3/07/2013 01:58:00 PM

A Day in the Life: Liz Baloutine, Fruit and Vegetable Gardener

Photo by Ha Lam
Liz Baloutine is the force behind Seedlings Gardening, a one-stop edible gardening company for restaurants and private residences. Seedlings focuses on fruit, vegetable and herb gardens, and past and present clients include well-known restaurants like Elizabeth Street Café, Jeffrey's, Olivia and Spoon & Co. Baloutine takes care to grow hyperlocal plants and always wants to talk shop about sustainable eating in our city. Here's a typical day for Baloutine in mid-February.

6:00 - 8:00 Make coffee and breakfast (two eggs, cranberry-walnut bread and grapefruit). Walk my dogs, Ziggy and Bowie. Check email.

8:00 - 9:00 Load truck (I drive a 1972 green-and-cream-colored Chevy C20) with mulch, shovels, a hoe, rakes, pruners, seeds and fertilizers. Drive to Jessica Maher’s house (she’s the owner and pastry chef at Lenoir)

9:00 - 11:00 Prune fruit trees and do general landscape cleanup at Jessica’s. We’re mostly working on the peach trees, but she also has fig, kefir lime, pomegranate and plum trees.


11:00 - 11:30 Pick up a snack at the Wet Whistle

11:30 - 1:00 Deliver and spread a load of mulch at Buenos Aires Café community garden plot. Fertilize and water garden

1:00 - 2:00 Break for the pulled-pork Cuban sandwich at Cenote. It’s awesome.

2:00 - 3:00 Drive to Elizabeth Street Café’s herb garden. Prune plants, fertilize, and plant seeds. Today I’m planting a bunch of dwarf sugar peas and feisty pea tendrils. I personalize each garden to the chef’s preferences, and I try to grow plants that can be used from root to flower. Elizabeth Street will use the pea tendrils as garnish.

3:00 - 3:30 Drive home and unload the truck.

3:30 - 4:30 Continue working on double digging my backyard garden. In February I’m gardening every day to set up my vegetable garden and landscape my backyard.

4:30 - 5:00 Take a shower and eat another snack. I eat a lot…

5:00 - 7:00 Work on a proposal for an upcoming project and write a blog post about the importance of soil in gardening.

7:00 - 9:00 Cook dinner (sweet potato, Dai Due citrus-herb sausage, cabbage with fennel seeds, and roasted beet and citrus salad). Eat, relax, and watch TV.

9:00 Go to bed.

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