Friday, 25 October 2013 | 25 comments

First shiitake harvest

Early this year, we inoculated some logs with shiitake spawn. Around September, we got our first one or two ‘shrooms. But just this week was the first time we had enough coming in to really harvest in earnest. » Click to read more

Monday, 30 September 2013 | 12 comments

Basil flower vinegar

Now that summer’s over, I took a few hours to clean up some of the herb plants in our front garden before they get frosted. I collect bundles and hang them high in the kitchen where it’s typically pretty dry and well-ventilated, and where they aren’t exposed to too much sun. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 11 June 2013 | 34 comments

With a pile of greens: Tortilla espaƱola

Maybe you’ve heard of Ruth Stout, who is quickly rising to the top of my Ideal Dinner Party Guest List (posthumously, sadly). She smashed saloon windows with Carrie Nation during temperance, and then went on to become a garden guru in the ’60s and ’70s. I’m reading her book called “Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent”. (If nothing else: such an appealing title!) Stout champions a way of gardening that essentially has one tenet: mulch the heck out of everything with straw, organic matter, newspaper, and forget about the rest. No weeding, and the organic matter of the mulch is supposed to occupy pests just as much as much as your plants themselves. The end. How she manages to fill up a book with this information, I’m not sure, but she does, and she’s lovable and eccentric and I enjoy every minute of it. It comes as no surprise, I suppose, that this woman was known to garden in the nude (as if I could like her more). » Click to read more

Monday, 15 April 2013 | 19 comments

Warm potato salad with spring greens

spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window,into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully

» Click to read more

Monday, 4 March 2013 | 76 comments

A yellow split pea soup + some questions for you

At night, we bundle up and go down to the cellar. We decided to get hardcore about seed-starting this year and bought grow-lights. In the past, I’ve started seeds on windowsills, which works, sure, but the seedlings end up a bit leggy, and real estate is limited. Now, improbably, our windowless, 52-degree cellar is the home of seed-starting operations, spread across a big table with lights that shine 16 hours a day. We put on music, drink steaming tea, and get lost in the rhythm of poking holes, dropping in seeds, covering them up, watering them. All at 9 or 10 PM. It’s a little counterintuitive, and lends a certain drama to the work, like we’re growing something illicit in our basement.
It’s that silly time of year where we’re all pretty done with winter, but there’s still an interminable stretch until it’s honest-to-goodness spring. Even winter itself seems wan and ready to be put to bed, allowing some warming sun to poke through. On one or two afternoons, we’ve been able to move the garden prep outside for a few hours. But the nights still get very, very cold. The dirt still has a hard, frozen crust on its surface. I am still eating pantry-staple legumes. It is definitely not yet spring. » Click to read more

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