Plants worked hard all summer to deliver varied flavors, shapes and colors. Now it’s time to cook your bounty.
A garden row of seedlings at the season’s start should now be a greenmarket. If you’ve been following along this summer, you’ll have everything you need for pizza sauce (tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, onions) and salads (lettuce, arugula, red onions, edible flowers and beets).
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: End-of-Summer Lovin’
Sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent way to concentrate that jammy summer tomato flavor. But when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, take advantage of the sun and use your car.
A car dashboard makes the perfect substitute oven.
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: What Time Is It? Tomato Time
There’s no such thing as having too many tomatoes, but it does pay to be prepared for the onslaught. The fruits are just beginning to ripen in East Coast gardens, so we have about two weeks to get ready for tomato mania.
Until then, take advantage of near-ripe varieties by making fried green tomatoes. Green ones appear in September and October (when there isn’t enough heat to fully ripen those still growing), so now is a great time to test and refine your techniques for the main event. A dollop of goat cheese on top with some torn fresh basil and cayenne powder will balance the tart flavor. Or keep the stove off by making a raw tomato sauce. Dice fresh tomatoes, and mix them with olive oil, finely chopped garlic and basil, along with some rosemary and sage.
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: Prepping for Tomato Bounty
Bee populations are down significantly across the country and the world. Though the primary cause of Colony Collapse Disorder is still being debated, many experts believe pesticides, foreign parasites and other pathogens are the culprits. Busy pollinators, bees — especially honeybees — are crucial to our fruit and vegetable supplies. One way to strengthen bee colonies is to plant food sources for them.
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: Feed the Bees, Feed Yourself
As tempting as it is to save all of the garden’s bounty for meals, the herbs and flowers coming into bloom now are just as good in the glass. Lavender, peppermint, lemon and lemon balm can each be used to make great simple syrups for cocktails, like lavender in a mojito garnished with lavender sprig and mint. The syrups are great with soda water for homemade spritzers, too. But one of the easiest, most-refreshing drinks is an iced tisane (like iced tea, but without tea).
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: Tisanes (Herbs and Flowers, Sun and Moon)
Dry beans are quiet garden stalwarts. Kidney and black beans — my legumes of choice — produce abundant yields with few needs.
To maximize yield, plant beans early in the summer once the soil has warmed, then pull them from the ground when the pods are dry and the plant is mostly dead, in about 100 days. I plant seeds two or three times a season to increase yield.
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: Hardworking and Productive (Who Doesn’t Like a Garden Hero?)
Tomatoes like company in the garden, so keep things easy and organized by clustering the stalks with basil and any other ingredients you’ll need for salsa or tomato sauce. Not only will this save space, it will also discourage pests.
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: Plants Need Friends Too
I love to eat (and I eat a lot). More than 20 years of gardening have shown me how to grow amazing, delicious, healthful food at a fraction of market prices — and how to preserve the surplus to use all year long.
My garden in Bedford, N.Y., (about an hour north of midtown Manhattan) isn’t huge — about 3,000 square feet (pictured below) — but it provides abundant sustenance year-round. Over the course of this growing season, I’ll share what’s popping up, provide recipes, and come up with gardening tips and ideas. Curious about quinoa? Come along. Interested in dry beans? Those are growing too. Herbs for tea? I’ll also cover those.
At the end of each post, I’ll include a produce report to update you on what’s going into the ground, as well as thoughts on what you can harvest now.
Let’s get started.
Continue Reading 52 Weeks Fresh: Preparing the Garden (While Watching Television)