Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Links of Interest #3

Recycled Barrel Planter
10 Modern Planters for Narrow Balconies
DIY Produce/Farmer's Market Bags - I love these!
Gardening with Kids

Gardening Tips
7 Kitchen Waste Items to Use in the Garden

Massachusetts looks to require residents to compost - Cambridge is making strides in this direction, as residents can drop off compost at the recycling center!
A Farm in a Shop
The True Cost of Tomatoes by Mark Bittman
Urban Chickens: Frugal Fad or Pricey Pastime? - I still think it would be worth it!
Getting the Most Out of Your CSA/Book Review The City Cook


Terrarium Tutorial from ModCloth

10 "Watch Now" Food/Garden Movies on Netflix - I have seen and recommend Kings of Pastry and The Garden

Food & Drink
Spank Your Herbs - to make cocktails garnishes perform double-duty in appearance and taste.

To Buy
Culinary Herb Wheel - a go-to guide about using herbs

Blogs of Interest
Food in Jars - recipes, book (includes small batch canning info)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Before the Rain

Rain, rain, and more rain.  This past weekend, the weather turned cold and damp...not a great start to June.

Friday night, before the rain started I went out to do some weeding and harvested what I could.  I picked 8 strawberries, 1 pea, and 1 head of lettuce. I also picked some thyme and rosemary (to make flatbread - a great rainy day snack).

I just can't get enough of these cute, perfect strawberries!
and first tomato (on my sunsugar plant).

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Every gardener comes to learn patience.  They may not necessarily accept it, but they learn it.  In gardening, it helps when patience is rewarded!  

I went to Maine for the long weekend, and had crossed my fingers that the lupine would be out.  It is just so....neat, cool, beautiful, unique.  The season (if there is such a thing) was not quite at its peak, but there was a lot along the roadside and throughout the Maine countryside.  I couldn't get enough of it. 

Upon my return, the Junebearing strawberries that were just starting to ripen before I left were now bright red. I had seven ripe, delicious strawberries...and look forward to more (with patience of course!) 
5.29.12 harvest

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Volunteers to the Rescue

After last summers incredible tomatillo experience, I had been waiting to see if any volunteer tomatillo plants would appear, since I had heard that they are pretty tolerant and vigorous.  After some seedling identification research, I confirmed that I did in fact have a few tomatillo plants - along with some mystery tomato plants.  The tomato plants are really a mystery since I did not even have tomatoes in that bed last year.  However, the timing was perfect as these hearty little volunteer plants turned into...

seedlings for a plant swap!

I saw a flier for a plant swap in my neighborhood after an evening walk on Saturday night that was taking place on Sunday afternoon.  I was very excited to meet some fellow gardeners, share my extra plants, and potentially even take something home for my garden!  I walked down to the event, and stayed for about an hour.  During that time there was quite a bit of traffic between people dropping plants off/picking up plants and passers-by, interested in seeing what was going on.  The organizers had made designated areas for house plants, vegetables, annuals and perennials.  Perennials were definitely the most abundant, and ranged from Hostas to Bleeding Hearts to raspberry bushes. 

House & Veggie/Herb plants

I ended up taking home an eggplant (little finger) seedling, spinach, and a bunch of Shasta Daisies.  Even though I don't have the space to plant the daisies in the ground as a true perennial, I am going to see how they fair this summer in a large container.  Even if I can get a few cuttings from them I will be happy!

I think that the plant swap was a great success.  It was great to meet some neighbors, learn a few things and get some new plants.  I heard that there are already plans for another one in the future.

Readers, have you ever attended or participated in a plant swap?  What fabulous plants have you walked away with?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ready, Set, Grow

I got up early on Sunday morning to head to Russell's Garden Center so that I could buy everything needed to get my garden going for the season. I wanted to beat the traffic and the crowds, since it was going to be another beautiful day in Boston.  I also knew that I had a long day ahead of me since I had not quite yet finished prepping the beds.  In addition to my "standard" list of veggies (with a few new varieties thrown in), my goal was to vary my raised beds this year with some flowers.  I am very fortunate to have extra space this year, as my friend is not able to garden in her 6' x 3' bed.  I was incredibly overwhelmed by the vast amount of flower varieties, but ultimately ended up going with a few favorites that will hopefully make nice arrangements throughout the summer. Here is what I ended up with...

Cucumber - Burpee Gold Standard Hybrid
Tomato - Sugary (grape), Sunsugar
Eggplant - Black Beauty
Pepper - Valencia
Sweet Basil

Argyranthemum - white & pink

After a lot more work prepping the beds and refreshing the "square foot" lines with new string, I planted got everything planted.  In addition, I planted the three grafted tomato varieties I had ordered from Burpee (Bradywine and two San Marzano) and sowed one row of the following:
Carrot - Little Finger, Danvers
Bean - Kentucky Wonder, Pole

Since I am always looking for new tips and tricks, I decided to try the "Tomato and Pepper Automator Trays."  I have to say that they were a little awkward to set up, but I am hoping that they give my two Grafted San Marzano plants an extra boost.

Overall, I am really excited for my garden this year and to see the transformation as everything grows. Who knows if the flowers will eventually overshadow the veggie plants, but I tried to place them as best I could based on sun pattern, and all I can do is hope for the best.  With rain the past two days, hopefully everything will adjust to their new home.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Harvest Monday 5.21.12

It was a beautiful and busy weekend in the garden, but more on that later.  I harvested two heads of Boston lettuce yesterday, which made for a great dinner.  My Junebearing strawberries are still red, but I guess that makes sense since it is not quite June.  I can only hope that mine looks as good as these.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

First Harvest of 2012

Spring temps are finally stabilizing around Boston, and even though we have had a lot of rain I can't help get excited for the warm temperatures ahead and another year of backyard gardening.

Like last year, I plan to head to Russell's after volunteering at the graduation for the college where I work this weekend to pick up veggie plants and flowers.  However, I still have to finalize my garden plan and figure out what to buy this year. I already ordered and received three grafted, heirloom tomato plants from Burpee.  The two San Marzano that I had last year produced incredibly well, so I went with them again. My third plant is a different variety than last year, a Red Brandywine.

I have made the decision not to grow tomatillos again, even though I loved the salsa they produced.  The two plants I had last year just took over and were hard to keep up with.  I was able to can a lot of the salsa and enjoyed it throughout the winter.  However, I have been told that tomatillo seeds are pretty hearty and can over-winter, so I am watching to see if any pop up in the beds.  There are few sprouting plants that I have not yet confirmed their identity, so I will need to do some research to find out what they are.

I bought a few pea seedlings at Home Depot in April on a whim because I had not yet sown my sugar snap pea seeds.  However, these plants are not doing very well.  They are only about a foot tall (about double the size), but at the same time, already producing flowers...and peas!  This was Wednesday night's  harvest...three peas...and cilantro (I love an 'excuse' to make salsa.)

My thyme plant over wintered very well, and much better than my rosemary, which I have declared dead.

Next up...strawberries!  My plants multiplied quite a bit and I am excited for even more strawberries this year.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Event: 37th Annual Gardeners Gathering

It is that time again...

BNAN's 37th Annual Gardeners Gathering
Saturday, March 31, 2012
11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Curry Student Center, Northeastern University

Gardening workshops for community and residential gardeners for both beginner and experienced gardeners. Enjoy networking, door prizes, info gallery, community garden awards, and more! All invited to join with more than 300 community gardeners to welcome spring. Free event, all welcome, walk-in registration. For more information email or call BNAN at 617-542-7696.

The Gardeners Gathering is an annual citywide event for community gardeners and other garden enthusiasts. Held in the spring of each year, the event is a welcome kick-off to Boston’s upcoming gardening season. The event is filled with informative and fun activities and workshops. Gardening and green space organizations are present to provide current program information. Door prizes are awarded and pre-ordered seeds (provided by BNAN) are distributed.

One of the typical highlights of the Gardeners Gathering is Mayor Thomas Menino’s greeting and presentation of the annual Community Gardening Awards. BNAN is grateful to Northeastern University for hosting the event each year and to the City of Boston for its ongoing support of community gardening.

Find out more info about BNAN!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Monday - All About Tomatoes

Tomato production is coming to a sad end.  The plants are very brown and skimpy.  They no longer provide a barrier to the busy street traffic, as I can see right through them when I pull into my driveway.  However, harvests are not finished yet! I picked 20 Grafted  Heirloom San Marzano tomatoes tonight!  They are not perfect or all completely ripe, but they will still be great for salsa or sauces.  With close to 80 tomatoes between the two plants, they provided about 80% of my total tomato harvest this season. 

The three days of drenching rain we had last week did not help conditions either, having barely recovered from Irene.

I still expect to harvest some tomatillos (if I can find/get to them) and have some great looking eggplants growing.