Thursday, March 31, 2016


Lettuce is the plant for novice gardeners. It germinates almost overnight when it's warm, like now, is a cook's best friend, and grows really fast. Here's how I do it from seeds.
I fill a pot or container with potting soil. Sprinkle some seeds around. Add a light layer of more potting soil. Water carefully, gently, lovingly. Leave in the sun. Keep them watered so the germinating seeds do not dry out, every day. In no time there will tiny plants peeking up from beneath the soil. Now, here's the important part. Let the first true leaves develop (see plants at the bottom of the picture). It takes about a week. Don't forget to water. Then take them to the garden, gently take them by their seeds leaves, lift them out of the pot and plant in a prepared bed 4 inches apart. Water with tender loving care and in a month you will be eating salads for pennies.
Tender, loving, care required. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The weather has been unexpectedly warm here for the past two weeks. Most importantly the temperatures have been in the 60s at night. Hmm. So, I plant and everything is growing great guns! We've been eating salad for days. Potatoes are up! Way up. Baby broccoli and Swiss Chard plants are transplanted. Peas in our backyard garden are so, so. Kale continues. Beets and turnips germinated. I'm using the thinned ones as microgreens in our salads. Onions, garlic and shallots look good which leads to a story about onions. 
We planted onion sets and garlic cloves at the same time in October, just like we always do. El Nino sent twenty days for torrential rains in October that kicked off a monsoon season for the whole winter. Miraculously the garlic survived. The onions took it badly rotting from the inside out. We cut our loses, dug them out and replanted both sets and transplants. Much better. 
We now have two community garden beds in St Pauls. It makes a hug difference to have full sun all day. I'll show pictures when things are up a bit. 
Today's feature photo is parsley. The unsung hero of most dinners. When the rains came in October I had three beautiful established plants. This beauty in a raised bed is the only survivor overwintering with it's companions thyme, sage and rosemary, nicely. 
Italian flat leaf parsley.

Tuscan Herb Salt
Four cups of sage, rosemary, parsley and thyme
Six to eight cloves of garlic
1/2 to 1 cup kosher salt
Chop the herbs. Mix with salt. Pour onto a sheet pan.
Leave on counter for several days stirring occasionally until herbs are dry.
Use all winter on pork, chicken, roasted root vegetables and in sauces.