Winter Garden Update and Maverick Meat Grinder Giveaway Winner

by formerchef on January 24, 2011

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I’ve never planted vegetables in the winter before. Most of my gardening has been limited to the summer vegetables which splash out and are “easy” to grow; tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, etc. In addition, I’m not a fan of the traditional winter vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. This year however, I thought I would allocate one of my garden beds to a tiny winter garden and see what would happen if I threw some seeds in the dirt.

Way back in November, I took the protective cages off all my beds, shoveled some of the composted fill (a mix of compost, straw and alfalfa from the no dig method) from one box to another to fill one of the small beds and went off to the nursery to buy some seeds. I ended up with packets of carrots, mesclun lettuce mix, beets, multi colored chard, and broccoli rapini (yes, I know I said I don’t like broccoli, but I like the lighter rapini ). I planted my seeds, covered them with the caging and waited for them to sprout.

Then an unusually long spell of torrential rain and frigidly cold weather hit. Some mornings there was frost on my lawn and car, in Los Angeles. Guess what happened to my seeds? Nothing. I continued to wait and grew disappointed, thinking my seeds had been killed by the frost.

Clockwise from top left; beets, potatoes, carrots, the whole bed.

Finally, a few weeks ago the weather eased up, the sun came out and so did a few of my sprouts. The neat rows of seeds I’d planted did not appear but there were a few green frilly things coming up here and there. As far as I can tell I have a few carrots, beets and some chard coming in. I don’t know if any will reach maturity but I’m really excited at the possibility. In addition to the seeds I planted, there are some potato “volunteer” plants which have popped up where I’d planted potatoes (and where the raccoons had eaten all of the) last year. I don’t have high hopes for the potatoes as I’m pretty certain they will suffer the same fate as their predecessors.

In addition to the veggies, yesterday we planted a tree (see the photo at the top of the post). A group called the Tree People were giving away fruit trees at my husband’s school and we picked up a bare root Blenheim Apricot (grafted on to plum tree stock). My husband dug the hole for it on our bottom level opposite our ancient Meyer Lemon and I planted it. It’s not much more than a stick with roots about 4 feet tall, but in five years or so, we might actually have fruit. All I want are enough apricots to make a decent sized batch of apricot jam and a few fruit tarts.

Maverick 55o1 Giveaway Winner:


Did you leave a comment on my post about Making My Own Burgers and the Maverick Meat Grinder? Could you be the winner of this fabulous kitchen appliance?
(drumroll please)
The winner of the Maverick 5501 Meat & Food Grinder is…
comment #4 picked by Random.org

Congratulations to Vanessa who said :
Those burgers looked fantastic and this blog (as always) has inspired me to try this too.
As for my “wish list” item, I would love to have the Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery Mini. I’m impressed by the small footprint of the bread machine and the size of the resulting product.

Thanks for leaving a comment Vanessa and I hope you make some wonderful things with your new grinder.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate January 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

The citrus in the back looks amazing. On the off chance you have too much to use, I’m sure a citrus giveaway would be appreciated by those of us in the frigid north that have to go without :)

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2 formerchef January 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

Yes, that’s my meyer lemon tree. I actually did a lemon giveaway last year from my tree. I might have to do that again!

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3 Charles Thompson January 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

How much fun seeing what survived our very strange weather and now waiting to see what might end up maturing. I’ve never planted a winter garden either — when I was a kid we usually planted the family garden in the spring. If I was to do a garden now I’d definitely consider a winter planting too.

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4 formerchef January 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Thanks Charles. It was weird weather for LA, wasn’t it? I’ve been following your posts about your grandmother’s garden and I’ve no doubt if you started one here you’d be successful.

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5 nina January 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

That about sums up my gardening success for las year. I had so many other things, that gardening was left by the wayside!!

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6 Jenn @LeftoverQueen January 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I love your winter garden! That is so cool that plants are finally starting to sprout!

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