grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grow What You Eat

I can't tell you how many veggies I give away from my garden because I grow stuff I don't eat or because it's ripe and I'm not in the mood to cook whatever it is.  Eggplant, I'm talking about you.

I'll be honest, I don't even like eggplant.  Yet, I grow it nearly every year.  I am seduced by it's beauty.  Those giant deep purple fruits nestled behind the leaves of the plant excite me.  For some reason, looking for the eggplant always reminds me of hunting Easter eggs and finding the special golden ones.  When I pick them, I put them on the kitchen counter in a place where I can see them from the living room and marvel at their beauty, rearranging them when I walk by like I used to do Christmas presents under the tree.  Then reality sets in.  What the hell am I gonna do with these?  I hate eggplant!  While I love sending fresh veggies to work with my husband who gives them away to his veggie loving coworkers, I'm tired of buying fresh, out of season veggies for all the soups I'm making this winter.  So in 2011, I'm on a mission to focus on growing what I actually eat.  Eggplant, I'll miss you.

Planting with a purpose:

  • Soup
  • Salad
  • Stir fry
  • Tomatoes (in my garden, these get their own category)
Instead of perusing the seed catalogs, ordering seeds whose description or pictures have seduced me, I'll have my cookbooks by my side, selecting seeds from ingredients used in my favorite recipes.  And instead of stressing about cooking everything at the moment it's ripe, I'll focus on perfecting my freezing skills.  I never grow carrots because I don't like to eat them raw.  Gasp!  Yet I continue to buy them at the grocery for soup recipes, lecturing myself the whole way. These are so easy to grow! They don't even take up much space in the garden!  God knows where these things even came from!  Or what they've been sprayed with!  Bad gardener!

Are you guilty of growing veggies you have no intention of eating, too?  Or not growing ones you do eat for some dumb reason like me?  If so, I'd like to know about it.  


  1. That's why I started grew onions last year. We eat them constantly and they can be frozen for recipes. I grew eggplant once. I thought if it was the freshest it could be, I'd like it more and try some of Rachael Ray's recipe's for it. Guess what, I still didn't like it. No eggplant here either.

  2. Well, at least I'm not the only one doing this.
    I grew Chioggia Beets even though I despise beets. I was taken in by those stripes when you cut into them. My reason is even dumber, though, because-unlike an eggplant you can display to show it's beauty, beets are ugly on the outside. What do I do? Keep a plate of sliced beets on the counter??? LOL!

  3. I love it. What a fabulous idea! I think many gardeners struggle with the same issue. Take us along on your journey so we can learn too!

  4. Great idea to plan ahead! I love eggplant thought. I like the skinny Chinese eggplant! I always plant Okra and dont always eat it. Maybe that is what I will let go of this year!

  5. For many years I grew veggies that no one in my family liked. Now I only grow what we eat, i.e., tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green onions, lettuce and peppers. I have a small raised bed garden so these really fill it up.

  6. I eat what I grow, eggplant, okra, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, cucumber!

  7. I love your plan for deciding what to grow -- I'm pretty sure I'm done growing eggplant, too! (And, tomatoes totally deserve their own category! I love it.) :-)

  8. I'm growing romanesco broccoli just because I like its mathematical shape (in the picture on the seed packet anyway). I only have a tiny floret in one of them at the moment. I read about your experiences and saw the "radioactive" leaves. Did you manage to grow a full head of broccoli in the end ?

  9. Did you think of me when writing this post? EEKK! I'm famous for growing things I may not like or use a lot. But i give them away to friends, coworkers and neighbors. I like the satisfaction of doing the work and the surprise on their face when the get the mystery vegetable. Haahaha! I don't like onions but this year I'm trying to grow them from seed for the first time. Very backwards huh? I on the other hand love eggplant.

  10. GSS - yes! More onions! I'm planning to grow way more of them this year, too. Other than the fact that they need to be started so early, they are really easy to grow and don't take up much space. I've never frozen them before but thanks for that tip!

    Sue - we gardeners grow a lot of crazy shit just because we can, right? I've never even heard of Chioggia Beets! Then again, I'm freaked out by beets for some reason.

    Katie - you got it!

    Jenn - I've never grown okra (I don't like it, either) but I hear the plants are really pretty. I actually have purple okra seeds given to me last year that I never got around to starting.

    Gatsby - do you ever lose the desire to grow something different or cool looking? I wondered if I'll get bored with this idea quickly.

    p3 - did you always garden like this?

    Colleen - I will always reserve the right to grow obscure tomatoes. They are my favorite food of all time.

    b-a-g Hell no! That thing never produced a single fruit! Never went to seed. It was huge when I'd finally had enough of it. Digging that thing up was not fun.

    Holly - do you not cook with onions? My mom eats raw onions with certain meals and it really grosses me out. I have had a lot of success growing the red ones from seed. They have to be started really early indoors here in zone 5. But the red ones are so pretty!

  11. Since I'm just starting out in organic gardening, I'll try and grow anything, lol, but I totally see what you mean on grow what you eat.