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