To market to market to buy a fat…head of lettuce!

My little one at the farmer's market selecting some flowers for our garden.

After months of waiting, it finally came…opening day at the farmer’s market! I couldn’t wait to get up (relatively) early on Saturday morning, grab some small bills, and head downtown to find some homegrown goodness.

There is so much to enjoy about the farmer’s market. Warmth from the early morning sun. Aromas of kettlecorn, baked goods, and some pretty amazing chorizo breakfast burritos. Vibrant colors of vegetables, fruits, jams, and flowers. Creative artistry of weavers, jewelers, and woodworkers. Sounds of guitars, fiddles, and sometimes local bands singing for their supper.  At each booth there is something to taste, touch, see, smell, and even hear, and it is all such a delight for the senses.

Sampling some broccoli at the market. If you taste it, you buy it!

When I first arrive at the market, I take a stroll all around to survey the booths, compare prices, and see what looks good. Then I go back and visit my favorite vendors and the booths with the best deals. At this point, we are too early in the season to enjoy much fresh local produce, but I did find broccoli crowns and romaine lettuce at 3 for $1. My toddler especially approved of the broccoli, the silly girl. I also traded in the mason jar I’d been saving all winter for a discount at my favorite jelly booth, Julie’s Jam of Creek Bottom Produce. (I tell you what, this jam is reason enough to take a trip to the market! Her lavender peach jam is to die for!) Then I stopped at the Busy Bee distribution table to buy some local beeswax so I can make lotion. I found a better deal here than at the healthfood store–$10 for a one-pound block instead of about $1.30 per one-ounce bar. Normally, I would also buy some farm-fresh eggs, flax seed bread from the Cornucopia Bakery, whole wheat pizza crust from Kitchen Angel, and soap from Trovina (formerly Cason Naturals), but I was on a different quest than usual and decided to forgo my normal routine. These vendors have inspired me on my quest for better health and greenness, so I’m sure I will write more about them in the future.

English Thyme from the farmer's market, now in my garden.

What I enjoy the most about the farmer’s market is talking to the vendors. They all take such pride in their crafts and bring the best of their labors to sell. They enjoy the chance to tell you all about their products and answer your questions. This was particularly important to me this weekend, because my husband and I had a big day of gardening and yard work planned, and honestly, we don’t know much about it. My plan was to buy several herbs and flowers to plant in my garden, but I needed help figuring out what to plant and how to take care of it. I bought some packs of pansies to add some color to my flower beds, but I was a little puzzled when it came to the herbs.

Lavender from the market, soaking up some springtime sun.

Luckily, I came across Susan at David’s Herbs. She saw me confusedly sniffing at and examining her plants and offered to help. I must have looked like I needed it! She asked me lots of questions about how I would like to use the herbs and what my planting situation is like, then patiently answered all of my questions. She helped me select English Thyme, Dutch Lavender, chocolate mint, and prostrate rosemary. Basil, she informed me, would flourish in my garden but shouldn’t be planted for a few weeks. (I already have chives, lemon balm, and sage planted in the garden by a previous homeowner.) She also gave me some very helpful tips on how to plant the herbs, care for them, and use them. I can’t wait till my plants are big enough to harvest! I’ll surely have some good “green tips” for you then!

Pansies look extra whimsical in a birdbath.

Then it was off to Home Depot for a few gardening supplies, and home to begin our work. While Justin was hard at work on the lawn, I planted the herbs in my little garden and the pansies in a bird bath. Then I spread some wildflower seeds along the backyard fence, and began the tedious work of weeding the landscaping in the front yard. As it turns out, this can be a big job when you let it go for over a year! In our defense, we were more than a little overwhelmed when we moved into our house. We weren’t just new homeowners–we were new parents with a one-month old, premature baby! Now that we are settled, however, we are resolved to be better homeowners and be diligent in our garden tending.

Next week I will make table decorations out of old containers. But until then, what advice can you give me for tending an herb garden?

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1 Comment

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One response to “To market to market to buy a fat…head of lettuce!

  1. Alan Ukena

    I Googled “Pests in the Herb Garden” and this is what popped up first.

    http://herbgardens.about.com/od/pests/a/RepelPests.htm

    Basically, aromatic herbs don’t attract as many pests. Apparently, they don’t like the smells.

    So far as organic fixes go, if you see evidence of bug activity, mix some grated soap in some water and spray the leaves…both the tops and the undersides.

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