Two Years of Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens

Two years ago this month I started writing Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens blog.  Thank you all for your enthusiasm and encouragement as I’ve posted stories and pictures about what I’ve been doing in the garden and the kitchen.  Your responses online and in person have been one of the biggest pleasures of writing this blog.

When I began this blog I wasn’t sure where it would take me.  What would it be like to write regularly about gardening and cooking, two activities that have been constant pleasures in my life for years?  I’m pleased to say that this blog has turned out to be a very satisfying way both to stop and think about what I’m doing and to figure out how to share my experiences and discoveries.

Many of the posts I’ve written have given me the opportunity to focus on growing, harvesting and cooking a single vegetable.  Having an excuse to pull out gardening books and seed catalogs, old article files and new Internet resources has been a wonderful way to review and build on years of lessons taught by trial and error.  The pleasures have been the same in the kitchen, revisiting favorite recipes, techniques and cookbooks, experimenting with new ways to prepare vegetables, often inspired by current ideas from favorite cookbook authors and food columnists.  There are so many engaging food and garden writers.  It’s been a treat to make the time to read them regularly.

In addition to vegetables I’ve written about garden planning and about the infrastructure that underlies the garden.  Seed ordering, planting calendars and seed starting begin each gardening year and irrigation, mulch, bean and pea structures, bug and bird barriers and protection from cold, heat and wind all help the plants thrive.

Figuring out how to share what I’ve learned from experience and research has been satisfying too.  The question “What do I want people to learn?” is left over from my years as a teacher but it continues to help me focus, to select what’s important and let the rest go. Writing a first draft and revising and revising again until I’ve found what I really want to say are processes I deeply enjoy.  And then there are the photographs! WordPress makes it so easy to insert images into the text, color photographs to illustrate stories about a beautiful vegetable, delicious meal or piece of garden infrastructure.  From the beginning of this blog, my husband Scott has provided exquisite photos.  And yes, we do get to eat all the food he photographs.

Finally, I’ve discovered that writing this blog has been a way to think more about what it’s like to be in the kitchen garden and at the table in all of the seasons of the gardening year. As I reread two years of posts, I noticed how often I referred to light, to the gradually lengthening days of spring, the long days of summer sun, the early dark of fall and winter as background to the vegetables I was planting, harvesting or cooking.  Kale buds, asparagus spears, early lettuce welcome the growing light of spring, dinner plates full of fresh green and the beginning of a new planting season.  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans highlight long, warm days and evenings, summer dinners of sliced tomatoes, crisp peppers, caponata, sweet beans.  Root vegetables mark shortening days, harvesting in nearly dark late afternoons and sharing hearty dinners indoors, blinds drawn and candles illuminating the table. Looking back on these posts I’m also struck by how quickly the year in vegetables goes by.  But writing this blog has also slowed down the garden year, giving me the chance to notice and enjoy the vegetable markers of each subtle change.  I hope I’ve given you the same experience.

P.S.

To make it easier to find posts on different topics, I’ve created new categories on the right hand side of the blog under the heading Browse by Subject.  Just click on Spring Vegetables, Summer Vegetables, Fall/Winter Vegetables, or Garden Planning and Infrastructure to find the posts on each of these topics.  WordPress also makes it easy to search the entire blog for specific topics.  Just type a topic into the Search box on the upper right hand side of the page above the garden photo and click the Return key.  Or just browse the blog by month.

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10 thoughts on “Two Years of Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens

  1. Congratulations, Debby! Your blog is so inspiring. Let us know when you’ll be out in the Methow next. It’d be great to catch up.

    XOXO,
    Sara

  2. Such a thoughtful and beautiful reflection on the impact of writing about something you love. When involved with Field’s End, a writers workshop through the Bainbridge Public Library, I remember thinking and sharing the opinion, however lofty it might sound, that writing can save lives. I know this for a fact in my own family, and I know how transformative it can be in the lives of many. Your inward and outward journey has been such a gift to your readers. Your knowledge is so vast and that you choose to share it a generous and loving act. You make us all slow down to marvel at an asparagus frond, the greeny-green-ness of a fava bean, or to salivate over a beautiful plate of something delicious you have created with garden treasures, summoning up immediately the happiness and life-changing events that can occur around a table. Thank you for your blog: it’s informative, fun to read, inspiring, beautiful, humbling, and the next best thing to a visit with you and Scott.

  3. Hi Debbie,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful gardening blog! I find my self using it as a reference guide going back to past entries often in reminding my self when and how to keep my garden and harvest processing in order! What a treasure your shared knowledge is!
    Anne

  4. Hi Debbie,

    Please continue writing your blog! While I’m in the garden or the kitchen there is always reason to think of you and Scott. Happy gardening and cooking!

    Heleen

  5. Hmmm. I think there may be a book in your future. And you’ve already written most of it. Your posts, as well as your recipes, are yummy. Thank you so much.

    Love and blessings,

    Lorna

    On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 9:40 AM, Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens wrote:

    > ** > Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens posted: “Two years ago this month I > started writing Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens blog. Thank you all for your > enthusiasm and encouragement as Ive posted stories and pictures about what > Ive been doing in the garden and the kitchen. Your responses online and > in “

  6. Hi, Debbie –
    I have often thought, after reading a new addition to your blog, that I need to write and tell you how much pleasure it gives me to see “Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens” in my Inbox. Yours is my “surrogate garden”, you know – since I have none myself! I have, however, a son and daughter-in-law who have a lovely garden patch at their home in Everett, and who subscribe to your blog and read and learn, and whose bounty I occasionally get to sample. So I do feel something of a connection to you that way. More, I have often used and enjoy your cooking suggestions, and am a complete convert to roasting veggies “Debbie’s way”! Mine never look quite as lovely as Scott’s photos of your meals, but the taste is marvelous! I just want to thank you and Scott for the sweet air and “feel” of the garden you bring into our lives, for your descriptive writing which I enjoy as much as ever, and for the awareness of the cycle of the seasons your blogs always prompt. It is a goodness to “visit” with you in this way, now that we can’t walk down the hallway to do it!

    p.s. – I read through this blog today, fearing that it was a reflection with bad news at the end….that you had decided to move on to other kinds of writing! Glad I was wrong!! Hugs, LR

  7. Happy Anniversary! Indeed, time flies. Nice to be spending it in such worthwhile pursuits. Thanks for all your efforts, talents and teaching!
    Diane

  8. Debby, I love your blog. Ive never been a blog person, but yours is wonderfully written and so useful. Thank you!

    Candace

  9. Hi Debby,

    This is a wonderful personal statement about all that you love to do and share with others. I just got around to reading it, and really appreciate what you offer as you step back 2 years into the process. Although I do not write back to let you know how much I appreciate reading these, I always feel as if I have been gifted, and knowing it is from you and your garden makes it even more special.

    I hope you and Scott are doing well. I still hope to schedule a time to meet to get photos. But I have been busy. Too busy it seems. Will you be around over these next few weeks?

    Best to you,

    Peg

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