Mary Beth Shaddix Mary Beth Shaddix
January 23, 2014

Planning and plotting our new Spring garden gives us a chance to look back at the last year. What worked? What hilariously failed? Who visited our kitchen garden...and how can we keep other certain furry visitors out?

8.  Strawberry popcorn success!

Cute little ears in small soldier rows, these ruby jewels were a surprise treat. We popped a few ears in the microwave--whole on the cob!--for taste testing, too.

7. Put in a pickle:

What sounds better than a summer day at the farm shooting a pickling party story? How about a day jumping mud puddles, ducking from torrential rain, and hiding under the barn's tin roof? Preservationist Shannon Walker of Blackberry Farm joined us in the Cooking Light garden for a banner day of sharing harvests, talking seeds, and swapping garden stories. We might have needed an ark, but our attitudes were sunny.

6. "Everybody was Kung Fu fighting!"

If you have chickens, you know what I mean by watching "Chicken TV." There's no shortage of entertainment, especially when the newly hatched chicks have just discovered what wings can do. This action shot was an Instagram favorite.

5. A PBS crew came by to see our green world. 

Action! We've got no shortage of that in the Cooking Light kitchen garden. Host Joe Lamp'l and Director Carl Pennington filmed an episode for Growing a Greener World, showing what it's like behind the scenes to get our garden harvests from seed to plate. We had lots of laughs, good eats, and hilarious bloopers. View the episode for tips on handling abundant harvests.

4.  I'm going to need a bigger car...

This is what it's all about. Summer on a plate. And in a box. And another crate. And a bag. And grab that extra colander while you're at it...

3. A farm first: fuzzy chicks hatching 

People, this is an American Idol finale moment of "Chicken TV." Maybe no confetti, but a peeping and pipping chick breaking into the world is an amazing site to see. I was lucky to see a dozen more! Thanks to P. Allen Smith for a memorable birthday present of these beautiful heritage breed eggs. That gift now gives me breakfast daily.

2. "You're not a real farmer. Where are your overalls?!"

One of the most precious, precocious three-year-olds to visit the garden proclaimed instantaneously to me, "you are not a real farmer! Where are your overalls?" We picked carrots together, kicked mud puddles, ate fresh blueberries, and she was still unconvinced. A few days later, these arrived in the mail...monogrammed as official Cooking Light garden gear. Thanks Tiffany and Phillip. Just wait 'til you see yours!

1.  CAUTION: Heavy Load 

This sucker should have come with a caution sticker: Heavy Load. Randy Mayor, our photographer, got a shattering surprise when this mammoth melon crashed the glass lightbox. This, however, was unfortunately not caught on camera. Never a dull moment!

With video cameras rolling and Instagram at the ready, you will certainly see more memorable moments from this year's growing adventures. Stay tuned. Share your favorite garden moments with us via hashtag #PickFresh.

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