I really should be a more judicious gardener.
Our house came with two raised planting beds—each the size of a bocce court—in the backyard. I start out every spring with an overload of enthusiasm, planting and fertilizing like a madwoman. As I’m digging away, I picture strolling out the garden every evening and serenely harvesting a variety of delicious, homegrown veggies for our dinner.
My plans don’t always work out. The first year here I decided to grow basil. I had no idea how much to plant, so I figured 36 would be a good number. I soon learned, of course, that basil grows like crazy—and that three dozen plants are way too many for anybody not supplying a restaurant. I spent that whole summer making pesto, and wound up delivering giant basil bouquets to my friends. I’m pretty sure the guys at the garden center are still laughing at me over that one.
I’m similarly indiscriminate with tomatoes. I enjoy different varieties, and the plants all look so delicate and cute when I plant them in the spring. By August, it’s a whole different story; after a summer in the hot sun, my sweet little sprouts have spiraled into a tomato jungle. They overtake everything in their path and, frankly, they scare me a little. Thank goodness for my green-thumbed sister-in-law, who more than once has patiently trimmed and staked my plants so they could offer up a healthy harvest.
I’ve learned my lesson. This year, the watchword is restraint. My garden beds are weeded and covered with plastic sheeting, and I’ve got a few (really!) tomato and basil plants growing alongside a couple of cucumbers and green peppers. Oh, and one pumpkin.
Now that I have myself in check, I’ve got room to grow a few more herbs. I planted rosemary, parsley, and even some dill. I’m looking forward to enjoying these just as much as my fresh veggies; I’ve even picked out a few yummy recipes to showcase my herb garden, including this delicious dill popcorn treat.
Dilly Lemon Munch
Yield: 2 quarts
- 2 quarts popcorn popped
- 2 tablespoons shredded lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon dill weed
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon low-sodium salt
1. Toss popcorn with lemon peel and dill weed.
2. Flavor enhances as popcorn stands.