I recently read an article on Grist about women farmers and ranchers. I’m not a farmer but I want to grow some of my own food. I am rational, though. I don’t have the time to devote to a large kitchen garden. So, I pared down my goals and focused on a few things. I want to grow tomatoes to can. I am not a fresh tomato eater as much as I am a cook that uses lots of tomatoes, mostly chopped tomatoes. So, I planted tomatoes and basil and peppers. My larger idea of food production is to grow fruit on trees to make jams, pies and cobblers. As fresh as can be from ground to plate (or freezer or water bath).

TomatoAnd so this is a bit of what I have planted: three pears, six pecans, a loquat, six arbequina olives, a Meyer lemon, a peach, eight blueberry bushes and a tended, cultivated, replanted swath of wild blackberry brambles. The blackberry canes grow wild all over my yard and I mow them over. They also grow inside my landscaped beds. So, I dig them up and replant them into a band in the southern side acre. One day, the other 23 lots in Hawk’s Ridge will be built out and the wild,  chest-high blackberry brambles will have gone the way of pine bark mulch and concrete pavers, but I will have a stripe large enough to satisfy my yearly jam making and pie baking.

Blackberry brambleI also grow herbs for cooking: rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic chives, sage, leeks and dill. The dill is currently serving at food source for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. I bought two large seed packets of flower dill just for this purpose. I will plant it in the late summer out in the rear acre far away from my herb garden for the kitchen.

Flowering dillCaterpillarLastly, I have bees. And honey that tastes of wildflowers and berries. The bees have plenty to forage with the lilies, asters, irises, cosmos, zinnias, blackberries, wildflowers and blooming grasses.

Zinnias with blackberriesIt hasn’t been a year. I can envision the house and yard in three years, five, 10. The trees lush and grown, the garden mature, the beds packed with perennials leaving me to weed and transplant.

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