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Showing posts from May, 2021

A Delicious Weed

One person's weed is another person's salad ingredient (A bowl of freshly picked Verdolagas/Purslane) This time of year you'll likely see what looks to be a small succulent spreading out as far as it can reach.  You'll even see it growing from cracks in the sidewalk - and it's name is Purslane (English) - or Verdolagas (Spanish).    New Verdolagas growth May 28, 2021 For years I pulled and discarded this hardy intruder - until I was introduced to the many culinary uses by local gardener Nickie Irvine.  Having already moved dandelions over to the food/ingredient category, I was surprised to learn of so many culinary uses of this sidewalk dweller.   When freshly picked or coming out of the refrigerator, Verdolagas has a pleasant crunch.  I like it best raw and added on top of salads - but there are many recipes, particularly in Latin American, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, that use Verdolagas as an ingredient.  A short list of recipes can be found here . If you

To Save Water ...Measure Soil Moisture

This time of year, every California gardener becomes an irrigation specialist.  What doesn't get irrigated doesn't live - it's as simple as that.  Here in San Mateo, we had 4 1/2 inches of rain for the entire season!  There is not a lot of moisture to go around - so our use of water in the garden must be optimized. We learn so much about the garden just by putting our hands in the soil - but our fingers aren't long enough to really tell what's going on in the root systems of our plants.  For the past month, I've been experimenting with three different Soil Moisture Meters to help configure our irrigation control settings.  Here's what I've found: 1) The Optimal Level of Moisture: You Decide There are so many different variables that go into soil moisture: organic composition, soil grain type (ie. sand, clay), amount of daily sun exposure, type of plant.  In starting to measure moisture, I quickly realized, for example, that I was watering all of my grow