Grow It Eat It on the road, California style

I’m currently in the awkward position of having come back from vacation to torrential rain that’s preventing me from doing anything about the no-doubt-weedy status of my community garden plot (not to mention the other garden spaces I’m responsible for).  I can’t exactly complain, but I can use the opportunity to share some of my edible plant experiences.

First of all, northern California is a great place to eat, not that we didn’t know that.  Lots of fresh veggies used in innovative ways (I had one dinner in Fort Bragg that was just variations on carrots, including a carrot-top pesto/salsa which I am definitely going to try to replicate).  It’s also a good place to happen across food gardens, like those within the large Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland: community garden plots, Alameda County MG trial gardens, and Merritt College’s neat plots with this crazy walking stick kale growing nearby:

We came across wild-growing kale on the bluffs at Mendocino:

and also a wild radish of some kind:

I recognized it as such from the flowers, and sampled some of the seed pods: refreshing!  (It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: do not eat wild plants unless you are absolutely sure what they are.  The brassica family is pretty distinctive and generally edible, but other families of plants (such as the aforementioned carrots) contain members that are quite poisonous.)

I also munched a little on redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana) on our hikes through the redwood forests, because even though I wasn’t personally familiar with the plant, I knew it was related to our common wood sorrel, which is edible in small quantities.  But again, use caution.  It’s a lovely ground cover:

though I doubt it grows well outside of its native environment.

Also, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are a lovely place to visit, and they do have a vegetable garden, but I neglected to take any photos there.

Back in the Bay Area, we visited the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, which is a great middle school garden with lots of interesting features (including many plants way ahead of their season here, or completely impossible to grow outside in our climate, like lemon trees.  This is my general northern California experience: I walk around goggle-eyed, frequently ignorant, and trying hard not to be jealous, repeating, “Well, at least we can grow tomatoes easily.  Oh, except for the bugs and diseases.”).

Have some photos:

Log structure gathering place
Rebar tunnel with kiwis and passionfruit
Greenhouse.  To get those tomatoes going. 🙂
Storage for unused cute signs

As you can see, I really enjoyed looking around the garden, and I’m sure the kids enjoy growing things there (and eating them!).  It was a great vacation and I’m glad to be back to my own garden – when it stops raining…

One Comment on “Grow It Eat It on the road, California style

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