Changing season

Our seasons in Santa Monica are a little strange. The sun can be hidden for the entire month of June and we sometimes have heat spells in November. It’s hard to know when the season change happens–unless you look in the garden. At the end of summer, the tomato harvest starts to dwindle, the basil plants struggle to survive, pepper production slows down and even the zucchini plants give up.

One of the last poblano chiles.

It was time to change the plants in my vegetable beds. I was particularly sad to pull out my poblanos.

Pepper harvest.

I love making rajas with poblanos (sometimes I peel them, sometimes I don’t, then you open them, remove seeds and slice them, sauté with sliced yellow onions, then add crema fresca or creme fraîche. Serve with corn tortillas or as a side dish). But this time, I stuffed the peppers with cooked rice mixed with cheese and roasted them for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees. You could add cooked meat or nuts, but I kept it simple. And it was delicious.

Stuffed poblano.

Last week I took everything out of the two vegetable beds and started fresh. I called on John Lyons, a friend and the owner of The Woven Garden, to help me amend my soil and procure interesting varieties of fall vegetables and herbs. In the bed closest to the house, we planted parsley, cilantro, watercress, bunching onions, sorrel, spinach and various red and green lettuces. (We avoided planting in the corner where my daughter’s two beta fish are buried.)

John Lyons planting in the raised bed.

In the back, there’s Swiss chard; dinosaur kale; celery; onions; garlic; snap, English and sweet peas; and favas. John warned me that if just one of the chickens gets into the vegetable garden for even half an hour, I would have no more chard, kale or peas. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to clip wings. (It’s painless for the birds, but I just don’t want to have to do it.)

More planting

Can’t wait for things to grow. I’m excited for everything, but I most look forward to the sweet peas. When they bloom, I’ll know it’s spring!


About cdhla

I'm a former editor at several lifestyle magazines who's been freelancing since moving from NYC to LA. I call my blog The Chipped Platter to remind us that chips are better than perfection. The platter in question, a round one made by Gien, has traveled the world with me, visited with friends and family, celebrated milestones, and offered sustenance. My cherished Chipped Platter is part of the family. (I love my chipped plates, too!) On this blog, I'll be sharing my adventures of cooking for my family and friends, venturing out into restaurants and learning tips from people I meet. Come along!
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8 Responses to Changing season

  1. liza says:

    This was so much fun to read. I do not garden – I’m pretty sure I’d kill everything, and we can have snow until June. Then it starts again in October. Long Winter.
    I laughed at “even the zucchini plants give up.” The first year my mother planted zucchinis, when I was a child, we had zucchini everything. They overran the place. I remember zucchinis the size of baseball bats. It was insane. I hear this is not uncommon, and ever since then I take zucchini in moderation.
    I’m sorry about the betas. It’s good you honor their spot. So funny.

    • cdhla says:

      Hi Liza,
      Thank you for reading! Yes, we’re very lucky to have such a long growing season. I remember how shocked Henry was to see that we could grow lemons and oranges here! When things get too cold, come on out! We’d love to see you!

  2. John Lyons says:

    Those stuffed Poblanos were delicious! They are so beautiful, all glossy and vibrant.

  3. Cece Webb says:

    Christy- your photos are gorgeous! And I want a stuffed poblano!

  4. Cece says:

    This article makes me hungry…and for veggies! Love the photos too. Beautiful!

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