Winter is the perfect time to dream, visualize and plan a garden. Fortunately, the maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest makes it possible to start planting bare-root fruit trees and roses in mid-to late-winter (late Feb to early March).
Good news! The cherry tomatoes in my yard are starting to ripen. I plucked one off the vine today and tasted it. Yum-O!! The red ‘Sweet 100’ stands up to its name – crisp, sweet and juicy. The ‘Yellow Pear’ looks gorgeous. It has a milder taste and is a little soft on the inside. I am waiting for more tomatoes to ripen so I can make this Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad with my own harvest.
Last year, my tomato plants were a total flop. Stunted growth and a few green tomatoes was all that I got. I guess the weather never really got warm enough for those heat-loving plants. This year, I hope it is going to be a different story. I have a game plan in place starting with larger starts, season extenders, drip irrigation and timely doses of organic fertilizer. I am going to ‘baby’ my tomatoes. I have chosen to plant cherry tomatoes this year, simply because they are incredibly prolific, they ripen earlier in the season and are more tolerant of weather fluctuations. And of course, I am just longing to eat one, plucked right from the vine.
In the midst of sowing radish and carrot seeds, we harvested our first crop of the season – Purple Sprouting Broccoli. It is so beautiful, so fresh and so tender that I did not use my bamboo steamer. Instead, I sautéed it lightly in butter along with some garlic, salt and pepper. It turned green upon cooking and paired up beautifully with lentils and rice. Yum-O!
The Pickering Barn Garden in Issaquah is a community learning garden that demonstrates organic food growing techniques, promotes healthy soil building, resource conservation and eco-friendly gardening practices. The green roofs and rain barrels on site are examples of sustainable living in urban landscapes.