In this issue:
- January in the Garden
- Recipe: Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew
- Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Planting Jerusalem Artichokes
- Gardenerd Product of the Month: Ultimate Garden Bag
1. January in the Garden
A group of #Gardenchat members were joking around on Twitter the other day when someone asked, “If you wrote a gardening book, what would be the title of your first chapter?” My reply was, “Chapter 1: Gardener’s Amnesia,” because every year in January I forget the failures and mistakes of the last year and start making big plans for the new one. Here’s hoping that 2015 will be filled with renewed confidence and memorable gardening successes!
We’re compiling our seed list from the piles of catalogs we’ve been reading. Soon we’ll be ordering seeds and planning our gardens on paper. Right now we’re watering with rain water stored up from the last storm. The plants love it. Some say rain barrels are falling out of favor, but I will never give them up. Our irrigation is off from November to April in dry Los Angeles every year thanks to rain barrels.
In the garden, brassicas are heading up, and Swiss chard is abundant. We’re picking greens for winter salads several times per week. Our strawberries are flowering and so are the citrus trees. Next, we’ll be cutting down cover crops that are starting to flower. It won’t be long now, gardenerds.
2. Recipe: Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew
Cauliflower is making waves in the winter garden right now. We found a perfect recipe to highlight this snowy vegetable. Garbanzo beans, canned tomatoes, cilantro (also abundant in the winter garden right now) and lime juice make this a tasty meal.
We recently tested out the recipe and thought it was good enough to share. It’s not really a stew, at least our attempt didn’t turn out that way, but it’s perfect over rice. Either way, the bright flavors and warm spices turn cauliflower into a show stopper:
3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month – Planting Jerusalem Artichokes
Jerusalem artichokes (A.K.A. sunchokes) are fascinating tubers. They can be roasted, sliced, and baked like potatoes, but they grow like perennial sunflowers. Tubers spread over time and can take over the garden like sweet potatoes, but if you can contain them, they’re well worth the space.
We recently planted some Jerusalem artichokes that had begun to sprout in the fridge. We chose a biodegradable pot over in-ground planting, but honestly it’s a feeble attempt to contain them because the bottom of our biodegradable pot has long since degraded. We’re hoping the tubers will become one with the soil over time, but that the pot will slow down the spread.
Planting is easy: Plant tubers in early spring (or fall in warm-winter climates) in well-amended, well-drained soil about 5 inches deep and 16 inches apart. The flowers can grow very tall and provide shade, so be sure to locate your plantings somewhere that doesn’t block full sun for other vegetables. Sprouts will pop up in a couple weeks.
Find out more information about growing Jerusalem artichokes here.
4. Gardenerd Product of the Month – Ultimate Garden Bag
Our Ultimate Garden Bag is the only garden tool bag made from hemp and low-impact dyed cotton. Even better, we’ve recently reduced the price! Now you’ll be able to store your pruners and gloves, kneepads and twine in our stylish Garden Bag for less. Get yours today!