Book Review: More Food From Small Spaces by Margaret Park

gardeningbook

In preparation for planting my vegetable garden, I picked up More Food From Small Spaces by Margaret Park from the library. I have two small raised beds that I normally plant 5 or 6 different veggies in, but they did not all fair well last year. So, I am doing some research on companion planting, vertical gardens, and proper spacing of plants to see if I can be more successful this year. This book has been very helpful. I bought my first seeds the other day and am looking forward to growing tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, and corn. I have not had the best experience in growing corn, but the kids and I love to see the tall stalks growing in the garden. It is ornamental and makes me smile, so I will keep trying. I did harvest a few delicious cobs that I used in making salsa and other salads, so it wasn’t a total waste.

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Homemade pasta sauce

I love having a small garden. Two raised garden beds were more than plenty for our family of four. We grew corn, green peppers, cucumbers, two types of tomatoes, and carrots. We had so many tomatoes that we gave bags and bags away to friends and neighbors. It brings me joy to see it grow and to see the kids enjoying picking and cooking with our fresh ingredients. Here is the summation of our first attempt to make our own pasta sauce:

Our morning hunt for fresh produce!

Our morning hunt for fresh produce!

The corn is doing so well this year.  It makes me smile!

The corn is doing so well this year. It makes me smile!

A day's loot.

A day’s loot.

Took the stems off, made slits in the tops, and boiled them for 3-4 minutes to loosen skins.

Took the stems off, made slits in the tops, and boiled them for 3-4 minutes to loosen skins.

The kids ran them under cold water until cool enough to touch.

The kids ran them under cold water until cool enough to touch.

Taking the skins off.

Taking the skins off.

Next, we cut them in half, cut out the core, and scooped the seeds out with our fingers.

Next, we cut them in half, cut out the core, and scooped the seeds out with our fingers.

We sauteed onion and garlic for a few minutes in olive oil.  Then, we added some basil, diced tomatoes, and some salt and pepper.  It simmered for 20-30 minutes and was heavenly to eat.

We sauteed onion and garlic for a few minutes in olive oil. Then, we added some basil, diced tomatoes, and some salt and pepper. It simmered for 20-30 minutes and was heavenly to eat.

We used this sauce to make baked ziti, and it was so delicious.  It does take a lot of work and many tomatoes to make one batch, but I think my family appreciated the effort when they tasted it.  Here is a link to a detailed recipe I used to guide our process.  I am sad that the summer is winding down and our garden is needing to be cleared out for next year.  I am thankful to have a freezer full of cut up peppers, corn, and blueberries to enjoy all winter.  The sowing isn’t always easy, but it sure does pay off when you reap the benefits!