So in my last blog I talked about my passion as a Forager and that with spring here it is time for me to get to the woods. One of the other things that spring brings is planning what I will grow this year, both at home but also at the hotel I work, the Christiana Hilton in Newark Delaware.
One of the first things I do is review my notebook for comments from last year. I keep a kind of diary of my foraging and also what I planted and what did great, and then the not so great. This helps me to craft my lists and start my planning. I will start to buy my seeds from the many catalogs I have been receiving, and also look for anything new that I might want to try. A tip for one of the fun things; plant at least one new item and see how it does. How did it grow, how did it taste, did you use it, will it make the list for next year?? For a list of Catalogs, http://www.carnegielibrary.org/research/homegarden/gardening/catalogs.html
Since it is now early April, the local garden stores have already started carrying some of the more cold hardy plants, (and some not so hardy.) At home, I usually start with parsley as my only herb for now, and a number of the great selections of lettuce. I bought and planted my lettuce 2 weeks ago, and even with a few cold spells when I did cover it, they are thriving and will be ready to start picking this week.
As you can see, my home garden is actually a container garden on my porch. Very handy, few weeds, and even less pests. The picture shows that I have 6 different types of greens .
At work, things are a little different. I have been growing several herbs for the past few years, and each year I add a few more, or add more of the items we use the most. I know that I just don’t have the time or space to plant enough for the number of people we serve. We are a busy place and serve thousands of meals each month. But what I am able to do is to supplement the not to frequent items we use, and then use what we grow on special meals, such as our Chef’s Table. There is nothing like having a meal specially prepared by our Chef Robert using the fresh herbs for our garden that we just picked. There is no substitution for quality and freshness! Oh, by the way, sometimes one of my foraged items ends up on the Chefs Table too.
For the Hilton Garden, I usually make a trek up to the Amish towns near Lancaster Pa. sometime late April and buy all of our herbs that are already started in pots. The selections are just about endless, and really doesn’t cost all that much. So, with the trip coming up, there will be more to come….