Technically, the United Way Hunger Challenge doesn’t allow for home-grown food, but as a practical note, I’m struck by how much better and cheaper our diets are, spring through fall, just with what now “volunteers” in our garden. The planter boxes required an up-front investment, and we spent money this year in amending the soil, but we have more perennial edibles than we expected. The rhubarb that was here when we moved in produces a healthy annual crop. Last year’s sorrel is regrowing in the back yard, as slug-eaten as ever, but still lemony-sharp. The rosemary took a hit but survived, and the lovage, one of a handful of herbs I was inspired to plant by Jerry Traunfeld’s Herbal Kitchen, is already back, as glorious and aggressive as a weed. Marjoram, tarragon, oregano, and other herbs are thriving.
We recently planted our Big Daddy onion starts from Territorial Seeds, ($13.95 a bundle, but a great harvest), then moved some forgotten potatoes from last year’s bed to a new home, where they have already sprouted. When we took a look at the bounty we had before the season had really begun, we felt quite rich.