Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

Tiny grapes

The five little things that made my week…

1. After four years of waiting and watching them grow verdant in spring only to go dormant in winter, fruitless, our grapevines finally have… itty bitty little grapes!


2. Nasturtiums are one of my favorite flowers, and I love how they grow wild all over our property, like here in a neglected side yard. I started with a single packet of nasturtium seeds five years ago, and somehow the plants have hopped over the house and traveled around the yard, multiplying by hundreds every spring. They’re the perfect multipurpose plant: pollinator food, trap crop, ground cover, vegetable, and condiment. If you don’t grow this in your own yard, you should. Just throw out a handful of seeds and see what happens after the next rain!

Late spring garden

3. If you’re looking at this photo and have no idea what’s going on, you’re not the only one. This is what my vegetable garden currently looks like. The paths have disappeared and within that chaotic mass of green are fava beans, collard greens, cabbage, kale, dandelions, tatsoi, bok choy, chard, lettuce, mustard, radishes, turnips, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and calendula. Almost everything is bolting already from our warm weather, and it’s time to put in the tomatoes and squash. But you know what this area looked like just one month ago?

Early spring garden

4. Yep. (Different angle, but you get the idea.) It’s amazing what a steady supply of drip irrigation and a string of sunny 78°F days can do. I want to say the weather’s not normal for this time of year, but I guess it’s now our new normal.

The CSA Cookbook is in its second printing

5. Week after week, this journey I’m on with the book continues to surprise and delight at every turn. On the heels of my book release party last weekend, my editor just sent news that The CSA Cookbook is going into a second printing! Less than a month after its release! Whaaaaat. I think back on my last two book signings this month, where people were buying two, three, sometimes four books at a time… all the emails I’ve received about sauce-stained pages and new family favorites… all the reviews sent in so far from editors, bloggers, and readers… and my heart is filled with the deepest gratitude. I’m grinning from ear to ear. And I have you to thank for this unexpected success!

We are not talking bestseller numbers by any means, but for me, success is hearing from a farmer who never realized he could harvest bean leaves or a cook who finally found a use for kale stems that doesn’t involve compost. It’s a first-time CSA subscriber who’s actually excited about kohlrabi and a longtime gardener who just discovered pumpkin leaves are edible. It’s reading messages from New Zealand and Singapore and other far-flung places from people who just received actual, cold, hard copies of The CSA Cookbook in the mail. These are the stories I cherish and I save every single one of them. Thank you, a thousand times over.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Avatar
    Diana Elizabeth
    April 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I planted Nasturtiums from seeds (a gift from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello) and was surprised at what I saw – they looked like lily pads and then to see a flower! I just read your post about the pesto and I’m so excited because I wan’t sure what exactly to do with these! You said they are annuals, but mentioned they continue to hop through your yard over the years. Am I misunderstanding the term ornamental annual? Will they return? I’m in Phoenix so many perennials don’t come back due to the severe summer heat.

    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      April 17, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      They are annuals, but the plants are prolific and they reseed very easily (hundreds of seeds from just a few plants!). If you don’t pull them out right away, you’ll have many more springing up the following year on their own after a good rain (assuming you planted them in the ground). Mine start to die back in late spring or early summer, and that’s when you can harvest the green seed pods if you want to make nasturtium “capers.” (The recipe is linked in the post above.)

      Of course, if you prefer not to have “wild” nasturtiums year after year, you should pull them as soon as the flowers start to wither so they don’t form seeds. Where I live, nasturtiums are almost a weed – I see them growing on otherwise barren hillsides and all along the coast. I think they are beautiful!

      • Avatar
        Diana Elizabeth
        April 20, 2015 at 11:11 am

        Blown away by this information! Thank you 🙂


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