Seeds of PlentyNo photos of my vegetable garden, because it doesn’t look like much yet, mostly because I still have to plant most of it (planting seeds on Sunday when it was going to be 88 degrees on Monday did not sound like a good idea. This weekend will be much more promising.

As you can see from the photo above, I am ready to plant. Not only am I armed to the teeth with a variety of interesting seeds, but they are interesting seeds with a mission! I’ve been doing so much research lately on the Mediterranean diet lately that I can’t help but be influenced by it. My most recent research for a forthcoming article in Today’s Dietitian really hammered into my brain the role of abundant dark leafy greens in the traditional Mediterranean diet. The little island of Ikaria, in Greece (which is discussed in the second edition of Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones) is home to more than 150 varieties of wild greens, alone.

So that’s why you see dandelion greens, radicchio, purslane and arugula in the photo above. Other than the arugula, these are perennial greens (read: weeds that you actually want growing in your garden), which I’ll be able to harvest each spring, starting next year. I have an area of my garden that will be just perfect.

Veggies: Going for Nutrient Gold

My decision to plant purslane (a deeply nutritious “weed” that doesn’t happen to grow in my garden naturally) lead to a discussion with the naturopath I work with, and she asked if I had read Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson (who lives in the Seattle area, on Vashon Island). Why, no, I had not, even though it had been on my reading list since it came out a few years ago (it has since picked up a few prestigious awards, including the 2014 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Award in the category of “Food Matters.”

From this book, I learned the value of purple carrots over orange, and purple-red lettuce over green. Again, reflected in the seed packets in the photos.

Bringing the Mediterranean Home

All of this is part of what I have started to call my “Mediterranean Northwest” project. It’s a personal project, involving my household and, well, any friends, family, patients or innocent bystanders I see fit to badger about the benefits of the delicious, nutritious, time-tested Mediterranean diet, especially these components:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Beans and lentils
  • Whole grains

I’ll be blogging more about this, naturally, and sharing garden photos and recipes. And every time I do, I’ll be thinking of the blue, blue waters of the Mediterranean that I left behind last week (sniff!).

Stay tuned!