A group of avid Slow Food gardeners heard Southern California gardening expert Pat Welsh give a fascinating and informative talk on “Growing Great Veggies, the Organic Way” this last Saturday, March 8th, In Laguna Beach. Masterfully mixing information with personal anecdotes, Ms. Welsh quickly covered the basics of gardening before discussing, in-depth the importance of the proper timing for the growing of warm and cool season vegetables in our Mediterranean climate – important because it differs from that of much of the rest of the country.
Ms. Welsh also emphasized topics Consistent with the “good” and “clean” parts of the Slow Food philosophy. She provided a wealth of useful suggestions about favorite varieties. For example, Della Cascine is an Italian variety of fava beans that, when picked young are delicious pod and all, because the pod is tender and free from strings – unfortunately, because they are a cool season plant, those of us eager to try these will have to wait to plant them until next fall. The entire presentation also emphasized how to achieve garden fertility using organic soil amendments and how to deal with pests without pesticides using natural controls. Ms. Welsh also shared many useful gardening hints – for example, after planting carrot, celery, parsnip, and parsley seeds you can speed germination by pouring boiling water on the rows of seed.
Fortunately, for those of you that missed hearing Pat Welsh, you can find much of what she had to say in her encyclopedic volume, Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening.