Friday, August 5, 2011

Growing Gluten Free - Yes You Can!

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I am a sucker for growing things. I love to watch a pumpkin blossom turn into a tiny green globe, only to swell into an orange fruit (yes it's technically a fruit) that I will bake and mash up later for a better-than-you-could-ever-get-out-of-a-can, gluten free pumpkin pie. I get so excited seeing those little seedlings sprout up in their cozy cubes of soil.

Many of the things I have grown however have not turned out so well. Most of the tomato plants I grew two years ago got a severe mold infestation rendering them...well, fruitless. This is why to limit disappointment I've tried to grow foolproof plants that stand the droughts and take the rain. Here are some of my successes:
  • Spearmint - Most herbs are pretty easy to grow, and spearmint is no exception. The fresh stuff is also way better than you can get on any grocery store. It's great in tea, hot or iced. You can also snap off a sprig and chew it like gum to freshen your breath!
  • Pumpkins - Even with the drought we had, these little beauties still sent out loads of little fruits just right for making pies. You can save the seeds fairly easily (make sure your seeds are not patented) and use them again next year as well.
  • Oregano - I planted a packet of these back in 2002 and we still have a nice bunch of it in my herb garden. I let it reseed itself by making sure not to take too much of the new growth at each harvest. It then sends up little seed making pods. When they dry out in the fall I crumble them to release the seeds and sprinkle the contents on my oregano bed.
  • Cucumbers - Given the space and the hill we have, I plant them at the top and let them cascade down. Hubby likes not having to mow the spot too. Bonus!
  • Sunflowers - The seeds are great for roasting and they are truly a plant you can't goof up. Plus the quick growing stalk gives you something to marvel over every week.
Going gluten free opened me up to tons of fruits and veggies I wouldn't have tried before. Some of them I can grow. Those that I fear I might destroy, wasting my efforts and breaking my heart, I buy at Whole Foods.

Papaya, acorn squash, ginger, star fruit, kiwi, asparagus, bok choy, mango, butternut squash and fennel are all new and exciting foods I've grown to love since going gluten free. My "limited" choices opened my eyes up to the limitless possibilities these wonderful foods contained. Enjoy your GF gardening journey!

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