This post marks my six month anniversary as a blogger. I want to commemorate the milestone by sharing a series of events and blog posts that brought together for me how much my new blogging community has impacted my life in these six short months. About a month ago, I was up to my neck in fresh fruit and vegetables, embarking on more preserving ventures than ever before, and actually feeling a little stressed out about stuff going bad before I got a chance to put it up. It was peak season around here, more produce kept landing in my lap, and I just couldn’t say “no.” Blog posts kept popping up from those who have years of experience and insight, giving me great recipes, inspiration, and urging me to, yes, pick up those peppers and $1.00 a pound to add even more to what I was preserving. Continue reading
If one was trapped in a windowless room with a connection to the gardening blogosphere as their only outlet to the world outside, they would know that fall (and spring) is just around the corner. Gardening bloggers around the northern hemisphere are dropping hints that the weather is about to change abruptly: cooler nights, harvesting things just in time, savoring the last of the summer bounty.
Here, in Southern California, I straddle two mind sets. The mother and social parts of me have to prepare for at least another month of very warm temperatures and the possibility of another heat wave. No matter what the calendars say, it is still really summer, even after September 21. The gardener part of me, though, is keenly aware that fall is upon us. Continue reading
My first introduction to canning was in college. My housemate and friend worked at an organic farm on the edge of town. Part of his pay was a full share in the CSA. Every week he brought home not only a box packed full of produce, but often the extras gleaned from the rows that week. And so, we did some canning.
A few years later, I moved back to Los Angeles, far away from farms on the edge of town and seasonal eating, and it was a while before I rolled up my sleeves and put a big pot of water onto boil again.
I have planted nearly everything that is going into the ground for the summer season. After I pull up the garlic, I will make that bed home to four more tomato plants, as well as a few more eggplant and possibly another zucchini. That leaves one small bed for the peppers, and that is it!
In my very first post for this blog I announced to the world my commitment to grow exclusively from seed this season, and I am sticking to it. I laid out the things I had learned about starting seeds up to that point. Here is that list: Continue reading
Some things are so easy: zucchini, winter squash, lettuce, carrots, chard, beets…even tomatoes. Some things are not, one in particular: peppers. I am having a go at getting these things to germinate. In my first attempt, I planted five varieties, a total of 15 seeds. I have three surviving plants. For round two, I planted 4 varieties, a total of 32 seeds. Six have sprouted, representing three of the four varieties. I had to abandon the warming pad because I had other veggies already sprouting that needed sunlight immediately. I have no good indoor place with direct sunlight. Luckily, several days of very warm weather helped some of those seeds to do what they do. But, why not the others?
I made a commitment to plant everything from seed this growing season. Aside from producing a garden full of delicious fruits and vegetables, growing from seed, heirloom and organic, feels like an act of defiance, a way to give the finger, so to speak, to companies such as Monsanto and all the legislation and regulation that support their practices. Continue reading