The five little things that made my week…

Kayaking in Tomales Bay

1. Getting my sunset kayak on in Tomales Bay. I was hoping to paddle through the bioluminescence this time of year, but the glow was very faint, even on a moonless night. C’est la vie.

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September 19 2014      9 comments     Linda Ly
Diversión

A look inside the National Heirloom Exposition

Last week was my first-ever visit to the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, and stepping onto the Sonoma County Fairgrounds was like stepping into a Garden Betty dream. Imagine booth after booth of produce porn, tables lined with late summer bounties, vendors serving up local, sustainable, and organic food, and a pop-up farm filled with fluffy sheep, alpacas, goats, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, and other fowl.

If you like to geek out on garden stuff, run an urban homestead or a full-scale farm, strive toward a life of self-sufficiency, or simply appreciate good food that comes from the earth, coming to the Heirloom Expo is like coming home.

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September 16 2014      14 comments     Linda Ly
Verduras

Thai basil ice cream

Sometimes it feels like I’m waiting alllll summer for my basil to grow into a bush, and suddenly at the end of the season, boom. My Thai basil explodes overnight and I find myself blending and freezing several pints of pesto to save for the winter months.

Thai basil

But fresh basil is a favorite of mine in the kitchen, topping bowls of arrabiata-sauced pasta and creamy tomato soup, cut into a chiffonade (I love that word) for stews or stacked whole on top of Caprese salads. But beyond those traditional uses for basil, I particularly like it in unconventional recipes, like my baked blueberry-basil donuts or this homemade Thai basil ice cream.

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September 13 2014      16 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Hierbas

The making of a cookbook: the cover shot

Every time I wrap up another phase of my cookbook, it always feels so, so close yet so, so far away. We’re still months (like, six months) from the official release, but since half that time is spent in printing, we’re much closer to the finish line than it seems.

This week, the blurbs are starting to come in from authors I’ve long admired (I’m still stunned they’ve agreed to review my book!), the final tweaks are being made on the book layout and design, and the front cover is set. in. stone. !!

May I announce my soon-to-release first book from Voyageur Press, The CSA Cookbook: Thinking Inside the Box.

The CSA Cookbook: Thinking Inside the Box

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September 10 2014      29 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Trabajo

I'll be wandering the National Heirloom Exposition this Thursday!

Hi friends! I am pretty psyched to confirm this — I’ll be making my way up north to the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa this Thursday, September 11!

I’ve wanted to go to this expo for a few years now. It’s put on by the great people at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (where I get most of my seeds) and has grown to become quite an impressive event since their first in 2011 — the “world’s pure food fair,” as they call it.

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September 8 2014      12 comments     Linda Ly
Noticias

Soil solarization in raised beds

For a while I was lucky with my raised bed garden, and had few problems with pests and diseases. But this summer, a vicious case of wilt (I’m guessing Fusarium wilt) weakened or stunted several of my plants (mostly peppers) and a hungry colony of flea beetles had taken up residence in my tomatillo crop.

Combined with the drought in California, a particularly hot season, and a month-long vacation looming, I decided to put all those problems to bed — under a sheet of plastic for the remainder of the summer.

Soil solarization is a highly effective, nonchemical method for controlling soilborne diseases. While it’s commonly used on commercial farms, it’s not as prevalent in home gardens because it does require part or all of the soil to lay fallow during peak summer. In a home garden where space is often limited, it’s hard to give up a raised bed for the four to six weeks it takes to treat the soil.

But if you plan ahead (or, like me, you know you’ll be away from the garden for an extended period), soil solarization is an ideal solution for killing weed seeds, controlling nematodes and pests, eliminating soilborne plant pathogens, and improving tilth and soil biology. Think of it as a solar oven in the garden, baking everything underneath it — and what comes out is sterile soil, free of the problems that used to plague your plants.

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September 6 2014      43 comments     Linda Ly
Jardín

The five little things that made my week…

Salton Sea

1. Road trip around the entire 116-mile coastline of Salton Sea.

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September 5 2014      11 comments     Linda Ly
Diversión