ToDo 07.30.20

Gardens require time and commitment – luckily for many of us, those things pair well with spending extra time at home.

GROW: Your food or a house plant

Minimizing your trips to the grocery store (or really anywhere) is more important than ever right now. A great way to start is by growing a few staples in your own backyard. Luckily enough for Monterey County residents, for some hearty crops we can grow across seasons. Greens – like lettuce, kale, chard and arugula – can grow year-round depending on your microclimate. Or perhaps rather than sustenance, you just want to beautify your space. Big Sur Land Trust, MEarth and Marina Tree and Garden Club are a few great places to start for tips on native plants and food gardening. Heck, go ask your neighbor whose garden you envy. Short on a backyard? Start an herb garden box on your windowsill, or buy a house plant and nurture it – it will in turn nurture you with beauty and a little well-earned pride.

ORGANIZE: Your life

A regular 9-to-5 job, for which you leave your home, doesn’t leave much wiggle room to deep-clean your space, let alone organize your life goals that have been collecting dust in your head. Start by tidying your spaces. Maybe you have a pile of cardboard that’s been sitting around in the garage for over a year and that needs to be broken down and recycled. Maybe you need to make a habit of cleaning off your work desk/kitchen table every time you “clock out.” Cleaner spaces do wonders in freeing up the mind for more important things, like maybe sorting out your life goals. Perhaps it’s time to revisit your five-year plan, update your resume, adopt minimalism or start chipping away at new routines. Check out the plethora of lifestyle YouTube vloggers like MuchelleB, a frequent practitioner of “life admin days,” or Matt d’Avella, who frequently posts tips on building good habits and productivity. Or pick up one of the many books making the rounds in the self-help genre, like Gaby Dunn’s Bad With Money or Silicon Valley design educators Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ Designing Your Life.

FEED: Your sourdough starter

Sourdough is on the rise (pun completely intended). It’s of course in bread, but also in pancakes, crepes, pizelles (waffle cookies), donuts, pizza dough and whatever else you can think of. But all of those delicious things begin with making a starter, the mixture of flour and water that sits and collects the good bacteria in the air. The thing is, during normal times, it’s really easy to “kill” your starter because you have all other kinds of responsibilities and obligations pulling you away from your kitchen. Like the houseplant you forget to water, it needs only a little attention, but it does need attention. There’s no better time than quarantine to start your long-term baking project. And by long-term, we really mean long-term – some bakers and homecooks pass down starter as a heirloom over generations. There are tons of resources online on how to get started (or how not to kill it), such as theperfectloaf.com. breadtopia.com and mydailysourdoughbread.com. If you just can’t get your starter baby to burp up little magical bubbles, try buying your starter from Ad Astra Bread Co. in Seaside. They sell two ounces of starter for $4, or what they call a “jet pack,” essentially a dummy’s guide to sourdough, complete with starter and flour for feeding.

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