New Year New You New Me - The Plant Provocateur

 |Rhazes Little Gem Lettuce|

|Rhazes Little Gem Lettuce|

It's time for The Plant Provocateur to fess up.  So, I must admit, I strayed waaaaayyy off my usually healthy regimen this past holiday season and my body paid the price. How was I to know that the coconut cake, the key lime pies, the peppermint meringues, I made, would all taste so good?!  I also curse the Trader's Joe grocery chain for introducing me to their truly outrageous tin of treats known as Jingle Jangle.  So now, it's time for The Plant Provocateur to pay up and get in to a healthy frame of mind again.

 |Little Gem Lettuce + Arugula|

|Little Gem Lettuce + Arugula|

So January 2nd, I pulled myself together and began a 14 day long dietary cleanse. It's day 7 and things are positively shaping up!  I didn't have to go far for the produce required for my cleanse.  Just out my backdoor, in fact, and into my garden.  Every year I plant for spring, summer, autumn, and winter.  Living and growing in California can be awesome.  For now, with the world's climate changing, I don't have to deal with any 'Polar Vortexes' or 'Arctic Expresses'.  As a result, this winter's harvest has been a bountiful one.  Oceans of arugula, lanes of luscious little gem lettuces, plumes of piquant parsley, all from organic seed, have created a tasty tapestry in my winter garden beds.

 |Flat Leaf Parsley + Italiko Rosso Dandelion|

|Flat Leaf Parsley + Italiko Rosso Dandelion|

The Plant Provocateur has a serious hankerin' (get it?)  for dandelion greens.  The more the bitter the better.  Italiko Rosso is one of my favorites with its rich wine red ribs and pleated greens.  One cool benefit about all of this amazing food, grown from organic seed, in my organically prepared garden beds, is that as far as pests are concerned, they pretty much leave most of it alone and, as a result, it looks pristinely delicious as well as magazine spread ready.  The other benefit is that it fits the bill for my cleanse.  The bitter dandelion is great for cleaning up the liver.  The kale is nutrient rich.  The lettuces are sweet and the parsley is refreshingly aromatic.  Throw them all in a bowl (washed beforehand, of course), add a little lime scented flax dressing with garlic (lemme know if you want the recipe), and prepare for a delectable taste explosion.  So good!

 |Outredgeous Romain Lettuce + Vates Kale|

|Outredgeous Romain Lettuce + Vates Kale|

Growing your own leafy greens is so easy and so satisfying.  There are a lot of great seed companies out there like High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont - www.highmowingseeds.com, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company in Missouri -  www.rareseeds.com, and Territorial Seed Company in Oregon - www.territorialseed.com.  The other cool thing about growing your own greens is that there are so many delicious, colorful varieties available out there.  Foliage color in reds, purples, golds, bronzes and greens will give your garden some serious stylin'-profilin' gourmet glam!  And right now, 'tis the season for ordering seeds. Many of the aforementioned seed companies have brilliant catalogs on-line and a treasure trove of offerings.  Oh, and if you talk to them, tell 'em The Plant Provocateur sent ya!