Monday, February 27, 2012

Right Under Our Noses

 Southern California seems to think it's summertime right now. We've had temps in the high
70°s—even up to 83° last Thursday. Everything in the yard is budding and blooming like crazy.

I felt like the Universe was throwing us a big old life lesson this weekend after I missed our bi-monthly produce pick-up because I was at a taping of The Bachelor. Mr. Wonderful and I belong to a Community-Supported Agriculture program in Silverlake CA, so every other week, we get to fill two grocery bags with a variety of gorgeous, locally-grown fruits and veggies. It's an awesome program and makes us feel like we're doing right by the people who farm in the area. 

 Mr. W bought this nifty heated seed sprouter to help us get a head start on our spring/summer
garden. I'm hoping we get loaded with homegrown goodies. And that we're in the country so
we can enjoy them...

When Friday's taping ran so late that I missed the pick-up window, we weren't only out $24, we were lacking a fridge full of produce to sustain us for the next couple of weeks. Huge bummer. Or so I thought until I walked into our backyard Saturday. As I looked around, I realized that I could find what I needed right under my nose.

 The carrots got a little stunted but what they lack in size, they make up for in quantity!
We roasted some last night and they were delicious.

I made multiple trips from the yard to the kitchen,  ending up with carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, broccoli leaves (which can be cooked like kale), spinach, tomatoes, and even a few spindly lettuce leaves.

 We left the cauliflower on the plant a little too long so it was flowering, but we roasted and ate it
anyway and it was just as good as it would have been in a tight white bunch.

 We'll pick this little guy before he goes to flower. Hopefully he'll get bigger between now and then!

 My sweet precious tomato plant has not let us down once since it sprouted. Every week—
even when the weather hasn't been great—he has delivered. I'm totally buying him an engagement ring.

 I was shocked when Mr. W told me we were already getting little grape babies.
Hopefully we'll be able to eat some this year. Last year they got a bad case of mold.
Good thing we weren't planning to make wine with 'em!

 We picked all the spinach to make room for new plants next weekend.
I think the earwigs will be very sad to see their salad bar go.

 Although its numbers have dwindled from the first planting, Mr. W's dream lemon orchard—grown
from contraband lemon seeds he smuggled back here after our honeymoon—continues to flourish.

 I hacked off and relocated this big mama agave after it gave birth to SEVEN offshoot babies. Mr. W
has had this plant since he moved to LA 17 years ago. To the best of my knowledge, it's his only
teenage child.

 We barely had enough pots for all the babies. I wonder if eventually, we'll try to harvest
some agave syrup to use in place of sugar.

 The bees are loving the early spring flower outbreak. I'm loving how good the local citrus trees and
jasmine plants smell. It almost makes up for the severed heads around town.

It's funny how sometimes everything you want is right under your nose. Or right outside your back door. You think you're lacking and then you look around and suddenly see you have everything you need, exactly where you are. 

I was already feeling grateful for this realization when the Universe hit us with another unexpected bounty. Saturday afternoon, an organization in the area was picking fruit from Hollywood Hills citrus trees to supply local food banks, and after they took oranges from our house, they came back with this lovely thank you basket filled with an assortment of treats from the neighborhood.  

Somehow I think that $24 we were out on Friday came back to us in our lucky abundance of backyard and neighborhood crops!


  1. So, I was shocked when I saw flowers beginning to push through the dirt in our Chicago neighborhood over the weekend (totally NOT spring here), but am impressed with all the beauties you have in your backyard! Also, I think you should gift the agave babies to friends who are having babies (from one baby to another!). =)

  2. Beautiful!

    (What is this "spring" you speak of? It's still winter here. SIGH.)

  3. Nilsa - When we were in St. Louis last week for the funeral, I thought my toosh was going to freeze right off. In addition to being a wimpy Californian, I'd gotten way to used to the warm temps out here!

    Oh - and your baby agave idea is adorable! I wish one of my good friends was preggers right now!

    Sizzle - Yeah the carrots alone were crazy! It really did help my sadness over the missed produce pick-up.

    Mandy - Here's hoping you guys thaw out over there soon!

  4. Wow, am I jealous of your weather! And that tomatoes can grow right now. That is some great backyard gardening, and some good luck just when you need it! :)

  5. Lucky we live California! Although, I did just see a tweet last night about hail in San Diego. Great photos.

  6. I love all the pictures and I am so jealous of your bounty. We live on 1/2 an acre and I have nothing. I do plan to start planting soon, but with my brown thumb I will have to make it a small garden. I skipped last year but the year before I did actually have 4 crops and 3 of them lived!

  7. Lesley - We love the tomato plant but are a little scared it might be some genetically modified mutant. Hopefully it won't cause us to start growing arms out of our ears or anything.

    Christine - Yikes! Glad we didn't get hailed on here!

    Suzy - Live and learn, right? :) I have a feeling with the right soil, you could turn that brown thumb green. I can usually keep plants alive for about half the season - so I at least get SOMETHING out of them.

  8. This is so cool that you grow your own stuff. I never saw a cauliflower flower before. Thanks for sharing :D

  9. love love love this post!!!


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