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Planting a Healthy Juice Bed

By Barbara Ganley, March 23, 2011 - 12:59pm

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March in Vermont this year has meant snow piling up and drifting, drifting and piling up. As Kate points out in yesterday's post, we've had one warm day the entire month thus far. But as she also says, the thick white blanket doesn't reveal what's happening beneath the skin of earth and tree, bush and branch. Sap runs in fits and bursts, buds stir in their pre-swelling-almost-out-of-dormancy state. Kate's maple syrup pan steams happily away on her woodstove. Both of our grow-lights shelter and warm new seedlings. My cold storage room and freezer stock dwindles-- I'm completely out of some jams and frozen pestos; the chutneys and pickles, the mostardo and mulled fruits are thinning out. That means I can soon stop eating out of jars and find dinner in the garden.

While I wait for things to come to life, I'll check the fruit trees for branches to prune, canes in the raspberry beds that need removing. I'll set out for the orchard shovel in tow. In the center of a ring of young fruit trees we have four 16' X 10' raised beds--still under snow. I'll remove the snow over one bed and put up a grow-tunnel to warm up the soil. (Next post I'll tell you how to build an inexpensive tunnel to help shelter your cool-weather plantings.)

I'm planning a "green super-healthy juice" bed, where cucumbers, kale, spinach, broccoli, greens, cilantro and parsley will grow. I'll be able to go out with my basket and gather the makings for our morning green juice without moving from one spot! And nearby is Smoothie Row -- red and black currants, gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries; and apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and cherries--the making of many an EatingWell healthy smoothie!

It's amazing what we can grow ourselves--most of us--if we have access to even the smallest bit of land or some patio pots. I love how Kate has transformed almost her entire small yard into a stunning garden packed with vegetables and herbs, and how urbanites are transforming yards into gardens and saving money. I have friends in the city who grow pots of herbs and salads, peppers and tomatoes on their windowsills much as EatingWell suggests.

When we grow our own food, we invest in our own health, our family's health and the health of this planet--at least this has been my experience. We connect to the earth's rhythms and our role caring for its well-being; we participate actively in promoting our family's health; and we find new pleasure in kitchen creativity. We can save money. And hey, we can make up any kind of healthy smoothie flavor combination that stirs our fancy! I can't wait to try new juice pairings this year--spinach and pear? Kale and apple? Carrot and black currant? Cilantro and cucumber?

TAGS: Barbara Ganley, Gardening

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