Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Well-Tended Garden*

*In the next few weeks i'll be blogging about beautiful local gardens and the people who tend them. If you would like to suggest a garden to visit please comment!

Gardener: Momma Mia
Size: .34 acres
Location: north of the Provo LDS Temple

Momma Mia's garden gets a lot of lovin'. She prays over and kisses her plants frequently. Her large yard has been made to look like a regular Italian villa garden, pruned and preened with arbors, trellises, grow boxes, and winding paths. She's laying more brick walkways as I write this.
Momma Mia grows tropical plants such as pomegranates (see below), persimmons, tangerines, valencia oranges, and a bay tree. She hauls them outside for the summer and carefully hauls them back into her enormous sun room for the winter. She grows a variety of kiwis that are winter hardy.Momma Mia has my Tia Isabel send zapallito seeds from Argentina. Zapallitos are more tender and meaty than other squash varieties.
MM's garden is a direct contrast to my self-seeding wild garden, I've never met anyone so vigilant about pulling weeds. And when a crop has surpassed its peak it's immediately ripped out and replaced with new seeds. If you see any bare spots in her garden it's not laying fallow. The soil has already been amended and new seeds planted.
Momma Mia and I planted our heirloom raspberries at the same time. Hers are 7-8 feet tall while mine are hip height. Geesh Mom! What is your secret?! I think it's becase she is ruthless about clearing out contending plants so the raspberries get plenty of sun and air.

Did you know...about potato berries?
Potato flowers turn into potato berries which have tiny little potato seeds in them. Don't eat them.

When I asked Momma Mia about the cost effectiveness of growing your own food and if it was worth it she said that after the initial investment (which can be expensive or inexpensive depending on how resourseful you are) "its just seeds and water and it saves a lot of money if you're watering something that will feed you rather than grass." When I asked if she would consider scaling back she said, "Quitting gardening would be like quitting life."
Momma Mia said they don't really have any problems with bug infestations other than aphids which she washes off with a hose.

One of Momma Mia's favorite things about gardening is the excitement and joy her grandkids express from picking fruit and plopping it in their mouths. "They love it and it makes them want to eat healthy food."

Momma Mia's Roasted Vegetables- a family staple.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop eggplant, onions, peppers, zuchs, yellow squash, and carrots (and whatever else your garden gives you!). Toss the vegetables with some olive oil. Add thyme, oregano, and marjoram. Put the veggies on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stir, then put back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Momma Mia's garden grows: JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES, EGGPLANT, ONIONS, GARLIC, THREE KINDS OF PEPPERS, ZUCHINIS, YELLOW SQUASH, BANANA SQUASH, ZAPATILLOS, THYME, OREGANO, MARJORAM, CARROTS, FOUR VARIETIES OF GRAPES, TWO VARIETIES OF RASPBERRIES, EVERBEARING STRAWBERRIES, RHUBARB, WALNUTS, PEARS, POMEGRANATES, VALENCIA ORANGES, TANGERINE, PEACHES, ROSEMARY, WHITE PLUMS, SANTA ROSA PLUMS, ITALIAN PLUMS, GOLDEN DELICIOUS APPLES, FUJI APPLES, SPAGHETTI SQUASH, KIWIS, FOUR KINDS OF TOMATOES, SWEET POTATOES, POTATOES, CABBAGES, KALE, LETTUCES, ASPARAGUS, BLACK BERRIES, BEANS, APRICOTS, PEAS, NECTARINES, PUMPKINS, CANTALOUPE, MUSKMELON, BEETS, PARSLEY, CELERY, CUCUMBERS, AND MORE...

24 comments:

pamo said...

when i say your blog is life changing i don't mean it lightly. seriously. i feel like i really lost an opportunity when we were in art school together. why didn't i know how awesome you are??

i honestly just turned to my husband and said "next year i'm killing off half the yard and calling gritty pretty's mom".

Quel said...

hey pamo, i think you're a few years younger than me and we did not overlap enough. =(
momma mia would seriously help you. she's always giving away loads of transplants and sage advice. She'd hook you up!
xo!

Geo said...

Transplants? Mentoring? Momma Mia, will you adopt me as a child of your garden?

I am here to testify that Momma Mia's zapallitos are delicious! Is there anything I could trade for . . . a seed?

Geo said...

By the way, this is utterly inspiring!

Cassandra Barney said...

Quelicious- you said something brilliant on my blog, about growing up and I'm writing about that now. Hey to pamo too. So many beautiful people, makes me all warm inside.

Courtney said...

hey quel, we've had some major family stuff going on so i haven't had mental space to keep up with you. please forgive me. i hope to see yr paintings at coal umbrella but i'm not sure... look in on us sometime in yr wanderings. i'm not even sure what our garden looks like right now.

Rachel G said...

Man, everything in your moms garden sounds so delish!!! And, I miss coming over and having salads from your garden. I hope someday I can have a garden too. me = jealous

Christian said...

Your mother is amazing! I want to kidnap her!

Lara

Angie said...

Me and Mark want to start a pot garden. Hahaha. That sounded funny. But you know what I mean. So prepare yourself for some brain-picking, because I'll be asking you for advice soon.

sue-donym said...

The best thing your mother ever grew was YOU.

(But all this comes in a close second. WOW) I want to learn at the feet of the master. When can I have a tour?

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