For many a green thumb (or not so green, like mine! lol), Spring means it's time to grab your tools and start playing in the garden. I've been yearning for one of my own ever since I got into raw in 2001, but the circumstances were never quite right: the soil wasn't very fertile, not enough sun, or the time/energy just plain wasn't there. This is the first time I'm being presented with an earnest opportunity to garden; there's lots of beds already in place, an amazing southern exposure, and our landlord Nicolo has pretty much given me the green light to plant whatever I want. Hee-hah
There's only one hitch... We don't know how long we'll be able to stay here! Ah well, that still didn't stop me from planting a few things anyways; mostly greens (lettuce, mesclun, spinach, arugula, chard and kale) and some peas. There were a bunch of lettuces already happening in one of the beds (along with tons of weeds) so Don and I uprooted the whole thing one afternoon and replanted the good stuff.
Coming along, coming along...
I also picked up a few cherry tomatoes, basil and zucchini plants at the farmer's market, which we replanted into bigger pots. I've been waiting for the temperature to warm up a little before putting them in.
See the teeny zucchini growing on this one?
In the 12 years that Nicolo's had the property, he has planted lots of fruit trees; mostly apple, but also pear and even kiwi!
There's several varieties of berries, and medicinal plants and herbs growing around: comfrey, mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives, dill, 2 types of parsley, mullein, nettle, and many more which I don't know the names of. Some parsley seeds have actually traveled all the way next to the porch, so I just have to walk out the door to pick fresh parsley! (If you look closely, you can sorta see it to the left in the zucchini picture above.)
And there's of course plenty of lovage!
I remember seeing it listed as one of the ingredients in herbal seasonings, but had never actually tried it on its own. It has a flavor very reminiscent of celery and the best part is that it's perennial and grows like weed! Someone who uses it a lot told me that it can be frozen in ziplock bags to be used all winter long, as with most herbs.
One of the two gigantic lovage bushes on the land.
And here's a close up so you can see what it looks like.
I haven't had a chance to experiment much with lovage yet, but have been enjoying it lately in this delicious variation of one of my all time favorite soups. Absolutely lovely! (No pun intended, of course!)
Creamy Zucchini and Lovage Soup
1 1/2 cups zucchini, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup cucumber (or roughly a 2" piece)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup parsley
1 tbs packed fresh lovage
1 tsp miso
Salt to taste
2 cups water (or until desired consistency is reached)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy in high-speed blender.
Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper.
~ Don and I don't like cold soups so we used to warm them up gently on the stove, stirring constantly until lukewarm. However, since our days at Ashinah where there was no stove, we've taken to using hot water instead. It requires a bit of getting used to (I sometimes need to add a bit of cold water as well) as you don't want to cook those precious enzymes, but once you get the hang of it, it's so much quicker!
~ Dunno if I've mentioned it before, but as a rule, we prefer to add dried seaweed to our soup bowls at the end, rather than use salt. That's what's sorta peaking through the crushed pepper in the photos.