Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Greg and I have decided that in the coming year we are going to grow as much of our own food as possible. I say "Greg and I have decided" but really he's just being a good sport and going along with it. In addition to growing our own food we are going to start living and eating healthier, growing our own food should help a lot in this area. In case anyone else is interested in all of this eating, growing, living healthy business I'll post recipes and other tid-bits for your blog reading pleasure.
Though I've been gardening for a few years now this is the first year I've really put effort into winter gardening. I think I may actually like it better than summer gardening, if you can believe that. You hardly ever have to water and there are far fewer intimidating bugs. The ground is perpetually moist making weeding and stump pulling a breeze. I'm amazed at how many things can be grown in Southern California in the winter. In our garden right now we have lemons, spinach, peas, garlic, mustard, swiss chard, a million types of lettuce, wheatgrass, onions, parsley, thyme, rosemary, three types of carrots, nasturtiums and soon to come, Sorrel! Of course the success of all the plants is hinging on the weather, what else is new? Every morning I wake up and pull the blinds praying that frost hasn't killed anything. We've had frost at least three times and everything is peachy, although the tomatoes and basil finally kicked the bucket, but that was expected. Hey, they made it through December, I think that's impressive.
I've been very interested in greens this week. I love cooking with spinach and want to start branching out to other cooking greens as well. Hence the mustard and swiss chard. I read about sorrel a few weeks ago and finally picked up some seed yesterday. It purportedly tastes like lemony spinach and grows back year after year. I'm excited to see if it works well in our climate.
Nasturtim leaves are also catching my attention, I planted nasturtiums everywhere last spring but they did very poorly, I think the summer was just too darn hot for them (and many other plants). Since the weather has cooled the plants have been taking off. No flowers though, but I can live with that. I've known for awhile that the leaves and flowers are edible, but apparently you can cook the leaves like spinach, though the flavor is described as "radish like." Hmmm. We'll see how that goes. The leaves have ten times as much vitamin c as lettuce, not bad. Aside from sweltering heat the plants aren't picky, they actually prefer poorer soils. A companion gardening book I read recommended planting them under fruit trees. I think to lure aphids away from the tree, but the book didn't say specifically. I plan on planting a ton of nasturtiums under our lemon tree in the spring, we'll see what happens. It certaily would be nice to have greens past mid-spring.
Here is an interesting recipe I found for Nasturtium Pesto, I've never tried it but plan to soon. I'm concerned about the lack of cheese, since cheese is awesome and all other pestos I make include cheese. Also the amount of oil is alarming. I'm going to experiment with this one and get back to you, feel free to do the same. For now ENJOY! (or not, whatever.)
Into a food processor or blender, put the following ingredients:
4 cups packed nasturtium leaves
3 to 5 cloves of garlic
1 and 1/2 cups olive oil
2 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup walnuts
Process the mixture until smooth.