SF Flower & Garden show – seedling workshop

The SF garden & flower show is happening next week at the San Mateo event center. Tickets are $20. I wanted to point out that there is a seedling workshop (scroll to the bottom of the ticket list) It’s $75, which is a bit pricey but you get to go home with some seedlings.

Also note the opening night ceremony on Tuesday. You can get the ticket for 50% off with this discount code: chamber.


Free Compost!!

I’ve been keeping my eye out for this year’s free compost giveaway that Recology has done in the past. This year it’s on Earth Day in San Carlos from 10am to 2pm. The address is 333 Shoreway Road. Here’s a .pdf flyer about the event.

While poking around on the recology and rethinkwaste websites, I found out that we can get free compost year-round! You can get 2 bags per visit, 2 visits per week. I’m definitely going to do this, this upcoming week. I’ll let you know how it goes. Here’s more info. On the flyer you will see they ask for a bill or ID card – they just want proof that you’re a resident.

I’ve also emailed them to ask if they would be willing to drop a truckload off at our garden. I’ll let you know if they get back to me :)

Resources: Books, Magazines and Catalogs

I’ve only recommended things that I’ve tried myself and liked :) Leave a comment with your favorites and I’ll add them to this list.


  • Organic Gardening: I get this magazine and it has fun articles and tips. This is higher level, as it doesn’t cover gardening basics that most beginners need.
  • Sunset Magazine: Cooking, Gardening, and mini-vacation advice all meant for the West Coast. I really enjoy it and always walk away with a few good recipes and ideas for day-trips. I also learn a lot of tricks, like how to repot a houseplant. (Digital version is included with your subscription)
  • Cooks Illustrated: I LOVE this magazine. It tells you how and why recipes work – the Thescience behind it. This is great for a geek like me and it has really helped me become a better cook. The magazine has no ads.


There are so many I’ve tried! I’ll keep adding to this list as I go through my notes from books I’ve borrowed from the library.

  • Fast, Fresh & Green: A great book on different cooking techniques for vegetables, from roasting to sauteing to steaming. Free digital copy from the Library.
  • The Smitten Kitchen: A cookbook from a great food blogger and photographer. Free digital copy from the Library.
  • Farm to Table Cookbook: I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on my list! Free digital copy from the library.
  • Simply Organic: Great book that also focuses on eating with the seasons. Free digital copy from the library.
  • More coming soon!
  • A note about the Library system. If you don’t have a Peninsula Library Card, get one. Our system is fantastic! There’s a library in Belmont on Alemeda De Las Pulgas, between the Carlmont Shopping Center and Carlmont High School. You can get digital books for your kindle (or other e-reader). You can also have them deliver a book from any Peninsula Library to the one of your choice (for $0.75). So I get all of my books delivered to the Belmont Library.

Seed Catalogs:

  • Baker’s Creed / Rare Seeds¬†(the prettiest catalog you’ll ever see! But missing some basic info in the catalog, like days to maturity. You need to reference the site for some of the info)
  • Seeds of Change
  • High Mowing Seeds
  • Tomato Fest (no catalog, but over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, which pictures for each one)
  • Generic Seeds (no catalog and no specialty items, but super low prices and cheap shipping)
  • Gurney’s (almost always has a $25 off $50 coupon running, be sure to look for one before making a purchase)
  • The Cook’s Garden (I haven’t ordered from them yet, but their catalogs sure look great! They also offer bundled seed packs, targeting home cooks. For example ‘Gourmet Salad Collection’)


Vegetable Roasting Guidelines

Want to roast some of the season’s vegetables? You often don’t need a recipe since¬† and sauteing brings out the natural flavors of the vegetables. You just need a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. For roasting and grilling vegetables, I can’t live without my Misto ($9.99 on Amazon) – it sprays a really fine mist of whatever oil you choose, which turns out better than my sad attempts at ‘drizzling’ olive oil.

I’ve collected some basic cooking temperatures and times for roasting your favorite garden veggies. Enjoy!

  • Asparagus: Toss with olive oil and roast at 450 degreens for 10 – 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
  • Broccoli: Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for 10 -12 minutes.
  • Califlower: Toss with olive oil and cook at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. For fun a fun variation, drizzle balsamic vinegar over it before serving.
  • Carrots and Parsnips: cut lengthwise and toss with olive oil. Cook at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, turning mid way through). They will start to brown when they are done. For a fun variation, toss with orange juice and balsamic vinegar before serving.
  • Green Beans: Toss with olive oil, roast at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes. They will start to wrinkled and turn brown when done.
  • Eggplant: Slice eggplant and brush both sides with olive oil. Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, turning mid way through. They will start to brown when done.
  • Leeks: Trim the green tops to within 2 inches of the white part, and cut in half lengthwise. Brush with olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast at 450 degreens for 15 to 20 minutes. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to eat.
  • Shallots: Toss with olive oil and cook at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often. They’ll be tender and brown around the edges when they are done.
  • Squash (Acorn, Buttercup, Butternut): Cut in half and scrape out seeds. Oil a baking sheet and place the squash on it, cut side down. Roast at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes (add 10 extra minutes for butternut squash). For a fun variation, drizzle butter and brown sugar on before serving.
  • Sweet Potatoes: slice or cube, then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Yukon Gold and Red Potatoes: cut into cubes or wedges and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for 25-35 minutes.


CSA: Community Supported Agriculture

I LOVE fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as supporting local farmers. I can only grow so many things in my garden plot, and get the extra from a CSA or farmers markets.

I found a CSA last year that I really, really enjoy, Eat With The Seasons. It’s different than most, in that they let you pick the items you want each week. Some people don’t mind surprises from the random CSA style boxes, and neither do I. But, I do really like being able to plan my meals each week, so picking the fruits and veggies I get is great. If I’m having a taco night, I order up some avocados, peppers, cilantro and limes.

This CSA also has extra goodies (available for an additional cost) from various local vendors. They have corn tortillas and various artisan bread, fresh eggs, olive oils, dried fruit, coffee, tea, and other snacks.

And lastly, for you non-vegetarians, they have a once-a-month meat delivery you can opt in for, for an extra charge as well. Last week, I bought a whole chicken and roasted it :)

They have a pickup location right here in Belmont, Fridays between 3 and 10 pm you swing by a volunteer’s house. Learn more about how it works here, and check out what’s available this week by browsing their online produce catalogue.

If you have questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer what I can. I’ve been signed up with them for a year and am very happy! I tend to order a lot of strawberries in summer since I don’t grow them in my plot ;)

Local Farmers Markets

Grab some extra fruits, veggies, or even locally produced soap and flowers at several local farmer’s markets.

  • Belmont, Sundays from 9am to 1pm at the Caltrain parking lot
  • My favorite one is in San Carlos on Thursdays from 4 – 8 pm on Laurel street, running from May through mid-September.
  • There are several all over San Mateo County, click here for the list. You can also browse to find markets by day, or in other counties.

A lot of the markets run specials too, from cooking demonstrations to free produce for biking to the market. Browse the events to see what’s going on each week.

Also, consider signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to get local produce that isn’t growing in your garden.