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Dreaming of dirt, sprouts and goodies

Wednesday night, instead of lying in bed mentally drafting the next day’s to-do list, I decided to plan this year’s garden. My husband and I have had a plot at the community garden near Sagebrush Elementary School since it got started a few years ago.

Each year, for the most part, we’ve planted the same things — tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, green peppers, hot peppers and carrots.

A couple of years we tried some onions and last year we planted some potatoes.

We probably spend more money on seeds and tools than a bag of some of these veggies cost, but I enjoy knowing exactly where my food comes from and what was used to make it grow.

Each fall we can the carrots, shred and freeze the squash and zucchini, pickle the cucumbers and turn the peppers, tomatoes and onions into some delicious homemade salsa.

We’ve learned a lot about gardening along the way and we liked chatting with our garden neighbors about what goodies they would get to harvest at the end of summer.

Nothing beats a day out in the sunshine picking fresh veggies to take home and gobble up.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I think weeds are going to take over and I have nightmares that they grow so long and so plentiful that they wrap their green tentacles around me so I cannot move.

But then I spend a few hours clearing them out and all is right again.

We’ve also learned that safety is key in canning. Give your pressure cooker plenty of time to let of steam and open the lid away from your body. My husband and I had finished canning a couple years ago — the relief valve wasn’t spraying steam and the gauge indicated the pressure had been released. While the cooker still felt hot, we set about opening it. I ended up with second- and third-degree burns from the steam. Ouch! Needless to say, we don’t try to open our pressure cooker until it is cool to the touch now.

This year — since our cupboards are still full — we’ve talked about planting some different fruits and veggies.

In the summer, when it just seems too darn hot to cook, I like salads. So, we may try planting a variety of greens.

We’ve also often envied the small watermelons and cantaloupe that sprout of vines in other plots at the garden. I think we’ll try a watermelon this year too.

While you may find me cursing the weeds, the heat and the bugs this July and August, I am extremely grateful that our community had the thought and the ability to get these gardens started.

If you’re interested in getting a plot at one of the many gardens this summer, contact the Sheridan Parks Department. They’ll get you set up if any plots are still available.

About

Kristen Czaban

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

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