Manipulating the elements

August 26, 2008 at 1:41 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

In the early spring I decided I wanted to start a garden.  I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t) and I wasn’t even into gardening all that much.  The most I had ever done was planting some flowers from a plastic box that my mother had bought from the garden center.    

Thinking back on it, I couldn’t even remember how far to dig the hole or how much soil to put on top.  Was I suppose to pack it down after?  Did this even apply to vegetables?  How far apart should they be?  How much water would they need and when?

So many questions.  But I went for it anyways and pulled out all the weeds and basically anything and everything that looked even remotely like a plant or root from a patch of soil in my backyard.  After this was accomplished, I tilled the soil (a fancy word for digging it up about 1-2 feet and mixing it all up), then I laid down a fine layer of compost and mixed that gently in.  After that was all done, I raked it to look pretty (I’m not sure this was even necessary) and then I bought my plants.  On the list:


4 cauliflower

1 zucchini

5 tomatoes (for my parents)

4 swiss chard

4 romaine

4 endive


Lime Basil



2 Stevia plants

4 Nasturtiums (edible flowers)


It is now the end of summer and my zucchinis are growing like crazy (too big for me to handle, with far too m any coming).  The swiss chard turned whitish and one of them died immediately.  The other one is struggling.  Two cauliflower remain, one that looks huge but hasn’t budded at all and one that started budded but looks sickly.  I’ve got cherry tomatoes popping up all over the place but the bigger ones aren’t coming very well.  The romaine and endive grew very tall with hardly any leaves (just enough for a two person salad).  The stevia is doing wonderful but took awhile.  The basil is big and beautiful and smells divine.  The oregano is so -so and the parsley took forever to grow large.  The nasturtiums have popped a couple flowers here and there then died within a day but over the last week they started to blossom.  Just enough for a salad.  


Here are some pictures of my garden.


Tomatoe and Cauliflower





It’s way bigger than it looks (about 10 inches long, 5 inches wide)


I grew a FROG! :)


And now for my Nasturtium Salad:

One small head of boston lettuce (cut roughly)

Half a bunch of baby spinach (chopped roughly)

5-6 Nasturtiums or as many as you have!

Cumin/lime vinaigrette (from Vive le Vegan) 


1/4 cup lime juice

1 small clove garlic

2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 tbsp honey altervative (like agava or molasses)

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cumin (scant)

1/8 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp sunflower oil or hemp seed oil (or more olive oil)


With a hand blender, combine all the ingredients except the oils and puree.  Continue to blend and slowly drizzle in the oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.


I swear I’m not affiliated with Dreena Burton but I just bought her book ‘vive le vegan’ and I definitely recommend it.  Her recipes are short, simple and leave out a lot of processed/refined crap.  




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