Eat to feed your garden … and play in the dirt!

It’s garden time, my friends, and I couldn’t be happier. I admit I got a little antsy this year and started some seedlings prematurely — in containers, thinking I’d move them inside. Believe me, I know better than to plant even cold-hardy lettuces before Thunder Over Louisville and certainly not to plant vegetables before Derby. (We Louisvillians refer to everything around Derby Festival events.) But that week of 70-degree weather and that lying little groundhog had me using The Secret to bring spring immediately. Then one morning I woke up to snow in my container garden and only a few tears.

This weekend I removed all the tiny weeds poking their evil heads up in my real garden, and in doing so, I found nine volunteer cilantro babies and two volunteer dills. I love dill because even though it’s only an inch high, my fingers smell like pickles for hours after touching it. The cilantro can’t come soon enough because that Kroger and even the Whole Foods cilantro doesn’t smell like anything.

FWT got ambitious and dug out a massive tree stump that has been the center of my garden since the evil dead crab-apple tree succumbed to my musical saw several years ago. But how do you fill a hole left by a tree? With compost that has been sitting in my backyard as long as the crab-apple has been dead.

I’ve been a compost freak ever since I saw that Al Gore movie, even though I’d wanted to try it long before. No matter what you think about climate change (let’s please not get into that debate here), it’s simply about not being overly wasteful. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been putting just about all of my food waste in the compost bin for at least four years. It’s no bigger than a trash can, and yet with ALL of that food waste — and believe me, I eat a lot — it’s not even half full. What is inside, is a top layer of banana peels, apple cores, and peanut shells, but mostly gorgeous, thick, organic compost.

It’s the first time I’ve actually used any of the compost I’ve been cooking, and my soil has now been raked into nutritious perfection. That picture up top is all that remains of many a fine meal cooked in our house.

If you’re able to compost, you should give it a try. You don’t need a fancy bin. You can even get a big rubbermaid container and drill a bunch of holes in it, as long as you can place the bin where it gets sunshine.

Aside from the lush nutrients for my garden, what amazes me the most is how little trash we actually make. What isn’t compostable is usually recyclable. Additionally, our trash can never smells because there’s never any food waste in it. Win-win-win.

Sorry for the rant. It’s just that it combines two of my favorite things: eating and playing in the dirt.