Welcome to a new year of Food Gardening Magazine! We are truly happy to have you here. And we’re happy to be here! Through your comments, questions, and notes, we feel like so many of you have welcomed us into your food gardening adventures. We’ve also learned a lot. Then again, as any gardener can attest, we are all always learning how to garden as we try new varieties or new gardening techniques or move to new locations.
Speaking of which, we are moving our gardens to a new location. Sort of. For those of us embracing (or hiding from!) winter weather, we can’t do a whole lot with our gardens outdoors. We can, however, move those gardens indoors and try our hand at hydroponic gardening. And what better time than January to do it?
It’s a bit early for starting seeds, and it’s gotten too cold outdoors for most of our hardy greens like kale. That makes this the perfect time for indoor gardening. This issue features two articles and videos that highlight hydroponic gardening. If you’re interested in winter gardening, take a look at those and get an idea of what you can anticipate.
And, as you might expect, we’re also thinking about food. There’s plenty of that in this issue, too. Let’s take a look at some of what’s in store in the January 2023 edition of Food Gardening Magazine.
Food Gardening with Amanda articles—Food Gardening Network’s Senior Editor and Producer Amanda MacArthur is one fabulous food gardener! She takes gardening seriously, makes it fun, and delivers some great content—including companion videos to show you, not just tell you, exactly what to do. Check out these four helpful articles from Amanda this month:
- How to Plant a Food Garden According to Your Palate: Get five tasty recipes that you can make from some garden favorites. More importantly, it serves as an opening to start thinking about our gardens in terms of recipes and the vegetables that end up in our kitchens. Amanda has lots of tips and ideas to help you get started.
- Hydroponics for Beginners: 5 Systems for Growing Greens and Veggies: Join us for a 30-day video journey of growing food hydroponically, from sprouts and microgreens to aquaponic fish tanks, small countertop herb gardens, and big vertical lettuce and veggie gardens. You’ll adventure through the growth cycle of each method and system, and learn about the setup, maintenance, and success of popular systems.
- How to Build a Simple Hydroponic System: Once you know how to build a simple hydroponic system, you can garden in any season! And if you like DIY projects, you’ll be happy to know that you can make your own without spending a lot of cash or getting into complicated construction details.
- 3 Easy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes: These homemade salad dressing recipes for Honey Lemon & Feta, Roasted Red Pepper and Shallot, and Green Goddess Dressing can be made in no time at all, and make any salad taste better! Which one will you make first?
And this issue of Food Gardening Magazine includes details on three featured foods this month—concurrently with publishing this issue of our magazine, we’re also publishing and updating three gardening guides on cilantro, tomatoes, and hot peppers. As a premium member of Food Gardening Network, you get full access to the magazine and these gardening guides:
Cilantro: Though cilantro is native to warmer climes, you can grow it almost anywhere outdoors. Cilantro thrives planted in the ground in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 2 to 11; it also does quite well as a container plant—just bring it in before temperatures drop and make sure you place your container in a warm, sunny, draft-free spot for the winter. Find out more about growing this popular herb in Celebrate Cilantro.
Tomatoes: For descriptive growing purposes, tomatoes are grouped into two classifications—determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants tend to deliver their harvest all at once in about four to six weeks after planting, while indeterminate tomato plants grow as vines and continuously produce tomatoes throughout the season. Find out more in The Everything Tomato Guide: All You Need to Know About Growing, Harvesting, Cooking, and Eating Delicious Tomatoes
Hot Peppers: Hot peppers make excellent container plants. However, even if you’re growing a pepper plant that’s going to top out at 4 feet or so, don’t plant your young seedling in an enormous pot to start out; begin with a pot that’s just the right size for where the plant is now, with some growing room. As the plant grows, move it to a bigger pot. Learn more about growing hot peppers in the Hot Peppers Gardening Guide.
Here are some interesting tidbits about the foods you’ll find in these gardening guides to get you thinking about what you might want to plant in your garden.
- Cilantro has been celebrated the world over for centuries and not just for its culinary attributes. The herb has long been prized for its medicinal properties and was even thought to be an aphrodisiac. Two of the most read pieces of ancient literature, the Bible and The Tales of the Arabian Nights, mention cilantro in their stories—cilantro is famous!
- Did you know? When the tomato was first introduced in Europe, many Europeans used tomatoes only for decorative purposes, because tomatoes were thought to be poisonous to eat. Wealthy Europeans actually feared tomatoes for their presumed lethal qualities. In fact, it wasn’t the tomatoes that were poisonous, but the fancy pewter plates and platters upon which they were sometimes served, which would leach lead when the acidic tomatoes rested on the pewter.
- When you bite into a hot pepper, dip a chip into a spicy salsa, or dig into a dish made with peppers you can still see on the plate, what do you taste? Well, your tastebuds will register the flavor of the pepper–its smokiness, sweetness, etc. But that spiciness you sense as heat? That has nothing to do with your tastebuds, and everything to do with the pain receptors in your body.
In this edition of Food Gardening Magazine, you’ll find Gardening Guide Close-Ups that focus on cilantro, tomatoes, and hot peppers to help get you started with these three foods and our gardening guides. These articles give you valuable tips and advice about these three foods, and you’ll have instant access to the premium gardening guides themselves, too. Be first to read these Gardening Guide Close-Ups and get a head start on how to grow and use these foods:
- 9 Cilantro Companion Plants That Keep a Whole Garden Thriving: If you’re looking for ways to improve your cilantro crop, you might want to consider companion planting. Companion planting is the practice of pairing plants together for mutual benefit. There are a number of plants that make good companions for cilantro, and we’ll discuss some of them here.
- The 5 Best Tomatoes for Salsa: Tomatoes are the foundation of any good salsa, so it’s important to pick the right type! Do you want something sweet? Tangy? Let’s explore five types of tomatoes that work wonderfully in salsa. Plus, we’ll take a look at the other essential ingredients for a flawless traditional salsa!
- What to Do With Hot Peppers After a Big Harvest: Having a garden full of ripened hot peppers is like turning on the holiday lights in the middle of summer; it’s a beautiful thing! But what to do with all those peppers? We’ve been collecting some of our favorite ways to use them up, and here are our top ten!
And then there are the recipes you’ll find in the three gardening guides! Here are some of my favorites that are tasty, unique, and easy to make:
- Balsamic Bruschetta: Here is a simple, yet elegant, appetizer to serve. The balsamic vinegar gives this dish a unique zest. A great way to start an Italian meal!
- Thai Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing: This is a real crowd-pleaser that also happens to feed a crowd. It’s the perfect salad for your next barbecue or potluck supper.
- Chili Pepper Butter: Give your butter a spicy boost with jalapeño and cayenne pepper. Use Chile Pepper Butter to make your corn on the cob pop, or give a loaf of freshly baked bread a bright burst of flavor.
I hope you enjoy the January 2023 issue of Food Gardening Magazine as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together. We’re so happy to have you here! Now let’s head out to the garden!
Happy harvesting—and happy eating!
Editor & Publisher
P.S. Please enjoy this issue of Food Gardening Magazine, and let me know what you think about it by commenting below with your feedback! Your input is valuable to us and can help us make improvements.