Monday, April 28, 2008


"...Women who ate five or more servings of chocolate each week in their third trimester of pregnancy were 40 percent less likely to develop preeclampsia than those who ate chocolate less than once a week."

If I could grow my own chocolate in the garden, you know I'd be all over that action. 

Instead, I am going to grow something called Chocolate Morning Glory . I am going to grow it on my arbor, which is currently naked. This is what the Chocolate Morning Glory is supposed to look like. 

"Is there something yummy going on? It must be me."

Some people hate Morning Glories because they can be a bit invasive. I love them, because my mother always grew them in our backyard on Third Avenue in Koreatown. I also love them because they grow quickly to create a near-instant screen of loveliness, and they always reach for the sun. Aw. Morning Glory blossoms only live for a day, but they put on quite a show. Many times, the sight of a brand-new, just-opened Morning Glory in my garden has yanked me out of the dark blues and into the bright sunlight. 

Morning Glories have an important lesson to teach. And like the best teachers, they teach by example.

So, my big Artistic Plan is to grow them on the arbor with something called 'Ruby Moon' Hyacinth Bean, which apparently makes purple bean pods and lavender-ish flowers that look like sweet peas. 

"We represent the purple pod guild."

Brown, purple and lavender: a color combo made in flower-chocolate heaven.

"He's the bean pod, I'm the flower."
Over the weekend, I played the vintage 1970s Family Feud board game with some friends, which I can't recommend enough.


It's truly a great game. But one of the questions was a bit fucked-up for me. 

"Name five fruits or vegetables that grow on a stalk." 

Feeling horticulturally savvy, I blurted out "Brussels Sprouts!" 


You see, the key to this game is not being correct, but being able to think like someone in the 1970s. Maybe someone who's not necessarily the smartest blouse on the rack.

Apparently people in the 1970s didn't know very much about plants, because the answers were all things like beans, which obviously grow on vines, and celery, which is a stalk, but doesn't grow on a stalk. 

My answer was a big zero. I felt like such a mom. I mean, a Family Feud Mom. You know what I mean.


PS: Go eat some chocolate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Urf Day!

Hi, Wiggle Worms:

Happy Earth Day! Today is my personal best Earth Day ever, and it's also my earthiest, because today I got a "crapload" of badass compost from Mr. Tim Dundon of Altadena, for a song. Marta Teegan of Homegrown put me in touch with him. 

Mr. Tim Dundon has a miniature jungle full of exotic fowl, including a Polish rooster named Rod Stewart, for obvious reasons. Rod Stewart was a little camera-shy, but here is a photo that looks like him.

"Yes, I really am this cool."

My favorite was the crested duck, though. Here is what it looks like as a baby. Can you say OMG CUTE?

"Oh my! I think I'll take a walk."

Mr. Tim Dundon also has a huge compost pile made of fresh wood shavings scraped from the floor of a high-end horse stable. His compost is THE SHIT, if you know what I mean. I will provide his phone number if you leave a comment. He doesn't like to be paid for his compost, but I gave him as much money as he would take. He really just wanted me to spread the word about the magic of gardening. He was full of poetic turns of phrase, such as "The garden is the altar on which we worship God" and things of this nature. 

Mr. Tim Dundon takes a dim view of organized religion, Catholicism in particular. He said that instead of a Popemobile, he drives a big old truck called a Poopmobile.

He also takes a dim view of capitalism. He likes to practice what he calls Crapitalism.

Things of this nature.

I am going out side to pour this happy horsheshit into my raised beds, and sink a bunch of tomatoes, cukes, zukes, bell peppers, strawberries et al.

From the bottom of my soil, Happy Earth Day to you and yours.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring at Sunset Nursery

Hi, Strawberry!

I went to Sunset Nursery today and spent about an hour and a half choosing seeds and plants for my spring/summer veggie/fruit/flower fiesta. One time I saw Bianca Jagger at Sunset Nursery. This time I didn't see anyone from Studio 54. However, I noted that the variety of Blue Fescue I want to plant (Festuca ovina glauca) is called "Elijah Blue," which I can only assume is a tribute to Cher's son with Gregg Allman.

Elijah Blue

Elijah Blue

I'm super-psyched about everything I bought, especially the soy bean (edamame) plant. Edamame is such a treat and so expensive at the store.  Also super-psyched on three new strawberry plants that promise to bear fruit all summer. My strawberry experiment has been a rousing success so far, aside from the Aggravated Assault Incident, and I am now eager to live a full-blown Strawberry Lifestyle. I feel it is my destiny.

Ever so much more soon,


Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Friday!

Sorry for not writing this week. I have a lot of garden news to share, mainly concerning the very fun activity of Planning My Summer Edible Garden Wonderland.

I attended a workshop at Homegrown on how to plan a series of raised beds for flowers and edibles. The main exciting thing was learning that I can use straight compost instead of soil, and skip buying soil by the bag at Home Depot for four thousand dollars. Marta, the woman who runs Homegrown, gave us a source for some truly badass compost you buy by the trash bag.

Marta also said it's perfectly fine, and even preferable, to hand-water rather than install a drip system. This was also a huge relief, as I love hand-watering and am not keen on spending a whole weekend attaching tiny tubes to tiny clips and whatnot.

What was a little troubling was that apparently the soaker hoses I've been using--those black ones made out of old tires--are not food safe. Oops!

Most of all, I loved spending time with some other garden geeks in a beautiful backyard in Mount Washington, one of L.A.'s more magical neighborhoods. 


Monday, April 14, 2008

"I am so tall today!"

Thanks to my wonderful father Dan, a.k.a. Daddy Spice, for this poem. He sent it to me today because he is awesome.  

God Says Yes To Me
by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly 
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Friday!

Purple hats are so in.

Ah, dears:

The good news is that I finished my taxes today. As a reward, I am hoping/planning to attend two workshops tomorrow on organic kitchen gardening. These are my rewards for a tough week of Taking Care of Bidness. 

The other exciting thing is that it's getting on time for Tomato Time. Plus, Sweet Pepper Time. 

I ate my first homegrown radish the other day. It was sweet and meaty, sorta. It had a kind of backbone of flavor that normal radishes from the store don't have. It was a radish for people who think they don't like radishes. It was an "Easter Egg" variety. Will take pics soon.

Must walk Sir Toby before sun sets.

Go Dodgers!


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Plant Prejudice

IF YOU ARE are a plant person, I expect you will nod in empathy with what I am about to say. If you are not a plant person, perhaps this will help you to better understand how it feels to be a plant person.

I'm talking about Plant Prejudice.

The plant world is divided into different types of plants. And while all these are created equal, they are certainly not equal in the eyes of gardeners.  You see, the world of gardeners is also divided into types. 

Let me put this into Rock terms, if that makes it easier. We all know rock fans may be roughly divided into two general categories:  Beatle people and Stones people. 

These rough categorizations express an aesthetic, spiritual and even philosophical dichotomy. Some argumentative types might also add in the Velvet Underground to form a trichotomy. That's OK.

The point is, likewise, plants may be roughly divided into two major categories: Monocots and Dicots.

Monocots are things like palm trees, various waxy tropical buddies, lots of weird plastic-looking houseplanty things, and so forth. They often have no flowers worth mentioning; or else they have flowers with no fragrance. For example, take the excellently named Beer Plant, a.k.a. Cast Iron Plant, a.k.a. Aspidistra elatior, which is said to be so hardy, it can live in a dorm room closet on a regular diet of beer.

Despite its party-hardy constitution, I hate Cast Iron plants. Their flower is one of the only legitimately ugly flowers I have ever seen in my whole goddamn life. 

"Dude. I'm soooo wasted."

Believe me, this photo is unbelievably flattering. 

Dicots are things like roses, gardenias, all kinds of fragrant herbs and shrubs and veggies; wonderful Mediterranean plants and all kinds of trees. 

My badass first horticulture teacher, the Esteemed Dave Lannom, is a hardcore Monocot Person. He is known in the world as "the Palm Man" due to his main obsession. As he puts it in his typical deadpan, "I have a little thing for palms." But the truth is, he is obsessed, and he can't help it. Therefore, I can't blame him.

I believe that plant people are born with certain predilections which they can't really control. 

Myself, I am a dicot person. I discovered this while taking Dave's Horticultural Science class last fall. I love European plants and cottage gardens, and I can't help it. I need flowers that smell good. I need Italian tonic and culinary herbs. I need gardenias. Most of all, forever and ever, I need Lavender.

"Get with the program, people. The Lavender program."

Granted, I do love lilies, which are monocots. But I feel that lilies are only monocots in biology; in spirit and every other important sense, they are dicots.

"Now," you ask. "What differentiates the two?"

What a great question.

The main thing is really weird. I mean, it's a really tiny difference on which to base two entire regions of the plant kingdom. But whatever.

When a monocot is a little tiny baby plant, and it grows its very first seedling leaves, it only grows one single leaf. 

A baby dicot grows two.

That's it.

But then what's really cool is that this one tiny difference grows to become many bigger differences, involving the way their veins look, the ways their roots grow, all sorts of major things.

And then there are the Velvet Underground conifers, which are neither monocots nor dicots, but something quite unique (or wholly derivative, depending on your perspective).

They think they are So Cool.

Anyway, I am very ecstatic to be  Dicot Person, now and always. This picture, of a beautiful fragrant gardenia, tells you why.

"The whole world smells of love, it seems."

My mother, Faith — my first gardening hero — is an absolutely incredible woman. She also wrote a wonderful novel called Gardenias. This is purely coincidental. 

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rock & Roll Love Letter

Drink a beer and listen to my fun radio show today at 4 pm PST at

Or 4:30...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Frogs of Spring