Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Plant a Row Profile: Jessie & Dave Kostelnik

As part of our Plant a Row for the Hungry program (get more info here!), we're featuring some of our participating backyard gardeners on the blog.  These kind folks have committed to donating extra produce from their home gardens this spring and summer to local food banks and soup kitchens.

We're excited to have Jessie and Dave Kostelnik as one of our first donations this year: 15 pounds of delicious, beautiful homegrown beets, ready to head out the Haven this week. Dave, who works at Feast!, and Jessie, who just finished her PhD in clinical psychology at UVA,  moved to Charlottesville from Manhattan seven years ago, and have been trying to pass themselves off as southerners ever since. "In our quest to become more southern we have tried (and failed) at playing the banjo, but we did name our dog Fiddle so perhaps that counts for something in the grand scheme of things?"

We give them an A for effort, plus Fiddle is pretty cute.

LFH: Tell us a little bit about your garden! How big is it? What's growing?

J&D: The garden is about 15’ x 20’. That might not seem big to anyone else, but it's huge to us. We've got mixed greens, rainbow carrots, beets, peas, fingerling potatoes, blue lake green beans and haricots verts, a few varieties of heirloom tomatoes and a bunch of herbs. Plus we were surprised when last year's nasturtium came back (uninvited), and a random cucumber plant showed up (also uninvited - to my knowledge we've never planted cucumber). We recently planted a strawberry patch, some blueberry bushes, and a fig tree (do partridges like fig trees or only pear?). Glad you asked -- always game for bragging about what we're growing.

LFH: How did you learn to garden? Trial and error? Books? Websites?
J&D: I think it's safe to say that we fall into the "trial and error" category here. Our first error several years ago was thinking that bigger zucchini = better ... We let ours get HUGE and then made a big show of photographing them while neighbors tried not to laugh in our faces. So if you ever want to know how to grow massive zucchini that are barely edible let us know. We’ll hook you up.

LFH: Best part about gardening? Worst?
J&D: Hard to pick among the fun of checking every morning to see how things have changed, the mind-clearing effects of weeding, the guilt-free tan, and the raw satisfaction. But, I'd say my favorite gardening activity is watering the tomatoes, or weeding them just after they've been watered - love the smell they give off! The worst: watching stuff that you fail to harvest and use go bad. We’re glad the Hub accepts donations and has started this program!

LFH: And finally -- favorite way to prepare something from the garden?
Jessie: Mixed greens with aromatic sea salt and Greek olive oil from Feast!.
Dave: Roasted beet salad with walnuts and Caromont goat cheese or haricots verts with herb butter.

Yum! Thanks for playing, guys!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing guys - this is inspirational (and quite funny to boot)!