Now that we’re back home and settled in from our trip up to Dad’s, it’s time to take advantage of this Southern California weather. We’ve long recovered from our winter’s snows (snicker), and now we need to get our garden ready for it’s summer’s bounty. Inspired by the tastiness of our last winter’s carrots & beets, and the horticultural passions of Master Sommelier Michael Jordan (he grows 150 varieties of heirloom tomatoes) , we’ve decided to get extra serious about the propagation of our herbs and veggies. We’ve always grown tons of herbs every year, with gardening plots designated just for their abundance, but we usually are limited to those spaces.

Recycled whiskey barrels are our new seeding planters!

For this season, in order to facilitate this passion, we crafted a nursery in our side yard. With the help of some old and huge recycled whiskey barrels, we can now have more growing space filled with good soil and drainage for our seedlings. Now let the growing begin! Quite a few seedlings from the previous year’s herbs are popping up, so into the nursery they go before the snails attack. We added a few new varieties of basil, as well as two types of Japanese shiso (green & red varieties) that we haven’t had before. Of course there are many varieties of heirloom tomatoes growing. Tons of Viet herbs (for our own use and to share), Italian basil, cinnamon basil, cilantro, Italian parsley, 3 different mints, 4 different thymes, 3 different eggplants, swiss chard, bell peppers, lemon cucumber, radicchio, devil peppers, strawberries etc, etc, etc… There is a lot started and we are excited. Every morning we keep checking to see how our “babies” are doing.

For us, beyond just the beauty of the plants and the satisfaction of nurturing them, growing all of this edible vegetation is a way of exploring. Exploring different cultures and the tastes that distinguish them. What are some of the vegetables and herbs that make you think of your home cooking and gardening?

Garden Update: Remember our “baby” carrots? Well, they’ve all grown up to be handsome “teenager” carrots. Although some look a little strange, they’re still good looking and tasty!