Archives for posts with tag: herbs

this past weekend, our loft building in downtown los angeles had the first planting of our community garden. we started with a tabula rasa, added some organic soil, trellises, stepping stones, lanterns, tables and chairs.

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we all agreed we wanted it to be organic, so no gmo’s or pesticides allowed. one of our members, and original instigators, linda, also known as the farmers market fairy, was able to pick up a good portion of the seedlings at the wednesday’s santa monica farmers market, and dan, our hoa president, was able to find the remaining at armstrong’s nursery, including a dwarf meyer lemon tree he has named ‘lucy.’

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to celebrate the occasion, dan mixed up a pitcher of refreshing strawberry basil cocktails, which with all the herbs we are growing was a fitting premonition and inspiration for upcoming garden cocktail parties.

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we spread out our newly adopted wee loved ones, guided by what little knowledge we knew of what needs sun or shade, and some other random tips we had collected.

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with that…we started digging.

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once everything was planted, we did a trial watering to get the roots good and soaked.

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we are all aware that urban gardening has it’s challenges. for instance, here in skidrokyo, we find trash thrown over the fence daily, like this welcoming pile of clothing on this particular afternoon…

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…but bringing together our neighbors…

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…and seeing those vibrant green sprouts sticking out of the dark brown soil…

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…makes it all worth it.

‘when i go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, i feel such an exhilaration and health that i discover that i have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what i should have done with my own hands.’  -ralph waldo emerson

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for those interested, here is a list of the fruits, vegetables and herbs we have planted thus far:

  • arugula
  • spinach
  • mint
  • spearmint
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • mediterranean thyme
  • rosemary
  • variegated sage
  • oakleaf lettuce
  • chamomile
  • cilantro
  • lavender
  • basil
  • thai sweet basil
  • purple basil
  • oregano
  • mexican oregano
  • greek oregano
  • poblano pepper
  • fatali pepper
  • serrano pepper
  • green bell pepper
  • red bell pepper
  • yellow bell pepper
  • maui onion
  • bunching onions
  • honeydew
  • snap beans
  • appalachian pole bean
  • tsungshigo tomato
  • cherokee purple tomato
  • hawaiian pineapple tomato
  • sungold cherry tomato
  • sausage tomato
  • armenian cucumber
  • persian cucumber
  • meyer lemon

even before my first harvest of dave jr. i have been looking for different recipes to test out with his delicious sweet and tangy fruits. a friend at work brings in vegetables from her garden from time to time. this week was yellow zucchini. i am a fan of most vegetables, and although the squash family has never been a favorite, i was not going to turn down a fresh home garden grown zucchini.

doing some quick googling for recipes, i found this on thekitchn.com. i chose to use a grill pan for the zucchini, and it worked just fine. while they cooked, i cut up my yellow cherry tomatoes and herbs (i had dill, tarragon and chives on hand.) i chose an espresso balsamic vinegar from amphora to drizzle over, and tossed in the rest of the ingredients.

of course they used green zucchini, grape red tomatoes and a different mix of herbs, but i’ll bet mine turned out just as tasty. i served it to accompany cacio e pepe, but this would be a wonderfully fresh side to any summer meal.

note: i liked this zucchini recipe so much i think i’ll try out more from this list on thekitchn.com, perhaps proving that i like squash after all.

if you are like me and live in a loft condo where there is little to no green space on the property, or have to jump through hoops to get approval from your hoa to utilize communal space as a garden, there are solutions.

the windowfarms project has developed a way to grow fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs in your own home:

even though i do think it would look really cool hanging in my window, it does seem like quite an undertaking, and i worry if i have a green thumb to be successful.

i am also concerned about any possible bpa or other chemicals leaching from the plastic water bottles into the plants. they do state this on their FAQ’s page:

“Some scientists in the community are unconcerned, postulating that the size and complexity of the BPA molecule size and complexity is likely too much for plants root hairs to uptake. To be safe, the community and core team are developing alternatives to the use of plastic water bottles. We are also looking for science-minded volunteers with the appropriate equipment to take-on the challenge of measuring any chemical leaching to verify these concerns.”

so, i did a little research. here is what nestle waters (their 1.5l bottle is the recommended bottle to use in the window farm system) has to say on their ‘are plastic water bottles safe?’ page:

“BPA is not present in our bottled water packaging smaller than three gallons. Our single-serve bottles (typically 1.5 liters and smaller) are made from PET plastic (marked with the “1” symbol), which is flexible and lightweight.”

but then, as somewhat of a disclaimer, at the bottom of the page, they state this:

“The available scientific evidence indicates that bottled water is safe when stored properly and consumed in a reasonable amount of time. We recommend consumers treat bottled water as they would any food product and store it at or below room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and away from solvents and chemicals.”

i’m not ruling this out as an option, but being that window farming is dependent on direct sunlight, and that there are numerous warnings on re-using plastic bottles with a #1 on them, i might just wait for verification, or at least more evidence, that planting in them is safe.

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