The Secret Of My Successive Planting

credit: Mother Earth NewsWhen you have a limited amount of space to farm, you want to make the most out of your designated planting area, containers included.  One way to maximize your alloted space is to integrate some successive planting methods.

Successive planting, also known as succession planting, is a proven way to extend your growing season and yield by spreading out the planting of multiple crops or planting varieties with different maturity times.  Here are some of the most effective successive planting methods:

Kale, Avocado & Cashew Salad With Persimmon-Lime Dressing

Fall-into-winter has always meant my favorite holidays and my favorite fruit: persimmons! I still remember the first time I had one: working an aimless, uninspiring job whose only benefit aside from paying the rent was proximity to Grand Central Market. During lunch one day, a co-worker pointed out a mountain of squat, orange fruits–Fuyu persimmons. Kinda looked like a shiny, squat alien apple. I bit into the thick, dark-orange skin and marveled at the sweetness.

It’s been a love affair ever since. I buy a bag every Tuesday from the Highland Park Farmers Market. And with only about a month left to enjoy this fruit, let’s go out with a bang!

Because my sweetheart fruit makes the “medicine” of all-star kale go down so nicely, I knew a kale-persimmon paring was in order. Kale’s that guy you know you “should” date, but you keep finding excuses to put off requests for lunch. I played around with adding chopped persimmon to kale salad–that was good. So good in fact, I wanted more sweet-persimmon yumminess: I wanted every kale leaf covered in persimmon candy. And so, here’s the result:

Kids Garden Starter Kit For All Ages

The other day my hairdresser asked, “Did you know all baby carrots, even organic, are washed in chlorine?” After some research, I found a balanced account of the baby carrot controversy. Bottom line: I’d rather grow my own.

Kids, especially seem attracted to the “baby” in baby carrots. What’s cuter than a bag or day-glow orange stubs? Picking your own carrot from the ground. Without pesticides and factory farming, home-grown carrots are petite and most tasty when picked young.

But even with my community garden and backyard container garden, carrot planting can seem daunting. That’s when I remind myself to start small with one positive action, “You just have to plant a seed”, I say. Literally.

Our Gardens Are Our Families

I remember my mother in the garden. On those hot, heavy east coast summer days, she’d be out in the lilies. Or pulling bittersweet while we capered about, pretending it was some dragon plant trying to capture us. We helped by dumping its hot orange roots over the bluff. Or at home, in Los Angeles, where she grew roses in wooden barrels till they were tall enough to peek into second story windows.

Tricky Food

Monique (AKA Moniquecooks around here) is the best so I went to her class. She was specializing in cauliflower. Like any mom, I am always trying to figure out how to get my family (read: husband) to eat more things. But I had some reservations. I have to admit (sorry Monique) that I am uncomfortable […]

Remembering Memorial Day

Remembering to Buy Local, Treat All Others with Kindness (especially your enemies) and Above All Be Green!!
As I type this I’m flying home from a very soul enlightening journey that I had in Nepal and Thailand.  It was the best sabbatical that I have ever been involved in.  It taught me that those with the fewest possessions can be the happiest and engaging people to talk with.  And I learned how to harness all of Nature’s great resources to bring light and power to the remotest parts of the world; to bring heat where there are no trees or oil or coal; and to bring food to some of the highest and coldest villages in all the world. Well in honor of learning so much from these wonderful people in faraway lands, I am encouraged to give back to some businesses a little closer to my home.

Easy-peasy Mac ‘n Cheesy Kale Chips

Kale abounds in the GreenUp! garden. Not only is it super nutritious, it’s also pretty easy to grow. But as yummy as kale salads are, they can get a bit dull, and they’re kind of hard to eat on the run. (Picture GreenUp! Guy biking all over town with a fork and bowl? Don’t think so.) But who wants to spend $8 a bag on health food store kale chips that are gone after one 3pm snack fest?

If you have 10 minutes, a toaster oven, a box of mac ‘n cheese, and a bunch of kale, you’ve got yourself a DIY portable powerhouse treat for under $5 a pop. And you can impress your friends when their finicky toddler gobbles these up!

The Un-Gwyneth Salad – All Good, no GOOP!

Evette’s “Eat One-Treat One” post was bouncing in the back of my head the other day as I stared at a jar of goji berries in my cupboard. Now, I know gojis are healthy, full of antioxidants that fight cancer and heart disease, boost the immune system, and basically turn us into Gwyneth Paltrow. But like GP, they leave me a little cold.

What could make me want to spend more time with a goji? Chocolate? Bacon? (Mario Batali?) Pine nuts! Pine nuts taste bacony, but unlike bacon they actually work to surpress hunger and might even help us lose weight. Inspired, I threw a handful of gojis and a handful of pine nuts into a large mason jar. Shake, shake, shake and my creative cooking juices were a-flowing. Searching in the fridge, I unearthed some nappa cabbage. Just the crisp kick to add to the iron-happy spinach that I’d been neglecting for days. A couple chops of the knife and I added two handfuls of cabbage and two handfuls of shredded spinach to the jar. Now what kind of dressing is all good and no GOOP? Miso dressing, baby! Just throw the following into your mini cuisinart, pour into your jar, and enjoy!