Have I told you lately how much I love my garden? Well, I do!
A few years ago, we did a complete renovation of our backyard (see backyard in Key Elements to Outdoor Entertaining and S’mores posts). When we compiled all of our ‘must have’ elements for the new space, we didn’t have sufficient space for a vegetable garden. Fortunately, we did have a great space out front where a good portion was basically obsolete. We had a small patch of grass that was elevated from the street that was a challenge to mow and water, so basically became an eye sore.
To combat this issue and turn to problem into a usable space, we let the grass die, put down a weed barrier and then covered it with crushed rock. Once we had the ‘stage’ set, we added planter boxes for a vegetable garden. Even though the space is on the Northern side of our house, we were able to space the boxes to where they get sufficient summer sun.
The set up is actually quite ideal, allowing us to have all of the elements that we need in the backyard, while giving us space for a bountiful garden in the front yard. Neighbors walk by and comment on how we were able to create a thriving and attractive garden.
The only issue has been the deer. In the PNW, deer are as much a part of the landscape as the dandelions and slugs. While we love spotting the occasional deer in the neighborhood, we dread seeing the telltale signs of these garden squatters. This year, we have a mama and two fawns that have a path that crosses between us and our neighbors to the east, which is right in line with the garden. Fortunately, they haven’t taken too big of a bite out of the garden so far this year (fingers crossed that it stays this way).
If you don’t have space for a garden, you still have plenty of options. Bellingham has two Farmer’s Markets: Downtown on Saturdays and another in Fairhaven on Wednesday afternoon. Our local grocers and markets also have a fresh selection of produce to choose from. If you have a sunny patio spot, you can create a container garden. A wide/shallow container is perfect for lettuce and there are all sorts of containers that work for tomatoes, including a hanging basket. The ladies down at the Garden Spot Nursery are super friendly, knowledgable and helpful and will get you set up in no time!
I love supporting local businesses, especially when they have my favorite products! Drizzle Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room has Ultra Premium (UP) grade olive oil and is found locally. UP is a new category of olive oil that distinguishes the highest quality olive oil in the world. The UP standard was created in response to the growing need to separate high quality extra virgin olive oils from what dominates the so-called “gourmet” and “premium” olive oil markets, as well as the broader category sold in mass markets the world over under thousands of brands and private labels.
A couple of my favorite oil/vinegar combinations include Japanese Roasted Sesame Oil and Honey Ginger White Balsamic or Lemon Olive Oil and Lavendar Vinegar. The staff at Drizzle can help you select a combination that tantalizes your taste buds. Plus, you get to sample the oil and vinegar right there and know exactly what you are getting!
Super simple meal!!
By having the garden (or fresh local vegetables) and preparing a few things in advance, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your summer. Here is a quick and easy way to enjoy your summer harvest:
- Cook a batch of quinoa ahead of time,
- pick fresh lettuce and accompanying vegetables when its meal time,
- dice up some left over meat that’s in the fridge….no meat, no worries, the quinoa has the protein to balance out the meal.
- Combine in a medium-sized bowl and add your favorite olive oil and vinegar,
- top with fresh herbs; cilantro tastes great with the Japanese Roasted Sesame Oil and Honey Ginger White Balsalmic from Drizzle.
- Grab a seat and enjoy this summer fresh meal!
Drizzle Fairhaven can be reached at 360-392-8838 and is located at 1208 11th Street, Bellingham, WA.
Drizzle Lynden can be reached at 360-366-8470 and is located at 420 Front Street, Lynden, WA.
Garden Spot Nursery can be reached at 360-676-5480 is located at 900 Alabama Street, Bellingham, WA.
Drizzle photos by Amy Slusher Photography.