Food gardening is harder than ornamental gardening, in my opinion. There is little leeway as to when to plant something for a successful harvest. And then you have to be ready to use or prepare for storage the fruits and vegetables at the exact moment they are ready to harvest. Each year I get better at it, but there’s a lot more for me to learn.
To help me along the learning curve is a recently published book by authors Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman called The Four Season FarmGardener’s Cookbook: From the Garden to the Table in 120 Recipes (Workman Publishing). Like collecting plants, I find books irresistible. Admittedly, I haven’t read every gardening-related book on my bookshelves, but that doesn’t stop me from acquiring more. This book was given to me to review and I’m pleased with the practical content, the photos and the tone of the book, which is helpful for the blossoming “farmer” I hope to become.
Starting with how to create good soil, the authors help the reader nourish the Earth and subsequently the themselves. There’s advice on what crops to grow (Note: in the maritime Northwest, The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide by Seattle Tilth is indispensible for choosing appropriate crops); how to layout the garden to maximize crop production, whether you have space for a small or larger garden; and how to care for your crops. Then—and this is the really fun part—there are recipes for using your freshly picked crops!
With the cooler than normal weather we’re having at the moment, the Fish Soup with Tomatoes and Fennel sounds so fantastic I am going to give it a try this weekend (even though I didn’t plant any fennel and it’s way too early to have home-grown tomatoes).
To learn more, co-author Barbara Damrosch will be speaking at Powell’s Books at the Cedar Hills Crossing store (3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton) on Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m.