Friday, August 14, 2020

Boat Living, Cooking, Eating Aboard

To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to this weekly blog use your PayPal account to janetgroene at


    Weathered in? Get out the chess board and make this candy .These candies don’t take long to make but they require time to cool and set.
Maple Pralines

2 cups white sugar
½ cup each brown sugar, milk,  light corn syrup and butter
1 teaspoon maple flavoring such as Mapleine

2 cups each shredded coconut and whole roasted pecan halves
½ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

    Stir sugars milk, corn syrup and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Increase heat to medium-high and keep stirring until you see a full, rolling boil. This times a while.  Time it for three full minutes, stirring at a full boil. Remove from heat and stir in maple flavor, nuts and coconut. Mixture will be very thick.
    Using two spoons, drop mixture by the blob on a sheet of waxed paper or parchment to cool thoroughly. Keep cool and dry

Peanut  Soup
    In many parts of the world peanuts, also called ground nuts,  are a main dish food. Out of fresh food? Make this soup with canned, mashed sweet potatoes and carrots. All other ingredients are from the pantry shelf. 

1 cup each finely diced onion and peeled, finely diced sweet potato
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup peeled, finely diced carrot
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups water
3 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup smooth or chunky peanut butter

Garnishes such as  chopped sweet onion, chopped peanuts or other nuts, minced parsley or cilantro, croutons or sliced scallions.
    In a saucepan, sizzle onion and sweet potato in hot canola oil, gradually stirring in carrot, ginger and cayenne. Add  water and bouillon.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Stir in ketchup and keep stirring while you add peanut butter, teaspoon by teaspoon. When peanut butter is melted into the soup, adjust seasonings and serve.  Makes 4 servings.

 Pantry  Recipe of the Week

    In this weekly feature we provide a recipe made entirely with items in your food lockers. Order Survival Food Handbook for a complete guide, written for sailors and campers, to preparing an emergency food supply.
Stranded Sailor Ambrosia
    Everyone loves this recipe yet it’s made only with foods from the  pantry and without refrigeration. (Leftovers, however, must be refrigerated.)  It  works with regular or  sugar-free instant  pudding and regular or sugar-free canned fruits.


5 pitted dried plums, cut up , or ½ cup raisins
½ cup rum, sweet wine or fruit juice
15-ounce can apricot halves
15-ounce can pitted sweet cherries
15-ounce can diced peaches
15-ounce can diced pears
1 packet instant French vanilla pudding
½ cup shredded coconut (optional) or more to taste


    Heat rum, wine or juice and pour over dried plums or raisins. Cover loosely and set aside while you drain all but one (any one) of the canned fruits. Save surplus juices to make fruit punch.
    Put drained and undrained fruit and pudding in a plastic bag, zip it closed and “work” the bag gently to mix well. Add coconut and plumped raisins or plums. Mix gently. When sauce thickens, serve at once or chill.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Meals for Family Fun on Boats

Blog copyright Janet Groene 2020, all rights reserved. To pay $5 a year as a voluntary subscription use your PayPal account to janetgroene at

Galley Recipe of the Week
Shortcut Koshari
    Also spelled Koshary, this is our shameless shortcut version of the national dish of Egypt. It’s a  captivating blend of rice, pasta, meaty lentils and toothsome  chickpeas. It’s traditionally served topped with a spicy tomato sauce, a garlicky vinegar sauce and fried onions. For the real thing, go to Cairo where much more cumin is customary in this dish. 

1 package original Rice-a-Roni
½ teaspoon ground cumin
15-ounce can lentils, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can or jar marinara sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes (more or less to taste)

1/3 cup bottled garlic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic OR
1 tablespoon garlic juice

1 can French’s French-fried onions

    Prepare Rice-a-Roni according to package directions and fold in cumin, lentils and chickpeas. Cover and heat gently over low flame. Add more cumin to taste. Heat marinara sauce with the tablespoon of  cumin and parsley flakes.  In a small cup mix vinaigrette, vinegar and garlic. Spread rice on six plates and top with tomato sauce and a drizzle to taste  of the vinegar sauce. Top with crisp fried onions. Serves 6 to 8.

Pantry Recipe of the Week
    Each week we present a recipe that can be made entirely from stored provisions when you're out of fresh foods. Our goal is to keep you well supplied with ways to provide great meals even when you’re far from shore or during power outages.

     A complete guide to choosing and using canned and packed foods creatively is Survival Food Handbook  It's filled with tasty recipes and lists, tips and how-to steps for emergencies such as alternative stoves, no refrigeration, water shortage and cleanup after a fire or flood.


Stow-Away Shepherd’s Pie
12-ounce can roast beef in gravy
15-ounce can mixed vegetables, drained
10-ounce can corn with red and green peppers (e.g. MexiCorn)
Small can evaporated milk
1 egg or equivalent
1 ½ cups instant mashed potato flakes
Very hot water
Parsley flakes. 

    Open the can of roast beef and cut it coarsely while it’s still in the can. Put vegetables and corn in a pan or casserole and top with the beef. Whisk canned milk and egg and pour over casserole.  In the same bowl add hot water to potato flakes until they’re the consistency of mashed potatoes. Use two spoons to dot the top of the casserole with  potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley flakes. Serves 3 to 4. 

    Stovetop method: Cover and cook over low heat until it’s heated through and egg mixture is “set”. Potatoes won’t brown but you can put a golden finish on them with a kitchen torch if you like.
    Solar method: Proceed as above.  Put in solar cooker at 250 degrees or better until it’s heated through and egg mixture is “set”.
    Oven method: Bake at 350 degrees until filling is bubbly and potato topping is golden.

This Week’s Tip for the Galley Cook

    Fluted coffee filters are inexpensive, stowable, biodegradable and they come in handy for many things. Line them up as disposable “prep bowls” for diced vegetables, seasoning mixtures and such. Place between stacked plates or pots to protect them and reduce rattle. They’re absorbent and make good  coasters under coffee or cold drinks.
     Large sizes can be spread out as  place mats. They are sold to fit large, commercial coffee makers and are also very inexpensive in stacks of 1,000.

Skillet Meal of the Week
Harvest Hash

    Cut  up meat from a  deli-roasted rotisserie chicken, or use leftover chicken or open a couple of cans of chunk chicken.  Bulgur cooks itself off the burner while you prep the rest of the ingredients. 


1 cup bulgur
2 cups boiling water
2 to 3 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minccd garlic
3 cups diced vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, onion, celery, roma tomatoes, corn cut off the cob, mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
½ cup milk
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese from a jar
Optional topping:
1 cup cracker crumbs made from buttery crackers
½ stick butter, melted

    Combine bulgur and boiling water in a bowl. Cover and set aside until bulgur grows plump and tender. In a large skillet or pot or sizzle chicken bites in hot oil with garlic, gradually stirring in remaining vegetables until they are crisp-tender. Stir in bulgur, then use the bowl to whisk milk, soup and Parmesan.  Pour over vegetables. Cover  and heat gently over low heat.
    To make toasted breadcrumbs, melt butter in a small skillet and stir in crumbs. Watch carefully and keep stirring until they are toasty. Sprinkle over Harvest Hash.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Easy Galley Meals for Sailing, Boating Cruising

Blog copyright janet groene, 2020, all rights reserved. To pay $5 as a year as a voluntary subscription to these weekly blogs, use your PayPal account to janetgroene at Thank you.


Galley Recipe of the Week

Pea-Nutty Salad

    When you need a quick side dish to go with meat or fish from the grill, this zesty salad adds color to the table.  Don’t have a freezer? A bag of frozen peas will thaw in the chiller or well-iced  icebox and be OK for up to three days.

½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup bottled Italian dressing
½ teaspoon ground ginger
    Whisk together in the serving bowl and fold in remaining ingredients. Serve at once.
1 bag (16 ounces ) green peas, thaw
6 pieces pe-cooked bacom, chopped
1 cup each peanuts, raisins and sliced celery
Small sweet onion, diced
    Serves 8.

When you make your own gorp, snacks, trail mix you save money, package for freshness, control ingredients and portions. See 

Tips for the Galley Chef

    * A couple of hot. freshly hard-boiled eggs in each jacket pocket warm a sailor on a lonely night watch. Later they’re a healthful snack.

* Make classic Rice Krispy bar cookies. While they are warm use buttered hands  to form into small bowls. Just before serving, fill with fresh fruit.

    * Make your own hot mustard. Mix ½ cup each Coleman’s dry mustard, vinegar and sugar with one egg. Refrigerate overnight. Cook in a heavy pan over low heat or in a double boiler, stirring until it’s thick.

    * Don’t have any raspberry vinegar? Make raspberry vinaigrette by stirring in a tablespoon or two of raspberry jam.

Pantry Recipe of the Week

    This is this week’s recipe using only stowed ingredients. For a total guide to choosing, stowing and using pantry foods (stowables from the supermarket, not survival rations) see Survival Food Handbook in Kindle or paperback.

No-Bake Brownies
12-ounce package real chocolate chips
12-ounce can evaporated milk
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
    Over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips in the milk, remove from heat and fold in crumbs. Spread in a pan and chill several hours. 



 Farley Halladay is the Yacht Yenta in this Kindle series of cozy mysteries by a widow whose husband was killed on board their ketch in the Virgin Islands. Did he fall or was he pushed?  Book 4 (out of five books so far) is April Avenger.

Skillet Meal of the Week
    One hungry crew, one pan to wash, one great meal. Depending on appetites, you choose the size of the chicken portions, and add more potatoes for big eaters.
Monterey Chicken
4 portions boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups scrubbed,  thin-sliced potatoes
Medium zucchini, sliced
4-ounce jar diced, marinated artichokes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Brown chicken in the butter and add potatoes, turning to brown them. Add zuchini and artichokes with their juice. Cover and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender and chicken tests done at 170 degrees. Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 4.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Boating Recipes from a Sea and Shore

Blog copyright janet groene 2020. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to these weekly posts, use Paypal to janetgroene at

Janet Groene lived on board a 29-foot sloop for ten years and, as a boating writer,  cruised extensively on boats of all types and sizes, bareboat and crewed. She jokes that she can cook a five course meal in a phone booth.

See current boating, sailing and cruising news and views from Yacht Yenta Farley Halladay at

Butternut Squash Curry

    Spice up the wonderful variety of rices and hard squash (pumpkins) available to cruising folks worldwide. Some fine-tuning is needed depending on the type of rice and type of squash.  You can always fold in cooked, shredded chicken or fish to turn  this vegetarian dish into a one-dish meal for meat eaters. 


2 cups raw rice of choice, rinsed according to package directions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups vegetable broth
Medium onion, diced
1 hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
3 cups peeled, diced hard squash such as butternut , Delicata or Hubbard
2 tablespoons each red curry paste and sugar
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Sour cream or creme faiche (optional)

    Stir-fry rice in hot oil and add lime juice, broth, onion and hot pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook 15 minutes over low-medium heat. Add diced squash, curry paste and sugar and continue cooking, covered over low-medium heat, until rice is tender and squash dices are tender but hold their shape.
    Stir in cream. Serves 6 to 8. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, heavy cream or creme fraiche if you wish.

Tips for the Galley Chef

    * Never pass up a supermarket in your travels and you’ll make wonderful discoveries in regional foods.

    * Need a touch of mint? Put several peppermint or spearmint Life Savers or other hard mints in a sturdy cloth, beat to powder with a hammer, add to recipe (allow for the fact that this also adds sugar.)

    * Making vegetarian “meat” balls? Roll in sesame seeds instead of bread crumbs

    * When greens require multiple dunkings in water to remove sand, it’s OK to use clean sea water the first one or two times, followed by a thorough rinse in fresh water. 


   Treat yourself to a cozy Kindle read tonight. May Misfire is the latest in the Yacht Yenta series by Janet’s pen name, Farley Halladay.


Cold Peanut Butter Noodles

    Use 4 servings of any noodles of your choice here. Rice noodles and ramen are quickest.  Don’t eat meat? Substitute 1 ½ to 2 cups chopped hard-boiled eggs or diced tofu. Cook noodles with or without the flavor packet. Your choice. 


2 packets ramen of your choice, cooked and cooled
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup water or fruit juice
1/4 cup each low sodium soy sauce and rice vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
10-ounce can chunk chicken, broken up
Small can sliced or diced water chestnuts, drained

    Place noodles on four plates. Mix peanut butter, water or juice, soy sauce, vinegar,  sesame oil, sugar and cayenne. Fold in chicken and water chestnuts. Spoon over noodles and sprinkle with peanuts.
Cook’s note: If you have any fresh foods available, add a topping of crunchy sliced radishes, bean sprouts,  grated cabbage, chopped scallions or celery.

Easy Icebox Cake

    No matter what the shape or size of your cooler, this recipe is a good choice because it’s made in a 9 X 13-inch  pan that slips into any available space. Note that instant puddings call for dairy milk, not canned. Reconstituted powdered milk works well. 

Butterscotch, chocolate or caramel flavor ice cream topping
1 package graham crackers
1 packet instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 ½ tablespoons instant coffee
1 ½ cups cold milk
8-ounce tub whipped topping
1 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
    Spread a thin layer of ice cream topping in the pan. Line bottom of the pan with graham crackers, cutting to fit if necessary. Whisk pudding mix and instant coffee with milk until well blended. Fold in whipped topping and chocolate bits. Spread 1/4 of the mixture over pan, add another layer of graham crackers and repeat layers, ending with a layer of the pudding mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least six hours or overnight. Cut in squares.
Variations: Use any flavor pudding mix, ice cream topping and candy chips. Graham crackers come in regular, cinnamon and chocolate. 

See the latest Kindle mystery by widow Farley Halladay, the salty Yacht Yenta.  It’s book 5 of the series that begins with January Justice. Now see May Misfire. Farley returns to the ketch where her husband died and untangles  a granny knot of mysteries.
Don’t have a Kindle? Go to your Amazon account and get the free Kindle app for PC or Mac and read e-books on your laptop, PC or tablet.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Boat Cooking for the Small Galley

Blog copyright janet groene 2020, all right protected. To pay $5 a year as a voluntary subscription to these weekly posts use PayPal to janetgroene at

Here's a boat that doubles as a camper


    This morning I was talking to friends who took a gap year or two with four teenage boys on board, cruising the Caribbean. Think “bottomless pit” when it comes to how much food young people need at that age. So Mom decided to get an idea by baking biscuits one morning  until they’d had enough. When she got to 92, they were finished. Dad told me there were even five biscuits left over from that last batch. But they were gone before noon!

Need more tips on how much is enough? How to shop,  count, stash, preserve, apportion food? See Survival Food Handbook, a guide to choosing, using and stowing supermarket staples for life at sea for a day or a lifetime.




Galley Recipe of the Week

Dilly Bacon Corn Pone

    To make muffins with this recipe, fill greased muffin cups no more than 2/3 full.

1 ½  cups flour
1 ½  cups cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 ½  tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried dillweed
1 ½  cups milk
½  cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 package real bacon bits


    Grease a 9 X 13-inch baking pan. Set oven for 425 degrees.
    In a plastic bag or clean bowl  mix dry ingredients except bacon bits. In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients until well mixed. Stir dry ingredients into wet just until everything is evenly moistened. Stir in bacon bits and put batter in the pan. Bake 25 minutes or until firm to the touch.
    Stove Top Method: Grease a heavy skillet or dutch oven. Add batter to the cold skillet. Cover tightly and bake over low-medium heat, using a flame tamer if needed, until it’s toasty on the sides and springy to the touch. Top will not brown.

Tips for the Galley Chef

    * To bring out the flavor of packaged bacon bits, soak in a little vegetable oil.

    * When making muffins, fill cup 1/3 full, then add a teaspoon of jam, peanut butter or fudge sauce before adding more batter to the 2/3 fill level.    

    * Make a tasty topping for waffles or pancakes. Mix maple syrup, honey,  fruit syrup or butterscotch ice cream topping with regular or unsweetened applesauce to taste.

    * If you don’t have a stir-fry pan for vegetables on the grill, use an ice pick to punch holes in a disposable aluminum pan and use Vise Grip pliers for a handle. 

See Farley Halladay's recipe for making 8 delicious meat servings on a small grill with gourmet marinated turkey tenderloin. 

Pantry Recipe of the Week

   Each week we present a recipe that can be made entirely from stowed provisions. For a book on stocking an emergency pantry or cruising without refrigeration see Survival Food Handbook (International Marine) in Kindle or paperback.


Ginger Peachy Topping
    Put a festive finish on any pudding,  pound cake, angel food cake,  ice cream with this topping. I’ve also spooned it over canned Boston brown bread to make a jury-rig dessert. 

1 can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice
1 can diced peaches, no sugar added
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon each ground ginger and cinnamon
1/4 to 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries


    Drain fruits into a measuring cup and add water or ginger ale if needed to make 1 ½ cups liquid. In a saucepan, mix cornstarch, salt and spices. Stir in juice, then turn on low-medium heat and cook until sauce thickens. Fold in fruit and serve warm. 


Tenderloins ‘n Tots
    Be sure to get the package of gravy mix that calls for two cups water. 


3 turkey tenderloins, 8 ounces each
Salt, lemon pepper
1 tablespoon each butter and vegetable oil
Medium onion, diced
1 can baby carrots, well drained
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon dried sage
1 packet country gravy mix
2 cups water
3 cups thawed potato “tots”

    Cut tenderloins in half lengthwise, then slice ½ inch thick. Sprinkle lightly with salt and lemon pepper and stir-fry in hot fat to brown. Keeping heat high, stir in onion to brown, then the carrots. In a small bowl mix parsley flakes and sage  with dry gravy mix. Then stir in cold water. Add to skillet and stir over medium heat until a thickened sauce forms. Fold in potato nuggets just to heat through. Serves 6. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Meals for the Boat Galley

Blog copyright janet groene 2020, all rights reserved. To donate $5 a year as a voluntary subscription use your PayPal account to janetgroene at

Galley Recipe of the Week
Corn Custard 

No oven? Scroll down for Stove-top method:
    This sweet, starchy side dish complements ham steaks from the grill.  It’s also a rich, satisfying vegetarian supper. Complete the meal with a green vegetable and colorful salad.

8-ounce brick cream cheese
2 eggs
8-ounce package corn bread mix
1 cup milk
15-ounce can cream-style corn
15-ounce can whole kernel corn
Scant cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Butter a baking dish. Let cream cheese come to “room” temperature and whisk it with the eggs, milk, nutmeg, oil and cream style corn. Add the whole kernel corn including juice and turn into the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees 25 minutes or until firm and springy to the touch.  Serves 6.

Stove-top method: Mix as above and put batter in a  heavy, well-greased skillet. Cover and bake over low-medium fire, using a flame spreader if necessary, until it’s crusty on the edges and set in the center.  Top will not brown.

Pantry Recipe of the Week
    Each week we provide a recipe that can be made entirely from pantry provisions. Whether you’re a weekend boater or a voyager who has not seen a supermarket in months, stowed food is the ultimate insurance. 

   For an entire book about pantry foods, stowing, choosing, recipes and other emergency grub see Survival Food Handbook (International Marine) in Kindle or paperback.



Harvard Beets

Harvard beets may be a side dish you haven’t tried for a while. Here's a delicious, nutritious way to add color to the plate.  Most vegetables are ruined by canning. Beets, on the other hand, retain their color and firm texture and they can be served hot or cold in many ways. 

2 cans, 15 ounces each, diced beets
1/3 cup sugar or equivalent
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup beet juice
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

    Drain beets, saving 1/3 cup juice. In a cold, medium saucepan mix sugar, cloves, cornstarch,  beet juice and vinegar. When mixture is smooth, turn on medium heat and stir mixture until it thickens. Reduce heat, stir in beets, cover and cook until beets are heated through. Serves 6.
    Cook’s note: Don’t waste the extra beet juice. Stir it into cranberry or pomegranate juice, add rum and sweeten to taste.

Tips for the Galley Chef

    * One more reason to buy only low-sodium and sugar-free canned foods. When you use the entire can, juice and all, you’re getting the entire nutrient list shown on the can. Salt or sugar can always be added.

    * You’ll want to have more than one of these military-style manual can openers. They are a chore to use but they're small enough to carry on a key ring and a must for the ditch bag. When all else fails, they’ll chew through cans that lost their keys, or are odd shaped, or are damaged.

    * Adding smoke to a grilled meat or fish? Try almond wood. Beware of pellets that may contain non-wood ingredients including toxins. 

    * Zip-top plastic pill bags, sold with first aid supplies, are a good way to carry small supplies of spices and spice blends on short cruises. 


   * Add a metal spaghetti claw to the galley gadget list. Use it to move hot charcoal briquets, lift boiled eggs out of hot water or meatballs out of boiling sauce, as a back scratcher and to serve pasta.


Skillet Meal of the Week
Wild Rice Patties

1 cup wild rice
Small can mushrooms

2 large eggs
½ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
½ cup crushed  saltines
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Heaping teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Oil or butter for frying
Shredded smoked gouda cheese

    Cook wild rice according to package directions and drain well. Set aside to cool.     Drain and chop mushrooms. In a bowl whisk eggs with hot sauce and mix in rice, mayonnaise, mushrooms, crumbs, garlic powder and parsley flakes.  Form into patties and fry I hot fat  until crusty and firm. Top each patty with a tuft of grated gouda.

Serve as a knife-and fork meal or put in buns. Serves 4 to 6. Good with corn relish or coleslaw. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Guest Blog: Grow Herbs on Your Boat

Captain Rick Moore
on board Sophisticated Lady

Moore has 10 years experience in video and 20 years in sailing. He combines the two loves to make YouTube visions that will knock your socks off. He lives full-time on board Sophisticated Lady, a luscious 50-ft Jeanneau International sailboat. Cruising the Caribbean and taking you there with his YouTube shows. 

Sophisticated Lady

GARDENING ONBOARD - By Rick Moore - Sailing Sophisticated Lady


Go to:
Since ancient times, fresh and healthy herbs and vegetables have been used in culinary traditions and medicine. Basil, mint, thyme, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, coriander, rosemary, aloe, ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, chili and spinach are all popular herbs and vegetables that you may find in a regular garden bed But would you expect to find them growing on a boat? These are the plants we have growing aboard our 50 foot yacht, Sophisticated Lady. 

With the aim of becoming self-sufficient, both from an energy point of view and in regards to our food production, we decided to try our hand at gardening. To truly enjoy the benefits of living off-grid, we figured that the next reasonable step would be to harvest our own food. This would allow us to travel offshore for months at a time, exploring the worlds oceans while still enjoy the benefits of fresh food, something not may sailors get to enjoy after months at sea.

With Maddie, a qualified chef as a crew member, there is nothing better than enjoying the aromatic fragrances of fresh herbs and vegetables in our meals. They are also useful for their medicinal purposes, thanks to their antioxidant properties and their richness of vitamins. Herbs help digestion, are anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, diuretic and counteract the actions of free radicals.

Greens are also very important to prevent diseases such as scurvy, (an illness generated by the lack or scarcity of fresh food containing vitamin C), during long sailing passages. Thankfully not something us sailors really need to worry about these days.

But just how difficult is it to grow plants onboard a boat? You might be surprised, you just need a few pots and some earth properly prepared with love: your plants will grow healthy and strong. But it will require some planning and dedication, with challenges that are unique to living in a floating tiny home.

Depending on where you are in the world will also factor into what will thrive and what will die, and this requires a bit of trial and error. It will not be unusual to send a few herbs to their watery graves, especially in the early days. Living on a boat requires patience, after all, traveling at the speed of the wind is not a fast way to travel. And gardening on a boat is no different, it takes time, but if you’re dedicated, you should reap the rewards after a few short months.

In the initial stages, the seedlings will have to be protected as much as possible from seawater. For that reason, we try to grow shade-loving plants like aloe, oregano, chives, tomatoes, chilies and mint, under the dodger (canvas area that protects the front of the cockpit), where they’ll be protected from the elements, sea spray and have less sun exposure. Of course, what makes gardening on a boat more difficult is when you decide to go sailing, especially of you are living in a monohull and sailing at a 45 degree angle. One solution we’ve found is to wrap the pots in aluminum foil, leaving only the plants exposed. This not only contains the soil, but it also contains moisture and prevents the soil from drying out. Another option is to store the pots in wooden crates that can be stored somewhere secure down below. 


Another tip specific to gardening on a boat, is to use pots that don't have holes in the bottom. Saucers of muddy water on a moving boat are not something you want to deal with, especially in rough seas.

If you are in a remote place in the world and buying soil from the supermarket is not an option, ask some locals for some rich soil from their gardens. Most people will be happy to oblige, but remember, you do not want to introduce an array of new critters to your boat, so some people suggest you freeze the soil for a few days to ensure all bugs are dead. There is also the issue that some countries will not allow flora and fauna into enter their borders. Therefore, it is imperative that you do your research on the biodiversity laws before you arrive. 

All of our plants are fertilized with our own compost, created with the organic waste from food scraps. We also treat them with natural insecticides, so as not to contaminate our future foods with chemicals. The irrigation system is provided directly from seawater, desalinated and made potable from our onboard desalination system. Another option is to collect rainwater, which is easy enough to do on a boat by capturing the runoff from things like the bimini and solar panels.

Gardening on a boat is an enjoyable hobby that can be both challenging yet rewarding. Eating a meal of home grown greens while thousands of miles from land, opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for those who truly want to experience a life off-grid!

--Rick Moore

Janet Groene adds:

It's possible to grow a variety of plants in a very small space when you use vertical planters like this one. A little fresh water and fertilizer go a long way with container gardening.

See Janet Groene's latest book, May Misfire. It's Book Five in the Yacht Yenta e-book series by Farley Halladay.  Farley, a widow, goes back to St. Thomas to see what she can learn about her husband's death on board Sea SEAL. She solves a mystery or two and shares a shipload of her galley recipes. Now on Kindle at and also available on other e-book platforms worldwide