Ready, set, grow!

As gardening season ramps up for much of the Northern Hemisphere, hopeful gardeners gingerly plant all manner of fruits and vegetables in anticipation of a bumper crop of tomatoes, beans, corn, cucumbers, squash, and more. Earlier today I put in the majority of transplants and will be adding seeds tomorrow. One thing I love about gardening is it allows me to cook with vegetables and herbs that I cannot easily find in my local supermarket, like shiso, or which are expensive, like leeks (or really just about any fruits and vegetables these days).

Last year I was eager to grow my own fennel and started them from seed, watching their feathery leaves get more lush and full, only to discover that I purchased the wrong kind of seed and was growing an ornamental variety. It was beautiful, but I was so disappointed. This year I am armed with the proper seeds and will give fennel another shot. I’m growing several cucumber plants in hopes of pickling, and have other garden staples like tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, lettuce, herbs, carrots, and beans.

Planting is the easy part, and I’m sure by autumn I will be annoyed that I grew so many things. But until then I will be perusing my vegetable-focused cookbooks looking for ways to use the harvest. Some of the books I will be thumbing through are Listen To Your Vegetables by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Heddings, Veg-table by Nik Sharma, Tenderheart by Hetty McKinnon, Milk Street Vegetables by Christopher Kimball, In Praise of Veg by Alice Zavlasky, Leaf by Catherine Phipps, Ruffage by Abra Berens, Greenfeast – Spring, Summer by Nigel Slater, Six Seasons Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg, Onions Etcetera by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Sandy Gluck, and Vegetables from an Italian Garden by Charles Nardozzi. What are you planting (or what did you plant last season, for our Members in the Southern Hemisphere), and what books are your favorites for cooking from your garden?

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  • ellabee  on  May 19, 2024

    The Victory Garden Cookbook (1982) is an outstanding reference for gardeners.

  • breakthroughc  on  May 19, 2024

    Bountiful by Todd Porter and Diane Cu is a favorite of mine. I have lettuce, chard, snap peas, carrots, beets, a variety of peppers, green beans and lots of tomatoes.

  • tmjellicoe  on  May 19, 2024

    I’m growing an abundance of tarragon to use in the Georgian book Supra.

  • eliza  on  May 20, 2024

    Darcie; a tip for your fennel. When it heads up and you want to harvest, slice it off flush with the ground leaving the root in the soil. You will usually then get more bulbs forming. I’ve done this up to 5 times in a season on the same root.

  • reader1trees  on  May 24, 2024

    I’m growing herbs, salads, onions, nasturtiums, beans, sweet peas and tomatoes. I’m mainly cooking from Ottolenghi books with the occasional step out with Rukmini Iyer and Joe Woodhouse.

  • RDJ82  on  May 27, 2024

    I really enjoy Cook’s Country Vegetables Illustrated. This year I’m growing six types of tomatoes; Gold Metal, Moonglow, Black Beauty, Spoon, Blueberry, and Italian Heirloom. I love the smell of tomatoes fresh from the vine and all the beautiful color options.

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