In the Calgary Herald Thanksgiving weekend edition, there was an article that made me leap with joy, "Harvest Time in your Backyard". Christina Ryan makes me laugh as she writes about harvest and "acting strange". Yes, I too snuff my nose at other products at this time of the year than those that come out of a local garden, especially my garden.. I laughed at my son who after biting one of my garden fresh carrots, eagerly asked his wife to try the carrot and yes, he did get a very strange look!
Every year I plant a small garden with great expectations. Something wonderful about planning, buying news seeds and planting in the spring, then waiting for the garden to come to life. How exciting was to see the arugula seeds that I bought this winter in New Jersey come to life. The seeds grew vigorously but the larger they grew the more pungent the smell became. How can I best describe the smell, skunk like ! We certainly do not experience this smell in the packages of baby arugula, although there is a bitterness to the leaves.
Since living in the foothills, every spring I have planted tomatoes with great expectations. Once again only a hand full of sun ripen tomatoes was harvested this fall. Not to mention, a few of my ripen tomatoes in the potted pots on my deck were eaten by my wheaten terrier. The evenings in Calgary are just too cool to have a bomber crop of tomatoes.
Calgary growing season is known to be a short one. My winter garden experience did not fair too well, I eagerly planted an assortment of seeds based on researching this and also remembering my father's success in fall planting of radishes and lettuce in a sandy sunny area. I planted carrots, peas, beets, spinach, lettuce , only to have sparse growth of beets, carrots, spinach and lettuce. I remember seeing our husky lying in the garden and also digging in that area, which could have caused this strange germination. The problem with this planting I found it was that it was difficult to weed before the plants germinated and by then the weeds had taken over.
Most of my perennials herbs have been thriving well for the last couple of year, the Greek Oregano, Thyme, winter onion, chives, Sage and French Tarragon. For some reason my thyme plants did not survive last winter.
I did preserve the French tarragon in white wine for the Bernaise sauce that my husband like to make for steak.
The Rosemary and Lavender that thrived in the summer on my patio are now in my Kitchen.
For some reason, I have not been successful growing Dill Weed in this province. This year, determined to have fresh dill and not have to buy huge bundles of dill, I sprinkled all my packages of left over Dill Weed seeds and still had very scrawny, stunted plants.
However, I did preserve the fresh dill from the farmer's market in butter. The dill stayed beautifully fresh and green in the butter for sauces or for simply tossing potatoes or vegetables.