So Bon Appetit publishes “six meat-tastic videos of men” grilling meat. And then after some backlash on twitter, we have a ”beautiful” women grilling vegetables. Because men grill meat, and women grill vegetables? Is that how it works?
So you want to start an edible garden. Excellent — there’s no better time than now, especially if you want to start harvesting the fruits (and veggies) of your labor this summer. But before you dig your first hole or sow your first seed, here are ten things to consider for first-time garden success.
#1 Location. Perhaps the least obvious factor but among the most important is the location of your edible garden. While you may be tempted to simply put one wherever you have space (the side yard? Balcony? Rooftop?), the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” rings very true here. An edible garden needs to be seen. Keeping your garden close — whether it’s a row of pots right outside your kitchen window or a raised bed next to the barbecue — reminds you to water, weed, and harvest more frequently. Put your plants in a place that you use or pass every day.
#2 Sunlight. Besides a good location, an edible garden also needs a good amount of sunlight. Most plants require at least six hours of sun a day, with “fruiting” plants like tomatoes and squash doing best with eight or more hours. Leafy greens can make do with as little as four hours of sun, but may be slow growing.
It is a great delight to find tree-ripened apricots in farmers’ markets. Their season is brief, lasting from mid-May to mid-July, and the easily bruised fruits do not travel well. Much of the harvest is dried, canned, or made into jam. If you come across fresh, plump Patterson and Castlebrite varieties, buy them by the bucketful. Should you find heirloom Blenheims, super sweet with juicy flesh the color of a setting sun, fill your bag to the brim. Blenheims (sometimes called Royals or Royal Blenheims) are notoriously difficult to grow, especially outside of the Santa Clara Valley, where a combination of alluvial soil, foothill topography, and hot days with cold nights creates ideal growing conditions for these persnickety fruits. Even when weather patterns are nearly perfect, the trees bear frustratingly sporadic amounts — many tons one year, and hardly any in the following year. Demanding as Blenheims are, their depth of flavor is unmatched by the other varieties. No matter what types of apricots are available to you, look for firm fruits that yield to gentle pressure. The good ones smell like honey. The most perfectly ripe ones also have a hint of liquor in their scent — they are reminiscent of a strong Czech pilsner.