By Karen Cohen
My List for Santa
So, I’ve been good, very good. Have you? When we are good, we expect a reward of some sort, right? That message comes from our childhood. My mom would promise me an ice cream if I had to go to a doctor’s visit. Bribery works. Even now decades later, I instantly crave a sweet treat when I leave a physician’s office. It makes me feel better!
Since I have been working all year round on my good deeds, I expect some returns. I have prepared my wish list for Santa. These items relate to my gardening hobby. All are healthy items, not sugar filled desserts! Though I’ll be exchanging cookies this season, too! I will let you know what appears under my Christmas tree.
First on my wish list is a multi-tray microgreens sprouter. With outdoor gardening on hold until spring, I can still grow food of sorts. Sprouting seeds indoors to top off salads or sandwiches or add to muffins provides vitamins and minerals and lets me keep my green thumb busy! Not as tasty as cookies but good for you! I have been sprouting non-gmo alfalfa seeds in a glass jar with a cheesecloth makeshift cover on it; it works great but I want to branch out now to try new varieties of seeds like broccoli, radish, mung beans, lentils, so many choices and all have unique flavors.
Here’s a recipe I love especially in the winter months. Soup is warming and easy to put together when you need a quick pick me up. Lentil soup is pretty common, but how about sprouting those lentils first then adding to a veggie stock, (your own or store bought) and spice it all up with a dash of curry powder, grated ginger, and minced garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Easy to sprout, place ½ cup of lentils in 2 cups of warm water. Soak for at least six hours on the counter and they will double in size and sprout. Add a slice of sourdough bread on the side with some hummus and you are set for a hearty meal.
Next on my wish list is a pair of gardening gloves with touchscreen fingertips. Okay now before you think that I spend my day scrolling on my cell phone, let me explain. I often want to grab a quick photo of a weed for i.d. purposes or a bug perhaps for the same reason. Maybe I just want to show off my huge mystery pumpkin to my friends. My cell phone is often kept in my jacket pocket ready to use. BUT, if I have garden gloves on, I have to take them off to use the phone. More often than not, I set the gloves down and they quickly disappear within minutes. Did the dog grab them or did Bigfoot run by and take off with them? Nah, I just misplaced them like the car keys, the dog leash, or the favorite garden spade. If I had special gloves that are not only waterproof but also had those special little fingertips on the thumbs, index finger and middle finger, I could efficiently snap those garden photos and even text to my garden buddies. Wouldn’t that just be so kewl? Stop laughing, I can hear you! If Santa doesn’t bring them, I am going online to order them ASAP!
Last on my list, at least for today, is vented garden cloches. I have been using plastic water jugs with the bottom cut out. These work just fine except when the vegetable I am covering often grows way bigger than a water or milk plastic jug. The plastic cloches offered by the garden supply houses are vented on top to allow hot air to escape, come with rust-proof steel spikes to anchor them into the soil, and are a foot in height and width. That can easily pop over young eggplants, pepper, or tomato plants. Cloches have been used by gardeners for centuries in every country and were traditionally made of clear glass. I can’t imagine trying to store 10 or more fragile, glass objects in my garden shed, so plastic works fine for me, thank you! Cloches keep out the bugs and create a warm microclimate inside.
What’s on your garden wish list?
(Karen Cohen is an organic gardener, photojournalist, and avid explorer. Send your garden tips, comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Gardening!)