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Food for Thought: What's up in our gardens

When toddler vegetables misbehave, their mothers threaten them with Nancy Leson. She admits "I do a very good job of killing things." So no one was more surprised than her when something she'd planted actually made it through the winter.

That weird, telescoping thing pictured above that Jack's about to climb is what grew out of the root end of our last leek. DeGroot re-planted it about a month ago and we're watchfully waiting to see what he brings back from the top. A self-playing golden harp would be nice, but we'll settle for some leek soup

Nancy is amazed. “I can't believe it. I can't grow cilantro in the best of times.” But at the end of last summer she put one in the ground anyway, “And damned if it didn't live through the winter. Through frost and snow. It's a miracle, Stein. I'm convinced that this year my thumb is gonna change colors." Another triumph of Hope over Experience sez me.


Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Nancy's miracle cilantro.

Not that I'm such a hotshot gardener. My wife, the Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot, is fully in charge of all things agricultural. I'm just her occasional field hand. 

Credit DeGroot / KNKX
Overwintered herbs clockwise from bottom: Lemon and English thyme, tarragon, rosemary, sage, chives, oregano.

And we've already planted carrots, leeks, beets, shallots, kale and snow peas. Later the pole beans, eggplant and chiles go in. We might have to replant the radishes now that their row has been roto-tilled by volunteer raccoons.

The Leson and Stein/DeGroot households are both lucky to have some backyard space to plant in. But even if you don't, you might be surprised at how much you can grow in windowsill pots.


All gardeners know better than other gardeners.” – Chinese proverb








Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.