Sometimes the real glory of the mashed potatoes is not in the fluffy white. It’s not in the gravy filling the soft crater and Vesuviusing down onto the Pompeii of peas beside. It is tucked away in the forgotten skins not completely peeled off and adding a delightful taste and texture that were unintended but are now savored. Organic home gardening is much the same way. The adulations usually go to the royal broccoli crown, the vibrant carrot and beetroot, or the robust garlic head. A backyard garden provides a chance to eat not only the celebrated parts but also revel in the forgotten “skin” by enjoying parts of the plants that we perhaps were not aware were edible, and sadly are often not commercially available.
Much of gardening is waiting. Sow the pea and wait months until the first pod is picked. Plant the broccoli and wait until the head has fully formed. The best way to get through this tedious time is to eat your way through it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love trees. In fact I adore trees. Oak, Sycamore, Ficus, Juniper, Jacaranda, Magnolia, and of course the glorious Pine. There is no sweeter sound than the breeze through the pines. When that gentle whistle is audible, it is a good signifier that you are in the right place.
Despite my love and respect for all varieties of the stoic giants, I will go to war with their roots, ripping and tearing through them with a ferocious anger. In the urban farming setting trees can be one of my worst combatants. On the simplest level, the shade they throw about can stunt and stifle the best effort to grow food. But underneath the surface is where the creeping beast dwells, waiting to attack and suck the life out of months of work. This is the long reaching and relentless monster of tree roots.
Farmscape is excited to announce we are offering a class this weekend on starting a summer vegetable garden. The class will be hosted at the home of a Farmscape member in Atwater Village, and will focus on the process of starting a summer vegetable garden in Los Angeles. The event will take place from 9 AM - 12 PM, and will cost $90. Tickets and more information about the location are available at our Eventbrite page.
Topics to be covered:
Farmer Meredith Kotelec will teach the course. Meredith has farmed Hollywood, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, and Los Feliz for Farmscape for over a year. She has a BS in Horticulture and Crop production from the University of Maryland, and previously worked maintaining the USDA people's garden in Washington, DC. She also has extensive experience working on organic farms.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.
Farmscape's Dan Allen writes today in the Huffington Post about the financial side of the gardening hobby. He finds that, at least for the average would-be edible gardener, that the labor and materials for hobbyist gardening will not paint such a thrifty picture as is generally assumed.
As the baseball fields across the country are meticulously mowed, raked, and groomed, so are the garden beds turned, amended, and prepared. The solid ‘plap’ of the ball hitting the well-worked pocket of a glove and the sweet tangy scent of a juvenile tomato plant are equal signals of summer. They are both harbingers of the warm season ahead, but more importantly they are prophets of hope. All the mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities of past seasons are erased. There are no losses or strikeouts, no aphids or powdery mildew. The fan possesses the belief that this year will be the one they have been waiting for.
Just as the manager must maneuver his players, as the gardener I must make decisions about my plants. In spring training (garden planning) we both study the roster and line-ups, placing the players according to their unique strengths and characteristics. Pondering the arsenal of warm season crops eventually gives me my opening day roster.
Pitching wins championships, so there I begin. The summer squash clan will be my starting rotation with zucchini in the first spot, followed by yellow crookneck and patty pan. I know they will deliver with consistency day in and day out, becoming the trustworthy anchor that will provide winning harvests. The vining beans and cucumbers fill in the middle relief spots, not too flashy and rarely famed, but ideally they can bridge the gap until my closer sprints with fanfare from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning. Here come the hot peppers, bursting with fiery delivery and unpredictable personality. Filling the role of a zany closer, the peppers pack a powerful punch.