Tag Archives: Gardening

FRESH AIR

The first day (and night) of cold has arrived like a breath of fresh air… tomatoes pulled from vines for fear of frost and our walking cape is my new best friend.  Take 20% off from our Collection or DIY Store for a chance to win a walking cape.  Until Nov. 5th, use code FRESHAIR20 at checkout for your chance to win.

Winner will be posted on November 8th, 2010.  All rules and regulations apply.

GREEN GRAPES + SIX WEEK SLAW

According to friends, I might be the only person in North Alabama still harvesting tomatoes.  I was angry at myself for not getting them in the ground earlier this year; however, it seems that my busy life made the perfect storm for a great harvest.  One of Zach’s friends gave me a load of heirloom plants to try and I have to say that there were some great selections in the mix:  purple, yellow, and plums to name a few.  However, the “Green Grapes” have become coveted around my house.  I have saved some seeds for next year and will certainly (hopefully) have more than one plant.

Try out this great lunch:  Six Week Slaw (recipe below) with shaved Parmesan and halved green grapes.

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SOUTHERN FOOD 2010 + THE BENNE

SOUTHERN FOOD 2010 + THE BENNE

The Oxford American: Southern Food 2010 arrived while I was traveling and I am breathless to devour the issue this weekend in the sunshine and at my own kitchen table.

I will move seamlessly from John Kessler’s “Tale of Two Cities” to Dian Robert’s “People of the Cake” while sipping a tea and listening to Maggie talk to her “babies” in her room.

Get your copy and start with this great article from Matt & Ted Lee on the OA website: Matt and Ted Lee on the Next Big (but Tiny!) Southern Ingredient

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COMING HOME

Although the travels of the last months have been truly wonderful, there is nothing quite like coming home. My garden survived the neglect and the tomato plants are now at shoulder height with green pearls of delight starting to form. And while I have been a bit lax in keeping up with reading and writing, I have saved a few articles over the last months that I look forward to sharing.

I was surprised and delighted to find Preserving Time in a Bottle in the New York Times and see it truly as a sign of changing times. I am looking forward to savoring my time at home, eating in my own kitchen, keeping my suitcase packed away, devouring fresh tomatoes with Maggie, trying out new recipes, “putting up” our garden and letting the summer arrive slowly, slowly…

Photo: Evan Sung for The New York Times


STRAWBERRIES

My little strawberry patch is working miracles this year. It is wonderful for us to be able to go out the back door and pick breakfast. Maggie has appointed herself the official color inspector and tells me which ones are red enough to pick and which ones have to wait until tomorrow. I follow her lead religiously.

For a special treat this weekend, we are making our own version of Strawberry Shortcake with the recipe for my Aunt Mae’s Pound Cake that was originally posted about Georgia Gilmore. There is a reason that they call it Pound Cake.

Here it is again and perfect for fresh strawberries:

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AN END TO WINTER

It has just been so COLD outside. All the southerners are complaining so I can’t imagine what it is like to be up north at the moment. It seems that the weather has made the transition from the holidays back to work especially difficult this year (almost impossible) and the grey landscape could definitely use a bit of color right now. Does everyone feel that way?

My seeds came in this week: Seed Savers Exchange

I love the names: Dwarf Gray Sugar and Blue Podded Shelling Peas, Lacinato Kale. Chives, Lettuce Leaf Basil, Florence Fennel, Calabrese Broccoli, Summer Crookneck Squash, Pingtung Long Eggplant, Spinach and Smoke Signals Corn.

And, I received my worms: Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

This weekend I am going to clean up my beds around the house, plant Snow Peas, and prepare the compost pile that is going to be my summer garden. Posted at 6:01 am

THE GIFT (PART 2) – OR SQUASH ON THE DOORSTEP

Okay. If you live in the South (and perhaps everywhere else for that matter), summertime is filled with anonymous gifts left on your porch.

Martha Foose writes, “When it is not possible to eat all the squash that comes out of the backyard garden quickly enough, the Kornegays have admitted to leaving anonymous gifts on neighbors’ doorsteps under the cover of darkness. They, too, have been on the receiving end of this generous gesture.”

Well, let me attest to the fact that this has been “one particularly prolific summer” for crooknecked squash.

When I lived in Vienna, I visited a restaurant called “Panigl” just about every (other) night of the week. (Is my name still scrawled under the table at my seat?) Well, I used to love an antipasti dish of slow-roasted vegetables that seemed to melt in your mouth. My dear friend, Agatha Whitechapel, once told me how to make the dish and I have approximated her instructions here:

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GARDENIAS FOR NATALIE

Bless Blair for sending this email just when I thought that there would be no reprieve in my week. We have a potted gardenia in our front garden bed and I have been struggling for one year to decide on its permanent spot. Blair’s post has inspired me to plant it right down by the road that everyone who passes our house on a June morning can revel in its glory.

From Blair:

Hooray for Gardening week! As I was answering my morning email, I heard a mother stroll her jabbering baby down the street. The woman said, “Smell those gardenias! They’re amazing!” So, I had to write this little something for the lady who planted them:

Mrs. Knight, the original owner of our 1940’s home, was known for her bread baking, bridge parties, chain smoking, and Gardenias. What remains of her, along the south side of the house, are her fragrant bushes. The sweet, thick aroma of the twirled-open buds is so dense that every walker, stroller, or jogger who crosses our block is bound to comment on the sugary breeze.

I especially love to watch the gardenias though our evening window. At night, in the dim streetlight’s cast beams, the blossoms look like paper stars clustered across the windowpanes.

I take no credit for these Gardenias. I do give them a little food, and after each bloom, I do cut them back so they won’t grow taller than the house. These flowers belong to Mrs. Knight, and every June, I clutch my breath until they gloriously return.

Illustration of gardenia thunbergia via Wikipedia by Edith Struben (1868-1936)

ROSES LOVE GARLIC

It has been a really busy week. I had intended to post every day about the wonder and beauty of our simple garden. Now it is Thursday and here you have the second post of the week. Perhaps there will be time to elaborate as the weekend approaches.

This is the first year that I really concentrated on companion planting. What seems a complicated subject matter to me is demystified by Louise Riotte in her two books:

Roses Love Garlic & Carrots Love Tomatoes

I love how my blooming garlic mingles with an old rose bush that was a part of my house the day I moved in. Maggie and I have enjoyed watching the garlic blooms pop their little ‘hats’ as the blossoms open from their little paper shell.

I have to admit that I have not been able to wait until the fall harvest and have been sampling our garlic since the stems emerged last autumn.

I recently came across an article with recipes for young garlic in a magazine which I simply cannot recall this morning. However, a simple Google search provides scores of young garlic recipes from Shrimp Stir Fry to soup.

And be sure to watch Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers by Les Blank.

Enjoy!

THIS WEEK IS GARDEN WEEK

I am inspired by my garden. These small beds that run around and behind my little house will feed my family this summer.

Thanks to our compost, we are pleasantly surprised by all of the volunteer tomato plants that have sprung up in every spot that we spread this luscious soil.

Maggie and I watch as flowers mingle with the rogue tomatoes, sunflowers and cantaloupes willy-nilly.

Our backyard composter and worm bin, the Biostack:

http://www.composters.com/compost-bins/bio-stack-bin_91_1.php