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May 2004 Issue
A Kitchen Garden Saves Time and Money
by J. Sinclair
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I love this time of the year. I start getting excited and every free moment is either spent in the dirt or at the garden store. I’m excited because May is the month in which I plant my garden.

Now, when I say “garden” please don’t get an image of acres upon acres of lush greenery, flowers and the like. My garden is very quaint … and that means small! But in my tiny garden, I manage to plant a couple stately eggplant bushes, some cherry and plum tomatoes, my favorite variety of basil, a few bushes of green beans and even a small row of radishes. The edges of the garden are framed in a collection of day lilies, roses, daisies and herbs. It’s a great source of joy for me … and throughout the season also a source of fresh food for the table.

Even if you don’t have a small plot of earth to make into a garden, you can still take advantage of growing some of your own produce. Tomatoes and herbs, especially, like to be grown in containers and are happy to grow and mature on a deck or patio.

I like to fill my garden with a variety of plants. Some are more ornamental than practical – like my daisies. Others perfume the garden and add color – like my roses. Still others manage to fill many shoes. Some of the plants in my garden are started from seed every year. Others are planted as small starter plants and still others are perennials that come back on their own year after year. I recommend starting small and finding out what you like and what grows well for you and building on that foundation. Gardening can be a fun and rewarding hobby for nearly anyone. And if that’s not enough to get you in the spirit, here’s a great recipe that has me pampering tomato plants year after year!

 

Fresh from the Garden Tomato Salad

Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator! They end up mealy and tasteless when they reach low temperatures.
  • 2-3 large, ripe tomatoes – preferably Roma or another fleshy variety
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
Slice the tomatoes ¼-inch thick and arrange in a single layer on a serving plate. Sprinkle generously with the salt and pepper. Mix the olive oil and vinegar together and drizzle over the tomatoes. Serve at room temperature – do not chill!
  • Yields: 3-4 appetizer servings
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
 



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