Grow LA Victory Garden Classes Spring 2018

The University of California Cooperative Extension is organizing workshops in various communities throughout Los Angeles County to teach residents how to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Romanesco Broccoli and the Fibonacci fractal

Romanesco Broccoli is a variety of the species Brassica oleracea. It is a cool weather crop that enjoys a steady diet of nutrients. We fertilized with fish emulsion every other week.

The beauty of Romanesco lies in its unique flower structure. When we consume Romanesco, other than the stems we are eating flower buds.

These flower buds are very well known in science circles for being a natural example of the Fibonacci fractal. In mathamatics a Fibonacci fractal will go on forever, ad infinitum. A broccoli plant obviously does not go on forever, but the pattern does repeats itself in every bud.

This article explains it well, Fibonacci-Shaped Romanesco Broccoli Is the World’s Most Visually Stunning Vegetable

See other natural fractals in this Wired gallery.

Other than being really healthy for you, Romanesco broccoli is a cool way to bring math into the classroom.

Here’s one place to purchase seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Purple Cauliflower

What a beauty- purple cauliflower. The variety is an heirloom called Sicilian Violet. Does not need to be blanched. Seed to harvest was 108 days. Purple cauliflower’s color is due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.

Winter Tomatoes – How to Clone a Tomato Plant

winter tomato

If you live in an area with mild winters, or if you are lucky enough to own a greenhouse, winter tomatoes can be easily grown. The trick is to clone a tomato plant from your summer crop. A clone is an exact replica of the parent. And since it is a clone hybrid plants can be used as well as open pollinated heirlooms.

Procedure

1. In the middle of July when your tomato plants are healthy and robust choose a side shoot that is without flowers and cut it about 6-8 inches from the top. Caution, do not cut the main grow tip.

2. Put it in water and allow the fine hairs on the stem to develop into roots. Cut off any existing flowers, at this stage we want the energy to go into making new roots and leaves, not flowers.

3. Once you see the roots developing plant them in soil so the new growth is just above the soil line. Keep it well watered during the early stages to allow the roots to develop. A little nutrient fertilizer would be good at this point.

Tips: Thicker stem cuttings did better than thinner stems. Choose smaller tomato varieties like cherry tomatoes or medium sized varieties. Since the daylight hours are shorter in the winter don’t bother with the large beefsteak varieties, they will never get that big during the winter.

Lastly, the tomato plant above is a Japanese Momotaro. In the early Spring we plan on taking a clone from the clone and seeing if it takes. We’ll keep you posted!

Notice the new grow tip in the center of the “V”

Obesity, Nutrition and School Gardens

In America, more than one third of US adults have obesity as well as one in six children.

The cause and the blame can be researched and debated till the cows come home and still we’ll be in the same place as we are right now. What are we going to do about it?

school garden harvest

One approach is to teach nutritional education through school gardens at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Human and plant nutrition are inextricably linked, we share many of the same essential elements. The more we understand plant nutrition the more we will understand human nutrition and vice versa.

Every School Should Teach Gardening Because Food is Kind of Important

Hi all, as the new school year kicks into gear I would like to introduce you to a great garden guy, Mike Podlesny. See his guest post below, and check out his website as well.

Every School Should Teach Gardening Because Food is Kind of Important
photo credit: Mike the Gardener

On our Vegetable Gardening Facebook page, I posted the question, Should Vegetable Gardening be Taught in Schools, using a meme titled, Every School Should Teach Gardening, Because Food is Kind of Important. We received some wonderful dialogue from everyone who decided to comment and make their own recommendations and suggestions as to whether or not every school should teach gardening.

Swiss Chard Recipes

Late spring and Swiss chard is still putting out leaves. We have more than we know what to do with. If you have any recipes please share.

I put a notice out to some friends on Facebook and the response was wonderful. Some that I’ve tried include the following:

1. Soup, the easiest by far. Cut a bunch of chard into ribbons, saute in garlic infused olive oil, add vegetable or chicken broth, season with salt and pepper. Serve. To take it a step or two further add any other vegetable you like including rice and potatoes.

2. Tacos. Saute some chard and add a scrambled egg to it. Serve in a corn tortilla with onions, cilantro, and hot sauce.

2. Roll-ups. Think stuffed cabbage but use Swiss chard leaves instead. The key here is to blanch the leaves for 10 seconds in boiling water to soften them, then gingerly transfer to plate drying them off with paper towel.

The picture above is Swiss chard stuffed with Dover Sole, Ricotta, Parmesan and egg. Bellissimo!