Growing my own food was something I had no idea I would be good at. My first attempt at gardening in pots was last year. Much trial and error occurs in gardening and thanks to YouTube we can pretty much learn how to do anything. I have learned quite a bit from the Roots and Refuge Farm videos.
The growing conditions for me are less than ideal. I don’t have a ton of space and barely get enough direct sunlight. My New York City balcony faces west and a huge tree across the street shades my plants at around 6PM. Most plants I was interested in require 6 or more hours of direct sunlight and I’m only able to get 5. Not to mention the unpredictable weather of New York. Luckily, plants are extremely optimistic. An added obstacle is that the balcony faces the street so it still has to look pretty. Pragmatic gardening decisions have to coexist with what looks aesthetically pleasing to people passing by.
This year I was able to get some healthy harvests of yellow cherry tomatoes, Shishito peppers, kale, tabasco peppers and Thai basil. I’ve had 3 awesome harvests. And thanks to diligent pruning, more are coming … still!
Making the Vinaigrette for Garden Salad
Whenever I make a vinaigrette I use the proportions of 1 cup of oil to 1/3 cup of any vinegar or acid. In this recipe, the acid of choice is lime juice. Once this is achieved you can add anything you want. I really enjoy spicy food. Therefore, I prefer Thai basil because I think it works extremely well with the heat from my freshly grown Tabasco peppers. My tabasco plant really flourished this year and I’m rewarded with an abundance of these tiny peppers waiting to ripen. They go from a light yellow-green to orange to red. Using Tabasco peppers in their unripened green color yields a different flavor, but I that’s okay with me. I welcome all flavor options.
- 1 cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 to 5 leaves of Thai basil
- 1 green tabasco pepper, or any spicy pepper