Cultivation and Culinary Adventures

by thetanvi

I went for an early morning stroll/run in the cool after the rain and before the sun’s intensity and came across the community garden.  The gate was open this time, so wandered inside to take a look within the ivy covered fence. Inside I found a white-haired british man tending to his plot. As expected, this capitol hill garden- like most urban community gardens- has a long long waiting list. However, this gentleman I spoke with brokered a deal with me.  I will tend to his home garden, as he as his wife will be traveling a lot and won’t be able to do so. I earn some extra money and get to do some gardening.  Obstacle: Landlord lameo not permitting me to garden where I live, overcome!

I had been excited about tending the neglected yard outside the grand old row house I moved into.  After looking into backyard sharing programs in DC and recruiting some friends, neighbors, and coworkers to help me to start a garden, a bleak roadblock popped up: the landlord didn’t want me to creat a garden. The house, being situated on a corner next to a green square next to Pennsylvania Ave just a street over from the Capitol building and Library of Congress, is too visible. All the perks of my location working against me!

I shall overcome! I have visited the fabulous rooftop garden after gleaning with Bread for the City, and spoke with representatives of the GWU community garden in foggy bottom and the Common Good City Farm CSA and have high hopes for vesting some time and energy outdoors doing some cultivation. I might even sign up for a CSA share at Common Good… and see if I can’t volunteer to teach some youngsters, while I’m at it, being a teacher transplant and all.

Speaking of teaching, and gleaning, when I excited shared my wonder gleaning experience I got many a bewildered response. What is gleaning? It’s simply the act of harvesting produce which was not sold or collected due to supply/demand. Rather than let good, local produce go to waste, we collected it for ourselves, and much much more for homeless and needy in the city.

With a copious amount of veggies gleaned from the brink of disposal, it meant a whole lot of cooking this week.

On Day 1 I sliced up squash, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers to roast in the oven, with olive oil and herbs I collected as well. Though I had incredible smoked gouda from a wonderful Virginian farmer I had to stop over Yes! Organic Market for some feta to really make it right.

Day 2 I prepared some cousous with tomatoes and scallions and ground some peppercorn and tossed in some feta to go along with the caramelized onions and squash I had prepared with a side of brussel sprouts. There has been the stirrings of admiration, jealousy (or rather, I hope, inspiration) amongst housemates and coworkers!

Day 3 I went back to my stir frying ways with some mushrooms then boiled some beets to have along with feta. By the time the beets were done, I had rearranged the entire kitchen, and by the time I finished boiling some corn, I wasn’t even hungry any more! So I’ll have the rest for lunch, as I’ve been doing everyday, seeing as I’m cookin for one. I’m saving my brussel sprouts for the biggest fan of my foods, if he ever visits!