Purslane Flowers
Purslane Flowers

Purslane Flowers

As you can see from the above close-up, purslane flowers really look a lot like little purslane leaves with splashes of pink color.   They even taste the same as the leaves!  Read on to learn more about purslane's names, tastes and uses!

PURSLANE FLOWERS

Purslane Names

Purslane's botanical name is portulaca oleracea.  It is an herbaceous annual grown worldwide, but thought to be native to Europe.

Purslane is also known by the synonyms: garden purslane, pigweed, little hogweed, verdolaga (green lake in Spanish as purslane prefers growing near a water source.)


Purslane Flowers... Weed or Prized Edible?

Weeds tend to be stronger than regular "prima donna"4 Garden plants and thrive even when soil is poor.

Purslane Flowers' Nutritional Value

Purslane is known as a nutritional powerhouse.  The obvious nutrients you would guess are in purslane: Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and then some surprises! 

The Omega 3s in purslane are quite special as normally vegetarian sources of DHA require many steps of conversion as well as nutrients to help with the conversion before it becomes usable as nerve and brain food.  (Fish oil and grass-fed animals have an already usable form of DHA)

Vegetable sources of omega 3s, like you might find in flax seeds, or the more omega 6 rich chia seeds, may only find 5% converting to what we need to feed our brain and nerves.  Purslane not only has the precursors in the largest amount of any vegetable, it also has the nutrients required for conversion such as magnesium, antioxidants, zinc, and vitamin E.7

Purslane Flowers' Taste

Purslane has been called "a pleasant and cooling salad herb1"  M. Grieve of a Modern Herbal also called the leaves "succulent".  I'd call them gooey or mucilaginous and a little sour or lemony - rather like a cactus leaf (paddle) or nopal.

One herbalist, who wrote, Southern California Food Plants, said that it's flavor is:

" a bit tangy, citric, salty and sweet - all at the same time!"

-  CW Kane

 Recipes using Purslane & Purslane Flowers:

Purslane Leaves Close Up

Young Purslane Leaves Close Up

Every part of the purslane plant can be eaten (do be careful not to pick in an area that may have poison from pesticides or herbicides, or car exhaust sprayed on them - bird droppings can usually be rinsed off, if the other toxins are not there!)

Purslane does contain oxalic acid, as spinach does, so it is wise to listen to your body.  Too much cooked spinach, swiss chard or other vegetables high in oxalic acid seem to inhibit calcium absorption.  I feel it in my teeth hurting in a way that goes away within a day of stopping.  Fresh purslane doesn't seem to be as strong in oxalic acid.

RECIPE: Pickled Purslane Flowers & Stems

Even the thick stems may be pickled as you would sauerkraut in salt water or vinegar to make salads you can save for winter!  People in Holland have been known to grow purslane just for this purpose!

I usually use 1Tbsp Himalayan Sea Salt or Celtic Salt per Quart of Brine.  Once dissolved, the brine may be poured over the thoroughly washed and cut to size purslane and purslane flowers in a quart jar.  There are fancy tops to keep air out as you let the mix sit at room temperature for two days or so.

Adding beneficial bacteria, like Dr. Mercola's whose ferment is the only one I know of that includes K2 (for strong bones and telling D3 where it needs to go and preventing toxicity - whew!  good stuff!) or sweet dairy whey I used to get it here, (but not sure if they are temporarily out - or if I bought the last container.  Bob's Red Mill has discontinued it.) or using a prepared kit can be added insurance that only good bacteria grow.  We usually just leave it in the brine knowing that the flavor will be awful if not good.

RECIPE: Purslane Flowers Salad of Turkish Inspiration

 COMBINE:

1/2 Red Onion, 1 lg Garlic Clove, minced, 1/2 C. Whole Milk Yogurt, 3Tbsp EV Olive Oil, 1tsp Balsamic Vinegar

ADD:

6 Cups Purslane, washed & Chopped, including leaves and stems; 1 Tart, Granny Smith Apple, chopped; 1/3 C. Raisins; 1/3 C. Walnuts Toasted;

TOSS: Above Mix with 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Optional: a Tbsp of Kimchi on the side(!)4

The amazing flavor combination you would expect with such a name!  I found this recipe where there is even more good research on purlane's properties and uses!

Rinse and prepare purslane for individual salad plates, dice the avocado and bacon and arrange atop the purslane.  I usually keep it simple with what I have on hand - olive oil, balsamic vinegar, & Bragg's Liquid Amino's drizzled over the top before sprinkling with Himalayan Sea salt and pepper.

RECIPE: Purslane Flowers Omelette

Purslane leaves, flowers, stems may be rinsed, chopped and stir-fried with garlic in butter or coconut oil before adding the scrambled eggs and cooking or making it into an omelet with cheese.

RECIPE: The French Soup, Bonne Femme (lit. good Woman)

Purslane leaves, flowers, stems and even seeds may be mixed 50/50 with french sorrel to make this famous French soup.

Many of the recipes online that you find for this soup with purslane include potatoes, and we don't do those much around here!  Just know that purslane seems to do well fresh or even stir-fried in butter and mixed with other things - get creative and let me know what amazing recipes you create!


HERBAL RECIPES / MEDICINAL USES FOR PURSLANE FLOWERS

As shown in the above video, purslane is said to have the power to remove toxins, strengthen the immune system and deeply nourish with vitamins and minerals.  It is a "cooling herb" so a blessing for warm weather.

I have been surprised how a regular diet of plants from my backyard like purslane, dandelion and moringa can help me feel more energy and mental clarity when eaten regularly!

With dopamine precursors, purslane or verdolagas may add valuable nutrition to those needing L-dopa in a natural form.7

Traditional Taiwan Uses of Purslane

 The Taiwanese have used purslane for "enteritis, gastritis, diabetes, inflammation and hepatitis, as well as for improving overall liver function.  In traditional Chinese medicine it is used for leeding of the genito-urinary tract and dysentery."7

"Strangury"

The fresh juice of washed purslane was mixed with sugar and honey to relieve a dry cough, "shortness of breath and immoderate thirst."1

(I'd probably use it without the sweetener so the immune system doesn't get depressed with the sugar, but, hey!  Herbalists from the 1900s had wisdom too! 😉


FORAGING PURSLANE FLOWERS

According to Didi Emmons, Author of Vegetarian Planet and Wild Flavors (see References for more tidbits on Didi) Purslane was the first plant she foraged by herself.  She said, 

" it met all of my foraging criteria:

It's not just easy to find, it's unavoidable.

Second, it's easy to identify.

Third, I can make it taste great without a lot of doctoring and

Fourth, it is preposterously good for you."

" Juicy purslane, hydrating and emollient with omega 3 fatty acids, coincidentally appears in the garden right next to cucumber in July to quench a parched summer palate."

- Didi Emmons

"If you gather it in the morning, it will have more malic acid and more tangy in taste...

"Gathered it in the afternoon,  it will be sweeter... as the malic acid is transformed into glucose"

- John Slattery9
[Fascinating!  I have only gathered it in the afternoon - can hardly wait to try morning purslane!]

Well-Known Purslane Fans!

"I have made a satisfactory dinner off a dish of purslane which I gathered and boiled. 

Yet men have come to pass that they frequently starve, not from want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries."6

- Henry David Thorough

Ok, so Ghandi never said an amazing quote on loving purslane, but he was known to enjoy its delicacies upon occasion!

- Ghandi 

Growing Purslane Flowers

Being an "invasive weed" you will have more trouble not growing purslane than growing it!  It has a shallow, spreading root rather similar to its above-ground habit.

I like to gather seeds from purslane flowers that appears in the moist areas of the yard in late summer/ early fall.  I believe this year in California, we still had purslane growing in the back by the sprinkler and shade as late as October.

I accidentally found the seeds as I was washing purslane to make a salad this fall.  I thought it was clean and all of a sudden dirt was coming out like crazy - oops!  That wasn't dirt!  Those were purslane seeds! 

I quickly stopped washing and gathered what I could to dry on a plate and save to plant in our next warm season!

Claytonia Tuberosa

Is a plant in the same order as purslane and said to have an edible root... Let me test it before you do!


REFERENCES:

1.) Grieve, MM., A Modern Herbal ed by Mrs. CF Leyel, c. 1992 3rd Edition Tiger Books Intl., London

2.) Kane, CW Southern California Food Plants: Wild Edibles of the Valleys, Foothills, Coast... and Beyond c. 2013 Lincoln Town Press

3.) Emmons, D Wild Flavors: One Chef's Transformative Year Cooking from Eva's Farm c. 2011 Chelsea Green Publishers

4.) Rathbone, O et al The Occidental Arts and Ecology Collective (OEAC) Center Cookbook c. 2105 Chelsea Green Publishers

5.) Comstock, AB Handbook of Nature Study c. 1911, 1939 & 1967 by Comstock Publishing Assoc., A Division of Cornell University Press

6.) http://eattheinvaders.org/purslane/ 

7.) https://desertortoisebotanicals.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/verdolagas-purslane/

8.) https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/martha-washington/george-marthas-courtship/

This reference is more because George and Martha Washington's story is romantic - and I have it on a good source that Martha Washington cooked with purslane!

9.) https://www.chelseagreen.com/2019/promise-of-purslane/ where they quote, Southwest Foraging by John Slattery

I love Chocolate.

I also love Simple.

Here are simple recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Some of these recipes will also give you the theanine and "feel good" nutrients in chocolate - without all the sugar!

My favorite this winter is not really a dessert - but I enjoy it just about as much! 🙂

KETO HOT CHOCOLATE

This has been my favorite beverage this winter!  Super simple.  Delicious. Truly a relaxing cup of, "AHHH!" 🙂

1 TBSP CACAO POWDER

3 TINY SCOOPS NOW STEVIA

BIG SHOT OF CREAM (Raw is AMAZING, but I use whatever is available!)


For extra long mental clarity - or if I am wanting to pause or suppress my hunger a bit I add:

1 TBSP GRASS-FED BUTTER

1 TBSP MCT or COCONUT OIL (If this is your first time using MCT be sure to start with a teaspoon and ease your way up to a Tablespoon over a few days to a week.  (The first time I had MCT oil, my brother-in-law gave be an overflowing, heaping tablespoon - I RAN to the bathroom and didn't touch MCT oil again for months!)

3 Heart Coffees With Plants Nathan Dumlao 426648 Unsplash

3 Heart Coffees With Plants Nathan Dumlao 426648 Unsplash



MINI KETO CHEESECAKES

I tested this recipe out at two holiday parties this year!  Each time they were a big hit!  

In order to make it easy to transport, I left the mini cheesecakes on a serving tray with a glass ball jar containing defrosted blueberries or fresh raspberries with a serving spoon so each person could add fruit as they pleased.  I would definitely do it again!

Mini Keto Cheesecakes Recipe:

8oz Cream Cheese

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3-6 scoops Stevia

     Blend together and bake in pyrex dish or mini muffin cups 350° for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Serve topped with fresh berries and/or real cream whipped with a scoop of stevia.



Keto Chocolate Mousse


Ok.  So, MY Keto Chocolate Mousse didn't look like the above picture - more of a faded look to the chocolate, yet still beautiful enough for a party with the blueberries and chocolate chunks on top.

I honestly just eat the mousse as is.  Who wants to wait?  This is chocolate!

Keto Chocolate Mousse Recipe:

  • 1/4 - 1/2 Ripe Avocado
  • 2 Tbsp Cream (raw is amazing!)
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 3 Scoops Stevia

I put the above ingredients into my personal Ninja cup - but blending it up any way you have handy will work!

Enjoy!


Strawberries, Eat Right Feel Amazing

Eat Right Feel Amazing

Eat Right & 

FEEL AMAZING!

Get a FREE copy of the
SLIM! Keto Reset:

Get Your Body Burning Fat Again

Want more recipe ideas?  The SLIM! Keto Reset includes recipes for:

  • Snacks
  • Desserts
  • Lunches/Dinners
  • Beverages

Plus much more!


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Quick, Simple Chocolate dipped Strawberries are the perfect Keto Dessert!

Healthy and delicious!  

MELT 85% Dark Chocolate Chips are my favorite out of the package, but there is some sugar!  The best keto option, of course has no sugar.  You can either use Lily's chocolate chips or use 100% Dark Chocolate chips (a client insists that a handful of dark chocolate chips instantly reduces his blood pressure when high - I'd love to hear if you have found this true!)

DIP Strawberries into melted chocolate by holding the top.  (Make sure your strawberries are organic as they are one of the "dirty dozen" and usually has lots of pesticides used to grow them.)

PLACE onto waxed paper and

REFRIGERATE for two hours.

ENJOY!


Chocolate Shake Made Healthy  

(shhh!  they'll never know its good for them!)

Chocolate Shake Made Healthy American Heritage Chocolate Qbvpsw2pzve Unsplash

Chocolate Shake Made Healthy American Heritage Chocolate Qbvpsw2pzve Unsplash

This is a brilliant idea from a gal I follow who has great ideas!  Click here for the original recipe without chocolate.

  • 1/4-1/2 C. Coconut Cream
  • 1/2 C. Plain Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Cacao powder
  • Stevia to taste

I mix them all (and, honestly, usually I leave out the soda!)

Enjoy!


As our children were growing I read a wonderful book on how to handle children’s ailments singing the praises of Lemon Balm or Melissa Officinalis (aka: Bee Balm as the greek word for bee, I am told, sounds much like melissa). Lemon Balm makes a light, fresh, delicious tea that even children will drink! It has relaxing qualities. #Lemon Balm Tea is helpful in getting a fussy child to relax and maybe even sleep. There is a lot of research on Lemon Balm on PubMed for use with hyperactivity, impulsiveness and to help with concentration1 (I think I need some tea;-))

Lemon Balm even has some research as an antiviral and has on benefits with acyclover resistant bacteria2

You may want to take a minute to search the Pub Med site for more uses of Lemon Balm.

The Extract may be used by putting drops into hot water (the alcohol will dissipate in the steam):

Organic Tea Bags are also available:

Save money/Buy in Bulk:

For a cup of tea:

For a quart of tea:

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you! email me at:
Cynthia@SoCalGardenHealth.com

Sliced Luffa In Soap

Young, edible luffa

Mature Luffa Vine

Luffa aegyptiaca Climbing Wall of House!

How to Grow Luffa

  • Luffa's Botanical Names include:  luffa aegyptiaca (smooth luffa) and luffa angulatica  (angled luffa)
  • Angled luffa or L. angulatica is grown in Asia and known as Chinese okra or ridged gourd.  It's flowers are night-blooming, unlike the day blooming yellow flowers of the Luffa aegyptiaca.  
  • Luffa's Other Names may include, loofah, loofa, luffa plant, a luffa sponge, loofah sponge plant, loofah gourd, luffa vine, loofah vegetable, vegetable sponge, esponja, sponge vines, dishrag gourd, seed cloth,  loofah melon (luffa is a relative of c.pepo - a separate Genus and Species in the Cucurbitaceae Family that includes melons, but luffa's not a melon!  See luffa seed saving below.)
  • Luffa aegyptiaca  is  an annual, heat-loving vine whose fruits are edible when young!  It looks like long zucchini, but has a distinctly lemony flavor - it makes the zucchini consistency more enjoyable!  In India the immature fruits are used in curries and in Asia the young luffa is prepared and eaten as you would use a summer squash in recipes or try a stir-fry with a young luffa before it becomes a big gourd!
  • Luffa aegyptiaca is the botanical name of the smooth luffa pictured to the left (climbing the wall!) and at this stage it would be way too tough to eat!
  • Luffa gourds don't really require a trellis as you can see on this picture where the luffa is climbing the wall on its own.  It has tendrils that seem to grip the wall to support the weight of the plant and fruits.  (See below for a picture of luffa plant with flowers climbing a flimsy fence as a trellis!) 
  • Luffa requires a very long growing season, so if you don't live in a temperate climate (like the Southern states of CA, AZ, NM, TX , LA, AL or Fl.) or have a greenhouse, you may need to  start the plants indoors or in a greenhouse six weeks to two months  before last expected frost date for your zone.
  • Luffa Sponges
    Luffa acutangula sponges are softer than the ones from Luffa aegyptiaca, but the outer skin of the plant is more difficult to remove from the fibrous core.  We have always grown the L. aegyptiaca and have found that even if tougher, they make the perfect skin-sloughing loofah for the shower or bath. (see pictures below) These luffas are especially valuable for slicing horizontally and placing into a soap-making mold and using the ensuing bar on rough feet!

Saving Luffa Seeds

Luffa Varieties & Seed Identification
Angled luffa (Luffa acutangula or L. acutangula) seeds are a bit pitted and black.  L. aegyptiaca seeds are also black, but smooth or unpitted and also differ in that they have an outer margin rim that the black seeds of the angled loofah lack.  An occasional white seed may appear, but they may just be immature. 

To Save Luffa Seeds  - ideally you will want to let the gourds dry thoroughly on the plant before harvesting.  If that is not possible, let the fruit or the gourd dry thoroughly in the sun before attempting to peel the skin.  The seeds seem to hide in the crevices, but are easy to shake out into a bowl once the skin is removed.

Dried Luffa And Seeds

Dried Luffa And Seeds

 Luffa acutangula Seeds
If you are planning to save seeds, know that the different types of luffa can possibly cross-pollinate as smooth luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca) can cross-pollinate with angled lufa (Luffa acutangula or L. acutangula) that is within a half mile.   Luffa seeds seem to last a long time - I have had some for ten or more years and found them still viable (but I do keep them in a container that keeps moisture out.)  The seeds dry readily as the gourd dries and you can hear the seeds as the dried gourd is shaken! 

 Hand-pollinate or separate by great distances if you plan to save seeds.  At one time, even though luffa is an out-breeding plant, it was believed that these two varieties would not cross.  A gourd authority, Charles Heiser found otherwise and said the two could cross into a hardy hybrid, but the next generation of seeds would not be viable1.


Starting Luffa Plants

Sliced Luffa In Soap

Sliced Luffa In Soap

Starting Luffa - We start luffa when we start tomatoes around mid-January... Plan to keep the luffa protected from frost until thirteen months later - yes, the following February for the mature  sponge that you can peel to reveal the loofah you will use in your shower, make into exfoliating soap bars, or use to scrub your dishes like a dishcloth!

Scarifying Luffa Seeds - Luffa seeds have a very hard shell that soaking alone takes a long time to penetrate.  I prefer to scarify the seeds by carefully nicking off a corner of the edge of the seed.  This allows water to get in and start the seed faster.  

Soaking Luffa Seeds - Once the seeds are nicked or scarified, I soak them in a glass of water for 24 hours before planting in moist, warm soil.  

Germinated Luffa Seeds - If you are in a cooler climate, you will need to place a warming mat below the seeds to keep the temperature between 72 and 80 degrees in order for the seeds to germinate.  We live in sunny California and I have also taken an extra gourd or loofa fruit and buried it in compost directly in the garden - but sometimes that way can take a year or more before the seeds sprout.  (I started cacao seeds that way - it took a few months before they started!)  The best way to start the plants is to scarify, soak and plant in warm soil in your backyard garden, provide a trellis and protect from cold and the seeds should sprout in 10-14 days.

Harvesting Luffa is rather simple as it just needs to dry and keep them on the plant as long as possible.  This will vary according to where you live, but I have found the biggest gourds take a full year to mature.  Let the vine wither or harvest when you can no longer protect the fruits from frost.  Cut the fruit from the vine and let dry thoroughly.  Once dried, the skin can be peeled off the loofah and the seeds shaken out.  

Making Soap with a Loofah is as simple as cutting the loofah in horizontal slices and placing them in the mold that the soap will be poured into.  When the soap has cured the resultant luffa soap bar will be amazing for a scrub for rough feet and to remove dead skin.  The luffa soap in the above picture is made with a soap made with charcoal and frankincense (thus the dark color!)

Can Luffa grow in a pot?  Luffa should be planted in the ground or, possibly a huge pot - but  I cannot imagine it growing well without a large area of soil.  It can be a very large plant that needs a lot of soil to support it nutritionally.

How Long does a Loofah Last?  When a Loofah is left out to dry in its casing, it will actually last for years!  The picture below shows a loofah that I harvested after five years of sitting in the greenhouse!  It was drying out too much and beginning to disintegrate, though, so I wouldn't wait that long next time!

Dried Too Long Luffa

Dried Too Long Luffa


References:

1.) Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth 2002 Seed Savers Exchange (I only got a little info from here, but if you want to save seeds, this reference is the best I have found to make it easy for a beginner to start with!)


YOUR FOOD FOREST SoCalGardenHealth exists to give you control of your health.  One of the


(Withania Somnifera) Indian Adaptogenic herb Helps the body adapt to stress! Aswagandha (Withania Somnifera) RestorationSeeds.com  is


Any gardening success I have had... Is because of COMPOST! 60lb Pumpkin grown in compost

image
Genovese Basil

We are looking to expand our repertoire of beneficial interactions between plants in a Permaculture model.  Last year we planted Basil on the North side of a young Grapefruit tree – both flourished!  The Grapefruit tree consistently has more new leaves than any of our other citrus and the Basil has produced all year and even through our (very mild) winter!

Another idea for summertime abundance is Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes – sooooo yummy – and

worth the wait!
image

image

Roasted Tomatoes as Pizza Sauce

Ideally, cut Cherry Tomatoes in half (Picture above shows them baked whole and then cut to make them cook faster.   Still yummy, but cook faster and have more uses cut in half.) and place in pan lined lightly with Olive Oil.

image
Place the cut side up so the tomatoes are like little bowls.
Season with Salt, Pepper and herbs like Thyme or Oregano and maybe a touch of Balsamic Vinegar.
Bake at 250° for @ 3 hours.

May be stored in the fridge 2-3 weeks with Olive Oil poured over the Roasted tomatoes, frozen, or dehydrated further to last longer.

„

As a sickly teen, mom introduced me to fasting,  nutrition and showed me how to get my health back.  This started my lifelong quest for optimal health. Continually in school  (right now at Huntington University of Health Sciences, the only accredited school of nutrition in the US), with a passion to stay up on current research.   


Science plus Practical Application = the best of both worlds.

Passionate to give people tools to help them enjoy their best health!  

Cynthia Cruzʉۤ Author

Today is March 29th. In Southern California we have Tomato plants that survived the winter, fully mature Cabbage, Chives, Cilantro plants and Brussels Sprouts Kept small by a wild bunny. In a quandary about what to make for a quick, healthful lunch for our children and I, I threw this together and it was a big hit! Enjoy!

1/2 C. Mini Brussels Sprouts (about a handful)

1/2 C. Rapini

2 Tomatoes, chopped

2 Chives, chopped

Clove Garlic, pressed

2 Red Jalapenos, roasted, peeled, with seeds removed

2 Tbsp Butter

Soy Sauce

Brown Rice, cooked

Hamburger or Chicken, chopped small (leftover from last night’s dinner @ 1/2lb

Chop the prepared Jalapenos. Stir-Fry all veggies in the Butter. Add Soy Sauce. Add Brown Rice and meat. Heat Thoroughly and serve with quartered (seeds removed) Red Pepper. Yum!

Quick and Easy, yet everyone loved it!

Toma Verde Tomatillo

The Story

Ugly little red dots all over the leaves of my one tomatillo plant.  
One site recommended destroying the plant! 

Let me tell you what happened...

Red Mites on Tomatillos:

As I saw the little red dots all over the leaves of my one tomatillo plant I was heartbroken.  Up until this point it had been a gorgeous plant and amazingly green - maybe because it had followed a crop of peas that fixed nitrogen for the tomatillo!


Mental note:  Follow peas with tomatillos for extra nitrogen uptake!


The red mites left their damage and made a few leaves look more white than green... the white was like a web up close.  Research revealed the white was the damage the red mites leave behind ~ one site recommended destroying the plant!


I had unsuccessfully tried three times to start tomatillos from seed this year - destroying the one plant of three batches that survived was not an option!


Chemical pesticide sprays are also not an option!

The Solution:

Water turned out to be all it needed!  

Further research revealed that red mites thrive in very dry environments ~ and can be drowned with sufficient water.
A short hose covered the South side of the plant revealing no red mites(!) during the evening inspection.
I also watered deeply and sprayed the tomatillo plant again in the middle of the hot day.

The Tomatillo plant ended up producing a few large harvests very late in the season!

End Note: When we dug up the tomatillo at the end of the season, we found roots from a palm tree on the other side of the fence had been sucking up all the tomatillo's water!

I am so glad we didn't use pesticides or even pull the plant as one website had recommended!  That tomatillo produced an amazing quantity of delicious salsa that year!

Salsa

Red Tomato From Garden
Green Wet Tomatoes

Green Wet Tomatoes

Red Tomato From Garden

Red Tomato From Garden

Heirloom Tomatoes

Ahh, Tomatoes!!  Could we ever really produce enough to have extra for selling after eating them in the garden AND bringing them in for sandwiches AND making tomato sauce AND sharing with our neighbors?!

This year I thought it would happen.  The plants from last year survived the winter by covering the plants with blankets when frost threatened...

Can Tomato Plants Survive the Winter?

California winters are usually pretty mild, but covering a tomato plant helped ours survived three frosty nights!

Only a few tomato leaf tips succumbed to frost-bite and the rest of the plants produced tomatoes VERY early in the season to get us through until the new plants began producing.

What to do with Too many Tomatoes:

Now we are gathering handfuls of large, red tomatoes every day!  There are the two types that I planted ~ an heirloom variety with a funny shape and yummy flavor, and a beefsteak tomato that I got from a friend and saved the seeds from.  There are also some volunteer cherry tomatoes (here is a delicious idea for when you have an abundance!) and funny pear-shaped tomatoes that appeared near the neighbor's fence about 15' from the main tomato plant garden!

Six days later we are having an abundant harvest of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes!  We always set aside one as a tomatillo salsa ingredient!

How to Handle End Rot

We had a wild tomato plant growing, but the ends were hard and black.  Looking it up, it said bottom end rot may be from a deficiency of calcium in the soil.

We crushed eggshells and watered them well into the soil.  The next tomatoes to come out were healthy and prolific!

Is this further proof of the Health of the Soil being critical?!  I am so amazed at how many plant issues can be solved by the simple addition of crushed eggshells and/or compost!

Rotten Tomatoes

Overcome by processing this abundance, I left a bag of imperfect ones for too many days.  Interestingly, below a smelly pile of soft, moldy tomatoes was a perfect, unmarred tomato!  

Is this further proof of the Health of the Host being the most important factor?!  

„

As a sickly teen, mom introduced me to fasting,  nutrition and showed me how to get my health back.  This started my lifelong quest for optimal health. Continually in school  (right now at Huntington University of Health Sciences, the only accredited school of nutrition in the US), with a passion to stay up on current research.   


Science plus Practical Application = the best of both worlds.

Passionate to give people tools to help them enjoy their best health!  

Cynthia Cruzʉۤ Author

Today, July 1, 2011, I harvested our little (big for us!) plot of onions.  In a 4′ x 8′ space there were 24 pulled at harvest time, about 5 pulled earlier in the season to eat as needed, and three remaining to reproduce for next year.  One of those has begun to form seeds and another looks like it is beginning to produce bulbs underground by splitting into many.

The onions that were planted closest to a two-story building got considerably less sun and it is visible in the size of the bulbs ~ they are MUCH smaller.  Earlier in the season, the shorter daylight exposure slowed the formation of bulbs making the onions look like humungous chives!