Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Garden, and Sheena Cucina Anniversary!

Here I am with my sunflowers in last year's garden. They grew to over twelve feet tall! 

Okay, I'm not even going to talk about how long it has been since I last posted a recipe. In my defence, I have not been cooking that much due to the heat. I have also been socializing when I feel well, actually going out in public to restaurants, bars, parties! (Oh my!) My life looks a lot different than it did a few months ago. I could get used to this!

Today is a special day for me, it is the anniversary of my first post for Sheena Cucina! To celebrate, I am going to try to get my butt in gear and start posting more recipes! Speaking of my life looking different...the difference between my life a year ago, and my life today is astonishing. If this is the kind of progress my health has made in a year, I can't even imagine what it will look like in the years to come.

Something that has changed for me a lot since developing allergies is my view of food and the food industry. I do not eat anything artificial; no preservatives, additives, or colouring. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible, and try to make as many of them local and organic as I can afford. I am a huge fan of the back-yard food movement, and over the past couple of years have developed quite a large vegetable garden. The idea of being self-sufficient and providing my own food is extremely appealing to me. I have learned that food is medicine, plain and simply. So I try to grow as much of it myself.

Golden Detroit Beets

In keeping with a local mindset, I purchase most of my seeds from an Ontario seed company called The Cottage Gardener. They have a wonderful variety of heirloom seeds to choose from, and I have had great success with these seeds. I can (and have) spent hours looking over their catalogue. Check them out, or try to find a local seed distributor in your area.

I started out small, and over the past few years I have increased the size of my garden. This year I am going to preserve some food for the winter by canning and freezing. I am also going to try to put some of my produce like squash, beets, and radishes into cold-storage in our basement.

Some of my veggies are a little late this year, I wasn't feeling great at the beginning of the summer so I couldn't get them in the ground as early as usual.  However, this year for the first time I am planting a second crop of some quickly-growing and cold-hearty veggies! In this crop there will be things like beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes and Swiss chard. What do you have growing in your garden this year?

Ronde de Nice Summer Squash
In my garden this year:

Beets: Golden Detroit, Chioggia, Bull's Blood, Cylindra
Beans: Contender Snap Bean
Carrots: Yellow, Purple, Red, White
Cucumber: Double Yield Cucumber
Fennel: Florence Fennel "Zefa Fino"
Kale: Black Tuscan Palm Tree, Russian Red, True Siberian
Lettuce: Buttercrunch
Onions: Green
Parsnips: Harris Model Parsnip
Peas: Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea
Pumpkin: Small Sugar Pumpkin
Purslane: Golden
Radishes: Black Spanish Round Radish, Cherry Belle, French Breakfast, Plum Purple, Ruby Red, White Icicle
Summer Squash: Black Beauty Summer Squash, Yellow Crookneck, Ronde De Nice Zucchini, Benning's Green Tint Bush Squash (a patty pan)
Spinach: Bloomsdale, New Zealand, Strawberry Spinach
Winged Pea/Asparagus Pea (not actually related to peas or asparagus)
Winter Squash: Buttercup, Waltham Butternut, Golden Hubbard

Mint: Peppermint, Mojito

Golden Purslane. Many consider it a weed, but it is delicious as a salad green!