Archive for October, 2008

With 300 different gardeners there is always a lot to see out at the Community Gardens.  This morning, after building a little onion patch and a sprinkling of water…I took a quick and brisk walk around.  Here’s what I saw:

A couple of really nice chrysanthemum plants, definitely want to plant a few of these next summer…

And, next year I must have several dahlias!  They are just spectacular right now, and have been for months.

And from the daisy corner…back eyed susan and a miniature shasta daisy looked happy…

The lovely cone flower, also known as echinacea.

And, perhaps my favorite photo of the day…the sunflower.  Notice the little bee and his tiny shadow!  All of the aforementioned flowers are also edible.  I don’t know about the sunflower actually..if it doesn’t get seeds, I think the rest is actually not good and the petals might even be very toxic.  Oh well, it’s just darn purdy!!  I am filing all of these hardy and beautiful plants away in my folder for next summer!!


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Okay, how cute are these radishes? I found the seeds at OSH, and we threw in both packets. They really grow almost overnight…so here we are 5 days in…I might have little sprouts to greet me today when I water! Here are the other radishes we planted…

How to eat? Kiely likes them with the ranch dipping. That is how they served them at Garden when she was in 1st grade. There are lots of anecdotes about old farmers eating radish sandwiches with a thick layer of sweet butter…but I like the sound of a little cream cheese or better yet my favorite St. Andre, on a hearty bread with some tender new lettuce…like mache…I am looking for mache seeds today!

Oh sure, of course here they are! Now let’s see where I can pick them up…sounds like a trip to H & H might be in order!

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The hoshi gaki method of drying persimmons is traditional to Japan, and came to America with Japanese farmers who settled in California’s Placer County. Associated with long life and good fortune in the Japanese culture, they are a treasured holiday gift.

They start out like this, firm and ripe – peeled and hanging, getting massaged…

In the patient style of drying, they hang for weeks…

And end up looking like this…the white bloom is natural fructose rising to the surface in the process of drying. Penryn Orchard, who I discovered on the KCRW Market Report, produces this traditional Japanese delicacy – Hoshi Gaki. The site states you must pre-order this season – so go there and check it out. You can also buy fresh persimmons from his stand right now at the Wednesday market in Santa Monica.

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Barrie and I tag teamed the strawberry patch and have gotten one flat in the two mounds. I think we will throw caution to the wind and plant in the border too! Looking forward to bowls and bowls of “home” strawberries as my kids call them. I will be planting up another flat at my house…I think you need about 1/2 flat per berry crazed person in the house. Also, if you have a bumper crop, freezing for smoothies is a good plan.

Now, here’s the lettuce patch. I know it doesn’t look like much, yet. But, there are 4 packs of radish seeds, 2 6-packs of spinach, a full flat of swiss chard! We will be using the companion planting theory and an organized chaos method. By inter-planting the bug get a little confused about their food source. I have had very little trouble with critters and I think it is because there’s so much going on! More on the sources and research of good companions…

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Okay-I am giddy about the winter plot & all the options. Last year we got word end of January there was a spot in the community gardens for us and by the time it stopped raining so I could work the soil it was late February and getting unseasonably warm…So the assorted choi bolted and was used for flowers, the broccoli wasn’t very much of a crown when it was time to pick. This year I have high hopes and more experience with the conditions. Which are full sun, sunny, sun, all day every day.

This year Barrie and I are going to work the plot together. And, we’re getting an early start! We have sweet peas, radishes, spinach, chard, ton o broccoli, new oregano, old basil, onions, and two flats of strawberries…so far.

Oh, and there will be a lot of Icelandic poppies for our pollinators!!

Coming attractions: peas, carrots, leeks, parsnips, soy beans, arugala, lettuces, mache, fava beans, kholrabi, beets, cauliflower and more! I am in search of the Seascape Strawberry crowns and hope to find them at next week’s Santa Monica Farmers Market.

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It’s time to plant the winter garden! The change of seasons is always an exciting time – in the fall changing out of the vegetable plot, flower pots and planting trees is a real treat. In our mild climate, there are so many options in every category. I like to walk all the growers, nurseries, public gardens, community gardens & farmers markets to see what’s going on out there. After a stroll I sometimes like to flip through catalogs and books, such as Rosalind Creasy’s -The Edible Flower Garden. It is an inspiration and beautiful to look at, plus I can find details on the plants that I just found to be interesting or plentiful.

Right now I am seeing the English Daisy everywhere. I guess the little white flowers we used to make daisy chains growing up, are in fact the original English Daisy. Creasy writes that the double fluffy flowers we find at the nurseries have been selected by horticulturists over the years for their larger and fuller flowers. They thrive in full sun, moist soil and temperate climates.

The petals of the English Daisy are slightly bitter and would be great as a garnish on salads, soups or veggies…I think a nice wedge of brie with pomagranite seeds and a few daisies would be spectacular on a buffet or cheese course!

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I have been wanting to grow loofa. I have been wanting to see a loofa growing. So imagine my surprise when my neighbor at The Family Plot walked up and handed me one! It is crucial to let them dry on the vine. Three of them yielded a quart of seeds and I am hoping they were not cross pollinated with other gourds and will produce a terrific crop next year. At Garden the kids and teacher were amazed! So many folks think they come from the sea, but are in fact gourds. There are some detailed instructions on growing, drying and buying seeds here. This green one below is the right size, but is a month away from picking.

These are perfect and ready to pick. There were about 6 in the middle of the cage ready to go. I can’t wait to plant these seeds! I guess I am going to have to wait until the spring…but that just means February in So Cal. Below is the one we cracked out of the shell and here are a few of the flat black seeds.

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