a lime tree. And an avocado tree would be paradise on top. Sadly, I don’t live in a climate where that is very feasible. Lucky you to live where you do, Tammy.


    1. Growing up, my grandparents had an avocado tree in their backyard. Back then, I didn’t like avocados. Now I would kill for that. My friend, Hillary, has a lemon and orange tree in her backyard, so I can get some fresh fruit off her trees. I am very spoiled!


  3. In theory, I’d love to grow anything. But my irrational fear and hatred of all things insect keeps it from happening. Well, that, and our townhome is technically a condominium and we don’t exactly have land to turn into a garden – it’s all pots on the deck. I did Ok with some plants and flowers out there this summer and our herbs did very well until it got so hot nothing could survive. But if I could get past those points, I think Steve’s completely right – there is something very satisfying about growing your own food and going right from garden to table.

    Speaking of food, remember that lentil soup you recommended? I used it to do last week’s Soup of the Week and gave you big ol’ shout-out today! Thanks for the suggestion – it was awesome!


    1. I know what it is like living in a condo and being space confined. I’m so fortunate that Hillary has donated part of her backyard!

      I’m not scared of insects as a whole, but when I have to get grasshoppers off the plants, I must admit I freak out a bit inside.

      Thanks so much for the BIG shout out on your blog! I’m glad you were inspired by the recipe and the soup you came up with sounds fabulous!


  4. We have a main road that runs behind our house, and the road dirt that we find in our windows from it keeps me from growing anything that we could eat. One year I grew tomatoes and green peppers in pots and they were pitiful. I would pick the veggies, display them in a bowl on the kitchen counter and throw them out when they rotted.

    Our dirt prefers perennials, and it is a Garden of Eden in the springtime. Minus the forbidden fruit, of course.


    1. What a shame that your previous growing efforts were not as hoped. Growing food just for display purposes isn’t motivating.

      Just think, only a couple of more months before your get to have all those spring blooms!


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