January 2012 I started these plants from seeds on a whim. I thought it would be cool to grow something really different for me. Last year, their first year, I just watched them and did not harvest any. That made me realize I needed to know how to tell when they are ripe and what to do when they are ready for harvest. Many cooking recipes suggest you cook the artichoke whole, however I prefer a method I found in Sunset magazine where you cut it in quarters and scoop out the fuzzy choke before cooking. That speeded up cooking and made eating easier.
The new garden in a new climate brought lots of planting choices that were new to me! Kale and Swiss Chard are new to our diet and the not very adventurous spouse will now eat both in various raw or cooked forms, but not several times a week; I have to space it out. That in itself is an accomplishment! I was getting pretty sick of steamed broccoli which seems to be a 12 month harvest here. So here are some of my best veggies of 2012.