Edmonds Healthy Eating: The joy of growing your own food

Blooming chive

We are starting to see lots of new sprouts emerging from the ground in our garden. The raspberries are leafing out and the strawberries are waking up. I just used the last bag of frozen green beans from last year’s crop. I still have a few bags of organic berries in the freezer. (If you want some send me an email and I will give you the details!)

My kale, fennel and Swiss chard overwintered and are so happy to see the sun. Just before the kale went to flower, I picked it and made a garlicky saute with it. The Swiss chard and fennel are happy still in the ground. The purple flowers on the chives are about to burst.

This is an exciting time for any gardener. Having lived in New England for nearly two decades, it’s an absolute thrill to be able to plant my seeds and starts before Memorial Day! My love of growing my own food has grown exponentially since I moved to Edmonds almost 17 years ago.

With a little planning, anyone can grow food. A few years ago I worked at a local food bank as a Master Gardener. My project was to give out free seeds and help the clients figure out how they could grow their own food. It doesn’t matter where you live as long as you have a small outdoor space and some sun exposure. If you don’t have that, there are many herbs that you can grow as house plants inside. Otherwise you can plant herbs, greens, peas and beans in large pots on a balcony or deck. If you are lucky enough to have a yard, consider covering some of your lawn with cardboard to kill off the grass, then turn the soil, add some amendments and plant a small garden. You will be surprised and delighted with the things that you can enjoy from your own backyard or balcony.

There is nothing healthier and tastier than a fresh pea or green bean. They hardly need cooking and the taste is the best. With herbs you can add a quick taste of freshness to any dish. I enjoy making flavored vinegars with my herbs as well. Just take white vinegar, heat it up and add any herb to the warm vinegar. Let it rest in the refrigerator for about a month. Then strain out the herbs and you have an easy and flavorful vinegar for salad dressings. One of my favorites is chive flower vinegar. Simply harvest the flowers and place them in the heated vinegar, rest for a month in the fridge, strain and put it in jars. It makes a lovely housewarming gift.

So my healthy eating readers: I challenge you to grow one thing this season. Perhaps start with a pot of chives or a blueberry bush planted in one of your perennial beds. Enjoy the delights of harvesting your own food. Good eating doesn’t get any better.

Feel free to send me your gardening questions and I will try to help you out.

Happy Gardening! The best part is getting your hands dirty!

By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at jaideborah@yahoo.com.

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