When planting a garden, it is always nice to consider that which wants to live in your area, rather than what you want to grow. Let me explain. Here in Hawaii with the multitude of microclimates, one often feels fortunate when they discover something that becomes almost “wild” in their garden. Other gardeners mope and complain, and rip those plants out. On the top of my mind are such culinary wonders as mint and Florence (bulb) fennel. I know many who can grow these plant, but do not. They claim that they do not like the taste of them. The point that I often make is simple: learn to like what likes to grow where you are. It makes life oh so much easier, and it brings you into new culinary adventures as well. Letting some of your beans and greens go to seed, and reseed themselves is a great joy, if you let it be. Let your garden be a little less controlled, a little more lush, and give up on trying to dictate what grows where, and when. Be an observer, and celebrate how nature leads the way with gardening lessons just as important as those that we search out in workshops and books.
If you notice that your Giant Red Mustard seems to shine in your garden, leg it over to your nearest library and seek out recipes that call for mustard greens. Mint is expensive in the shops, but loves to tuck in under a drippy eve, or hose. Mint pestos, mint coolers, mint dappled in fresh salads, or asian style noodle soups. Research and celebrate, and I promise your gardening days will shine a little bit brighter..
Above Image: mint becomes a lovely ground cover underneath edible radish blooms. This no till garden has many layers of life, just like nature itself. These radish blooms will soon give way to radish seed pods that can also be harvested young and chopped into your dishes to make a meal sparkle.