Posts tagged Kitchen Garden
Abundant Artichokes

Artichokes In My Winter Potager With all of the winter rains we've had here in Southern California, my artichokes have blossomed quickly into new plants. Artichokes in zone 9 are a perennial. It is recommended to plant them in the back of your potager or kitchen garden so as not to take away sunlight from other shorter plants growing. Artichokes are so structural at 4 feet high x 6-8 feet wide, they can easily be planted throughout your gardens and in key focal points, too.

Artichokes take full sun and regular water. They can be started in the winter to early spring as small plants, and also by seed if you are patient. Known for their silver green leaves with big flower buds that eventually mature into delicious home-grown "chokes." If the artichoke buds are not harvested, these buds transform themselves into purple-blue thistle 6" flowers. These flowers can be used as spectacular cut flowers or they can be dried for mute-toned fall arrangements.

Artichokes have many reasons to be planted in your garden.Their showy tall plant structure and foliage. Delicious mature artichokes which can be cooked in so many ways.  Showy eye-catching flowers to bring inside. Seeing my artichokes do so well this year, it reminded me of the great wedding planner and stylist,  Colin Cowie's sensational Artichoke Vinaigrette. Recipe follows.

"Artichoke Vinaigrette"

One fresh artichoke heart,  or 2 canned artichoke hearts 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard 1 Tbsp. Chopped Shallots 1/4 tsp Salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Puree artichokes and fresh lemon juice in a blender until creamy. Transfer to a small mixing bowl, blend together artichoke-lemon puree with mustard, shallots, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Makes 1 and 1/3 cups vinaigrette. Serve over fresh mixed greens, or use as a glaze for fish during and after grilling. Enjoy!

Please share your favorite artichoke recipe. Please share if you grow artichokes in your garden.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

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Vegetable Edibles to Plant in May

What's in Your Garden in May? Seed enthusiast Charles B. Ledgerwood (1906-1999) had a bulk seed business for over 50 years in Southern California, in the seaside village of Carlsbad. His home and store front were literally "a stone's throw" from the ocean. He sold his seeds out of vintage 60 year old bread boxes in a one room store attached to the front of his home. Gardeners and farmers from all over Southern California, frequented his small stucco store with a simple "Seeds" sign above the door.

He loved his seeds, and loved to share his knowledge of seeds, growing practices, and tips with everyone. Tacked high above his shelves was the prophetic quote, "All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today." Charles B. Ledgerwood lived well into his nineties, but didn't sell or leave his seed business to family. However, his seeds and vintage bread boxes live on in full glory at The Urban Seed, Home & Garden, an incredible creative garden shop located in Fiesta de Reyes, Old Town, San Diego. Friendly owners, Maurice Taitano and Michael Bliss, sell seeds and much more for your home and garden. It is worth a trip.

As a guide for all of us in Southern California, Charles B. Ledgerwood created a Southern California Vegetable Planting Month-by-Month Calendar. Here are his vegetable edibles planting suggestions for the month of May. Best planting names are capitalized.


Please share what you are growing in your garden now.  Please comment if you are familiar with Charles B. Ledgerwood and his seed business, of years past.

Design With Edibles

Crown of Strawberries I'm sure you have heard of a strawberry patch and a strawberry pot, but have you heard of a "crown of strawberries."  I have had this pair of cherub planters potted with bacopa and a few other trailing plants, but they really took on another look and life when I potted ornamental strawberry edibles in them. Imagine these planters placed on a table for a Sunday brunch.

There is something about using edibles in design, that transcends many styles such as cottage, country, eclectic, European, primitive, and even modern. It just works well. There is a bit of an element of surprise, that also pleases.

Decorative styling with edibles, is borrowing from the European potager kitchen garden concept, using flowers and vegetables intermingled, delivering function and beauty. Flowers and edibles are sensational together for floral designs, tabletop topiary, in the  garden, unusual containers, and where ever your imagination leads you.

Use live plants or  harvested fruit and vegetables to embrace this concept. Think of apples, asparagus, artichokes, green bananas, broccoli, cabbage, cranberries, gourds, lemons, kale, kumquats, oranges, pomegranates, strawberries, squash, and more.

First, your design starts with your container or location. What is it calling for. What form would look best. Is there a color combination that would be nice. Is there a plant combination that would surprise. Is there a function involved. What kind of creative ideas come to mind.

In the example of my two sweet cherub planters, I chose an ornamental strawberry plant, beautiful by itself. Deep green glossy leaves, bright pink flowers, emerging rouge-red ripening strawberries dangling like a crown, all add to its design drama and zeal. It has beauty. It is appealing.  It is growing edible fruit.

Please share if you design with edibles now. Please share some of your fun design combinations.