My dad is one of my absolute favorite people in the world.
He is a generous, hard working and sensitive man. He and my mom sacrificed so much for my brother and me. Growing up, I have so many great memories from being a part of several sports teams to going on trips to other countries. I used to have big slumber parties at my house in middle school and high school with all my friends, and my dad would always have bagels and orange juice waiting for all of us by the time we made it out of our sleeping bags. My parents made all those memories possible, and I will always be so grateful for all they have provided.
Here I am, living in LA as an adult, and my dad never stops giving. I was fortunate enough to have him in town all weekend. He spent his Sunday afternoon teaching me to start my own vegetable garden. He works in the plant business so I knew he would know what to do. I have always wanted to start a vegetable garden, something simple. But I didn't know how to start a successful one. My dad showed me how to turn up the soil, get rid of the weeds, fertilize and plant stakes to tie the vegetable to as they grow. Here is the short version:
Here is what you will need:
3 big bags of soil
1 cup fertilizer (to get started)
1 roll of gardening sheet (resembles a black plastic bag material) which is for keeping the weeds from growing
long wooden stakes
a shovel and a hook rake
vegetables and herbs!
Let's start with the before shot:
Pull all those weeds out from the root, and churn up the dirt to loosen it; go as deep as you can. Then put about 1/2 of your fresh soil on top.
Roll out the black material (it looks like a black garbage bag but is breathable so the water will go through, but the weeds cannot grow through it.
Place the other half of the fresh soil on top of the black material:
Toss the cup of fertilizer all over the surface of the soil (you will need to repeat this every month).
Stick a long knife into the ground and cut a "T" into the material where you want to plant a vegetable. Clear a space for it by moving some soil out, and place the plant into the ground. The base of the plant should be below the black material, and the stem should come out of it:
Spread the dirt back around the base of the plant, and press down gently.
Don't plant the vegetables too close together. The herbs can be a little tighter.
I will let you know how this all progresses, but I think we are off to a great start.
Water heavily at first:
This is about a 4'X3' area, and I have heirloom tomatoes (green and red), red, yellow and green bell peppers, zucchini, mint, cilantro and scallions. We put a little fence around the area as to keep the cats and dogs out of the patch.
I decided to make a nice light meal with vegetables (mixed potatoes and asparagus) and fresh ground almond from the Santa Monica Farmers' Market.
Besides, we had to save room for our inevitable trip to yogurtland. I just really had a great day with my dad, and I couldn't be happier.
One Fantastic Day Almond Crusted Tilapia:
4 Tilapia filets (this can be any comparable white fish)
1/4 C canola or vegetable oil
3/4 C ground almond (this can work with ground pecans as well)
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put he beaten eggs in one shallow bowl and the ground almond in another.
Pat fish to dry.
Dip a filet in the egg.
Allow excess to drip off before placing it into the dish with the almond. Coat the entire surface with the ground almond by flipping it over a couple times.
Repeat this with all 4 filets.
Heat oil in a large heavy pan over med-high heat.
Place the filets in the pan, and cook on each side for 30 seconds.
Move pan (if oven safe) to the oven. (If pan is not oven safe, you can place filets on a baking sheet instead).
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 3 minutes for small filets and 4-5 minutes for large ones. The fish should flake apart easily.
Sprinkle some fresh ground almond on top!