A New Edible Hobby

Quick Quiz:  What do all of the following have in common?

Crimson Sweet

Little Fingers


Parris Island

Big Max

Straight 8

Bull’s Blood

Blue Coco


If you guessed:

a) race horses running in the Kentucky Derby

b) cabernets from Napa Valley

c) specialty vodka martinis

d) indie band names

e) dogs who won the Westminster Dog Show

f)  none of the above


If your answer was (f), then you’re on the right track. If you do recognize these names, then you know that they are the names of different varieties of vegetables. I love that they have colorful, mysterious names that distinguish them from others in the same variety and give them sort of veggie personalities!

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For the first time in my life, I am going to attempt to grow and sustain something edible!  If you’re constantly buying vegetables in the market, always paying attention to where they are from and how they are grown, a natural outgrowth of that would be to try growing them yourself. Especially in my climate, where you can have a garden growing during all four seasons, it’s a no-brainer. My husband and I have launched into an exciting endeavor in organic farming.  He is not quite the vegetable-farming-virgin that I am, having done a little gardening in his earlier years and having an ever present love of Farmer’s Markets.  Always game for an outdoor activity, Scott laid the groundwork for our garden, which turned out to be quite the labor of love.  He and I chose a good spot in our backyard with mostly sunny exposure throughout the day. Then the real fun began:  first he cleared the area, then he proceeded to build two raised beds 24″ high, filled them with organic soil and mulch, adjusted the sprinkler heads to reach the beds and, finally, built a rabbit-proof fence around the beds with an entry gate.  All of this necessitated many trips to several of the hardware and gardening stores in the area.  But the final product is beautiful and gave me a perfect blank canvas in which to plant.

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Our little plants, many of which are named in the quiz above, came from Two Dog Nursery, the only organic vegetable nursery in Los Angeles.  Jo Ann Trigo, part-owner of Two Dog Nursery with her husband, is an expert in all things related to organic farming and we are lucky enough to have her at a nearby Farmer’s Market every Sunday.  She helped us pick out what will hopefully be our first crop and shared lots of important information about planting and upkeep.  More about Two Dog Nursery in another blog–they have a very interesting story, a great website and the Earthbox, which appeared on our Mother’s Day list of gifts ideas.

We couldn’t wait to bring our cute seedlings home and put them in the ground.  That would be my job, which turned out to be alot easier than I expected.  With shovel in one hand and ruler in the other, I dug and measured out each bed so that all the plants would have enough room to grow and produce big, delicious vegetables.

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Now we’re discussing starting an herb garden also!  Maybe that will be next weekend’s project.  In the meantime, I want to plant flowers in front of the rabbit-proof fence, just to pretty it up a bit. I can’t wait to see how the seedlings mature in the next few weeks.

To the adorable, little rabbit that I saw scampering right in front of the vegetable garden:  please go foraging in someone else’s yard!!

Answers to the vegetable quiz:

Crimson Sweet = watermelon

Little Fingers = carrots

Traviata = eggplant

Parris Island = lettuce

Big Max = pumpkin

Straight 8 = cucumbers

Bull’s Blood = beets

Blue Coco = beans


xox Ellen

Leaning Into Veganism



  1. AlexCartana says:

    Oh! Ellen, soooo jealous (in a good way) I want a garden to grow my own Organic herbs/veggies. That’s such a great idea…. and with the way it’s set up you won’t have any little fluffy foreign invaders, including Babka and Buns… hahah
    Can’t wait to try some of them. You must have a herb garden, they’re definitely the best!!
    Congratulations on making good use of your beautiful back Garden. Yaay to home grown food!

    • You are too adorable and thank you for being so supportive! Babka and Buns sounds like a terrific bakery!

  2. Karen Katz says:

    I love that you are starting a garden! How awesome! Can’t wait to see it for myself!

    xxxxxxxx Karen 🙂

  3. Annice says:

    Hey Ellen,
    First of all , I so love your blog! I look forward to your postings. I should have guessed but I am sorry to say that I did not pass the quiz. Looking at your lovely garden made me miss my garden. I grew my own veggies for almost 30 years. I took a hiatus the two years we lived in Florida because we lived on a canal and the veggies were an invitation to snakes and river rats and the occasional very hungry alligator. It is such a thrill to pick your first harvest…Enjoy! Hats off to Scott…we know all about staking out a garden bed

  4. If our crop is successful, you can share in it with us! I have a feeling you know alot more about this than I do, but everyone has to start somewhere!

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