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Archive for the 'The Garden' Category

It Actually Happened: The White House Gets a Makeover

Whether or not he made the call for action first, Michael Pollan certainly made it the most publicly.  In his open letter to the incoming president, written a month before the elections, he proposed the seemingly radical idea that the First Family consider “tear[ing] out five prime south-facing acres of the White House lawn and plant[ing] in their place an organic fruit and vegetable garden.”

Well, this week they done did it.

Not five acres worth, but the South Lawn has indeed become home to a garden.

Image from the White House blog at

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Harvest in the Garden

It’s been around ninety the last several days, which means some of the plantlings in the garden are struggling since I haven’t put up sun shades yet.  Perhaps I should, but it’s only just barely March and I have such a hard time doing so. In any case, we had a feast of sugar snap peas this weekend.  Even Hippo liked them!

There are two enormous strawberries that are just about perfect as well.  Maybe they’ll be ready for breakfast tomorrow.  It’s so hard to wait for them after they’ve already turned red, but I know the wait is worth it.  Red is not enough. When the smell of strawberries reach me from six inches away, that’s enough.



Glimpse of the Garden

It’s February, which means it’s time to take stock of my garden and plan what I need to get into the ground ASAP.  I did some planting in October and November, and I put a few herbs in the ground at the turn of the new year.  Together with the hearty plants that survived the desert summer (and chronic neglect as family called me out of state several times), the garden is currently doing a-ok.  Here’s a glimpse at what’s going on here in Arizona.

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Answering Your Questions: Food Storage

You talk, I listen!  I promise to work my way through all your questions as I get to them (and please, feel free to submit more!), but today, we’re starting with Kathleen. Since I don’t have a picture of Kathleen, I am giving you instead a picture of my favorite eggplant in the whole world, photographed one fine summer day at the Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, WI.

I have been calling that gorgeous piece of fruit “Eggplant McPurplehead,” but I am open to other suggestions.  Kathleen, since this is your post, you get first dibs.  Any nominations?

Anywho, let’s get back to Kathleen’s question, shall we?  She writes:

My question relates to storage. What’s the best way to store veggies like onions, garlic, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, etc.? Any help would be appreciated.

Why, Kathleen, I’m so glad you asked, and not just because you asked about the relatively uncomplicated ones.  Really.

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Creating Community with Weeds: Freecycling Hits the Garden

Here’s a little-known fact for you. If you show up at your neighbors’ houses with a milk crate full of the fragrant basil and marjoram you heartlessly ripped out of your garden in a fit of passion, you can make friends.

The good sort of friends.  The sort of friends that offers you things growing in their own yards.

Like aloe.

And lemons.

And grapefruit and oranges and pomegranates.

And suddenly, the weeks ahead are full of the promise of much backyard deliciousness.

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Guerrilla Gardening

It’s the end of a planting cycle here in Arizona–I just scrambled to get some peas, beans, and greens in the ground this morning.  And, I have to admit, it got me thinking about some…subversive activities.

I am tempted. Anyone out there done any guerrilla gardening? Want to learn more?

Surely that empty lot on my commute could use a couple giant sunflowers..don’t you think?


The Marjoram Saga Continues

Remember this little plantling?

Due to some inconclusive results on the Marjoram Management Survey, I have decided to tackle the glut of marjoram head-on with every weapon in my arsenal. To kick things off today, the Unicyclist and I enjoyed a marjoram-themed lunch: grilled garlic focaccia with marjoram; Colorado River bean soup with mushrooms, herbs, and sundried tomatoes; and a salad of autumn greens, Asian pears, and toasted walnuts tossed with a French Dijon vinaigrette.

Oh, baby.

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When You’re Related to a Chef…

Everyone has favorites, right? One of my family favorites is my cousin Nathan. Besides the fact that he’s kind and fun and talented, he was also trained as a chef at L’Ecole La Varenne in Paris, France. (This makes for delicious family gatherings, by the way.)

Which is why, when the marjoram takes over an entire jumbo-sized pot in my container garden, I immediately go running to the expert: Nathan.

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