Spring Fertility

Aloe flowers

I really tried to be patient during the endless downpours we’ve had lately. I’m glad I was. Suddenly winter’s deluge turned into warm summer sun, and my backyard is blooming intensely. The jade plant is shooting out bright yellow starlets. The lilies have grown higher than ever before. The aloe is bursting forth its tubular tangerine-colored flowers, and dozens of tiny fruits dot the fig tree.

Planted three months ago, I just harvested my first baby carrot, about 1 ½” long—sweet. Ready to plant summer veggies, I must decide how to use the limited garden space open to full sun. The only green vegetable that made it through the year is the broccoli. Since it yields limited quantities and turns to seed easily, I also cook the yellow, four-petalled flowers into the stirfry. Delish!

I get a big thrill out of cooking and eating something I planted or even just tended, like the oregano, which is flourishing. I can’t explain why exactly. Perhaps it’s our age-old connection to the earth or the miracle of seeing a small seed metamorphose into an entire plant. Or maybe it’s far more simple than that— the fresh flavor that accompanies the taste of a just-picked green. Whatever it is, if you haven’t already cultivated something, you might want to try it. Any farmer’s market has someone selling herbs you can grow inside or out, and veggies you can grow in a planter box if you live in an apartment. For those of you from the greater Bay Area, here’s a list of farmers markets by county, from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org/greengate/guides/markets.asp.

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