Category Archives: Veg Garden

Home vegetable/herb garden

Starting Veggie Seeds Indoors

there’s something magical about going from seed to plant to plate…

…start out by grabbing some seed starter equipment. i like seed cells with the compacted soil pellets that expand when water is added…

Seed Cells

Seed Cell w. Soil Pod

…drop a few seeds in each cell…

…i use mostly heirloom and rare varieties to keep things interesting…

Seed Cells; Soil Pod Expansion

…label everything so nothing gets mixed up…

San Marzano

…pop on the dome – this will simulate a greenhouse…place out of direct sunlight…

…the seeds should sprout within a week…

Green House Dome

…here’s what i’m starting indoors for ’12…

  1. tomatoes
  2. swiss chard
  3. beets
  4. spinach
  5. basil
  6. thyme
  7. dill
  8. parsley
  9. scallions
  10. hot peppers
  11. sweet peppers
…after about a week when majority of seeds have sprouted, take the dome off…
…tomatoes…
  1. cherokee purple
  2. san marzano
  3. amish paste
  4. roman striped
  5. roma VFN
  6. riesentraube (cherry)
Tomato Seedlings

…swiss chard & beets…

Swiss Chard & Beets

…scallions – spinach – thyme…

Scallions

…lots of basil for pesto sauce…

Basil

Parsley

Tomato Grid

…after ~2 weeks, when majority of seedlings have sprouted, place by a window for some sunlight…

…the tomatoes are standing strong…

Tomato Seedlings; Two Weeks

…the basil is growing towards the sun…

Basil; Two weeks

Seedlings; Two Weeks

…normally pepper seeds won’t sprout as quickly as the rest since they prefer warmer temperatures, so we have to hack the system…

…plant seeds, except this time you’re going to place the seed tray on a heating mat…set mat on high every morning until sprouts begin to appear. once majority of seeds have sprouted, take off the dome. keep tray on mat and continue to heat every day to keep the soil warm and until all of the seeds have sprouted…

Hot & Sweet Peppers

…hot peppers…

  1. scotch bonnet
  2. tam jalepeno
…sweet peppers…
  1. quadrato di asti rosso
  2. friarello di napoli
  3. red mini bell

Pepper Grid

…once it’s consistently in the 50’s outside and the nights don’t get too cold you can transplant into the ground…about the second week in april…

…the rest of the veggies will be sown directly in the ground…

  1. romaine paris cos
  2. cucumber
    1. beit alpha
    2. delikatasse
  3. rotonda bianca sfumata (sicilian eggplant)
  4. ping tung eggplant (thai eggplant)
  5. melon charentais
  6. arugula
  7. zucchini lungo bianco
  8. swiss chard
  9. beets
good luck!
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Oven-roasted Tilapia with Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Pan Sauce


  • 1lb Tilapia fillets (~4)
  • 3 Pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Zucchini, large cubes
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • Red Pepper Flakes, a pinch goes a long way
  • 1/2C White wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4C Sherry Wine
  • 4T EV Olive Oil
  • 4T Roasted Garlic Butter
  • Basil, ~20 leaves, chopped
  • Parsley
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper

Printable Recipe

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, saute red pepper flakes and minced garlic in 2T olive oil until fragrant. Toss in the whole cherry tomatoes and cubed zucchini, toss to coat and sprinkle with s&p. Saute until tomatoes begin to soften, shrivel up, and release their juices – ~5 minutes. Zucchini will still be firm so cover and let steam for ~10mins until fork tender.

While zucchini steams, prep the fish. In an oven-safe skillet add remainder of oil to bottom. Place filets on top.  Add 4T of roasted garlic butter around the filets. Splash with 1/4C white wine. Sprinkle with s&p, chopped basil, and lemon zest. Roast in oven until edges start to turn opaque.

Back to the tomatoes – uncover, splash in the sherry and remainder of white wine and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Tear up the basil leaves, toss in and mix. Sauce should have thickened up a bit. Taste and adjust for s&p.

Remove fish from oven. Carefully remove fillets to a dish. Dump the tomato and zucchini sauce into the skillet and carefully place fillets on top. Pop skillet back in oven for ~10 minutes or until fish is uniformly white and flakes when plucked with a fork.

Serve fish atop rice (I like rice pilaf with this dish) with a heaping ladle of tomato and zucchini sauce. Finish off with a squirt of fresh lemon, parsley, basil, a light drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of fleur de sel if you have it, and a few twists of the pepper mill.

You’re gonna love this one.

Damn, it feels good to be back!

How to Plant A Vegetable (Bucket) Garden

Not everybody has a yard big enough for a veggie garden, but I’m pretty sure everyone has a hardware store and garden center nearby, and that means you can pick up what you need for a veggie bucket garden! That’s right, screw the ground…where straight up planting veggies in a bucket and it’s easy, cheap, and beyond rewarding. Personally, nothing comes close to the feeling you get when you walk outside and pluck a juicy plump ruby-red cherry tomato off the vine of a tomato plant you grew…yourself…from seed…in a bucket.

Bravo!

Difficulty: EASY
Time: 35 mins (4 buckets)
Cost: ~$20

Get yourself:

  • 5 Gallon bucket(s)
  • Garden soil for vegetable gardens
  • Manure & Humus
  • River pebbles
  • Phillips screwdriver or drill
  • Seeds (I planted Tomato, Cucumber, Zucchini)
  • Tomato cage(s)
  • Gardening shovel
  • Garden gloves
  • Plastic knives
  • Sharpie marker

Let’s get to plantin’…

Grab some 5 Gallon buckets

They’re (dirt) cheap…like $3 ea.

Poke some holes in the bottom of the bucket, not too many or the water will drain right out…

Do like 10

(I know there are more than 10 holes, I effed up and my plant lost too much water…I had to replant in another bucket with fewer hole…live and learn)

Excess water drains out and roots don’t rot

Bag of this rock is cheap like $5

Used to aid in water drainage

Fill up the bottom 2″ of bucket with river pebbles

Garden soil

That’s a 2 cu. ft. bag – ~$6

I made 4 buckets and only used half the bag

Fill bucket ~3/4 full of garden soil

Pure nutrients – ~$4

A little goes a long way

I only used half the bag

Add manure and humus to almost fill the remaining .25 of the bucket

Break up any chunks of soil and manure

Mix to combine everything

Dig a small well in center of soil

Drop a few seeds in well

Cover well with soil

Put on glove, make a fist, and lightly flatten soil all the way around the bucket

Drop the seed packet on top so you don’t forget what you planted

Move on and assemble your other buckets

Genius idea…

Grab a plastic knife and sharpie

Label

Stick in the soil like you just usurped some foreign territory


Basic Care

  1. Water thoroughly
  2. Place in full sun
  3. Buckets dry out quickly so water often
  4. Check for bugs and bug damage. Use a natural insecticide if you have to

My buckets…

Beefsteak tomato, cherry tomato, and 8 Ball zucchini

Don’t forget to pop that tomato cage in the tomato bucket(s)