This is a picture of my fennel. I only have one bulb. I've never grown fennel or eaten very much of it. My one experience with fennel was at a restaurant where they served salmon on a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with fennel slaw and a slice of red grapefruit. When I ordered it, the fennel slaw didn't sound appealing to me and I figured it would be something I'd put up with in order to enjoy the salmon and potatoes. But the fennel was my very favorite part. It was crunchy and delicious and wonderful. And it tasted great paired with the grapefruit, too. Anyway, that's what led me to plant fennel: happy memories of fennel slaw.

This photo really doesn't do the fennel justice, because I think it's one of the prettiest plants in my garden. It doesn't look that impressive in this picture. It's this lovely green color, and it's light and ferny looking. I honestly wish I would have planted a bunch more. I certainly plan to have more next year. When I think about actually eating this fennel I feel almost sad because I don't want to pull out the whole bulb and lose such a pretty plant. I know that's silly but...whatever.

Of course, since I've never grown or really cooked with fennel I don't know much about how to prepare it or what to do with it. So now I'm on a quest to learn. I want to put it to good use!

Viva la fennel!!

My little patch of earth is full of green, growing things and I couldn't be more delighted. I know I've said it before, but I really did doubt that I'd be able to manage a garden. Working full time and having three energetic kids to wrangle can demand so much of my time, attention and energy. But, truly, there is something so beautiful and satisfying about gardening. I'm caring for the plants which then provide sustenance for me and my family. Being part of that cycle is and edifying experience - pun intended!

So here are some recent photos of Our Patch. Look at that cherry tomato plant! It's going nuts! No tomatoes yet, but plenty of blossoms.
The watermelon is starting to flower!

Look! That's a baby crookneck squash! And it's the cutest little squash ever! Yes it is! There are actually a few little squashes starting on this plant. Quite exciting.
Here is a recent photo of my Three Sisters area. It's really coming along nicely. I'm so pleased with how healthy and strong the corn is! The beans are getting tall. The squashes are getting bigger all the time. The pumpkins I planted are just finally starting to sprout. I can't wait to see what this spot looks like when the squashes sprawl and full in the empty space. It'll be so pretty!
And here are my wee basil plants. They're in kind of a shady spot and aren't really growing as much as I'd like to see. But I'll give them time. They smell so nice. I can almost taste the pesto every time I walk by!

Wishing you all similar garden blessings!

Once again, it's been far too long since I last posted! But I blame it on being very, very busy outdoors. The weather has warmed up and the garden is coming to life. There's something so magical about this time of year. I love seeing all the trees in bloom, like this peach tree in my mom's yard:Lots of flowers this year, so I'm hoping that means we'll get lots of peaches this year as well. Last year, Japanese beetles ate ALL our peaches. It was a tragedy.

This year it seems like we have an abundance of California Golden Poppies. They pop up everywhere! They were my father's favorite flower, and my mom refuses to pull out any Golden Poppies that come up. So she has poppies all over the place. Here's one that sprouted in the middle of the lawn. She just mows around it. I love that sunny orange color!Back at my own little patch of earth, the garden is doing well. That volunteer tomato plant that had sprouted near our fence is going nuts now that the weather is warmer. It had flowers on it for the longest time, but no little tomatoes. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever have fruit on it. Obviously, I just needed to be patient. The plant is now COVERED with little tomatoes!In fact, this volunteer tomato plant now currently has more tomatoes on it than I harvested all last year from my three tomato plants. Isn't that crazy? Of course, the tomato plants I had last year were in pots and I don't think the soil was very good. I only got about a dozen cherry tomatoes, total. I easily have three times that on this one plant right now. I'm so pleased!

In addition to my volunteer, I have eight other tomato plants. Some are doing really well. A couple others are struggling thanks to hungry snails. But I'm still hoping to have a good crop so I'll be able to can a bunch. Homemade marinara sauce, here I come!

The "three sisters" area of my garden is doing great, and I think it's going to be simply gorgeous when the plants get a little bit bigger. I planted a ring of sweet corn, and then I planted green and purple pole beans around those. The beans will climb up the corn (in theory). Then I planted an assortment of squashes in a ring around the corn & beans. Here's what it looked like about a week ago:It's a little hard to see everything (I'm a crummy photographer), but I wanted to show how it looks with the squashes coming in. The larger squash plants in the back are yellow crookneck squash. Zucchini coming in toward the front. I'm not actually sure what all the squash are. I foolishly planted stuff, thinking I'd remember what went where. But of course I didn't. So it'll be a fun little surprise for later this year! Anyway, here's a little close up on the beans and corn:I can't wait to see how it all fills in!

This past weekend I worked on putting in more herbs. I now have cilantro, parsley, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, chives, basil and dill. So far they seem happy in their little garden plot, but I'm concerned there might not be enough sun. We'll see. Dill is supposed to be more of a cool weather herb, so I didn't think mine would make it. It looked a little sad and brown for a while, but it's perking up now and has lots of new green growth. Yay! We'll see how it handles a Southern California summer. I planted it in partial shade, so I hope it will be happy and thrive.

More pictures and garden updates to come!