11 September 2008

gardening 101

One of the nice things about Southern California is that you can grow things all year round. One of the downsides of living in LA, is that most people rent and in a renting situation, it isn’t a given that you will have space for a garden. Luckily, I have a patio. It isn’t huge but it’s big enough that I felt the need, the need to seed! I picked up a few herbs from Armstrong 's, but I was feeling like I needed something a little more adventurous. So, last Saturday I took a class on container gardening with Marta at HomeGrown Los Angeles. 7 or 8 of us urban gardener wannabes met at her (amazing) space downtown and she talked to us about the ins and outs of container gardening. What kind of container to use, how to prepare your soil, watering, when to harvest, etc. and then she showed us how to mix the soil (a mixture of potting soil, compost (with horse poop!), greensand and veggie fertilizer), and we each planted three lettuces, 2 herbs and an edible flower. I can’t harvest it for another two weeks or so (you should wait until the plant has doubled in size) but doesn’t it look so nice?

It joins my herbs (basil, rosemary, parsley, chives, lemon verbena, thai basil, and mint) who don’t seem to be growing that much. They aren’t dying but they aren’t getting any bigger either. Maybe they need some of the heady horse poop compost to help them along?


starrdeb said...

Hello this Mommy, better known as Fyrefly (you REALLY DON'T want to know) You're blogging is advantageous in that I won't be calling you because everyone is asking "How's Jess" and I say "Oh, I don't know...she's lost in the land of make believe and can't find her way..." Your photos are as always, spectacular - you truly have a gift. I love you my beautiful daughter and am so glad you found a way to stay connected.

Aaron said...

One of the favorite things about my apartment is my gigantic roof deck. Sadly the growing season is over up here in the North East area of the country (remember us?). This summer I grew peppers and tomatoes.

I thought the Roma tomatoes that I planted would thrive in the abundant sun I get from facing southwest, but they couldn't handle it. I guess you can't always believe the pictures on the front of tomato sauce jars, you know, the ones of tomato vines growing lush on some Mediterranean cliff.

The peppers were a different story. A friend tipped me off to a place that was selling exotic peppers earlier this spring and I raced over to pick up a few different varieties; Peruvian Purple, Lemon Drop, Jalepeno, and an Orange Habanero. If you can find them, definitely try your hand at growing the first two I mentioned. The Peruvian Purple is wonderful to look at and works well as an ornamental, although the fruits are rather small. Spiciness is less than a Jalepeno, but hits you right away, then cools off.

Now, the whole reason I even started to respond (besides to let you know that someone was reading your wonderful blog ;) is to rave about the Lemon Drop pepper. The flavor of these peppers is like nothing I've ever had. Spicy (varying from a little spicier than a jalepeno to much hotter than one) with wonderful citrus overtones. Chopped up and fried they worked wonderful as a pizza topping the other night. They worked equally as well at adding some nice spicy flavor to my gazpacho recipe. And watching the plant grow is really interesting too. The peppers start off a really bright lime green color, then acquire purple spots as they turn almost completely purple, before ripening to their final lemon yellow color. The mature fruit is about 2" long.

Now you just need to tell Pete to man-up and start liking spicy food! ("You put cayenne powder in your chocolate cake?! What the hell is wrong with you people!")

Bon Appetite!