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broodings from the burrow

March 29, 2020

notes from the garden: march 2020
posted by soe 1:34 am

March Garden Shots

Rudi and I did some more tidying of the garden plot this month. I find if I do a section at a time I hate it less. I hate it even less if Rudi does it.

The big tufty grass-like things are bunching onion grass that we planted one of our first couple years in the garden. The greens at the bottom are sorrel, which we also planted ages ago and which just reseeds itself.

Our herbs, which are at the back of the plot, also mostly survived the winter.

This is the bronze fennel, which grew to a six-foot behemoth last year.

March Garden Shots

I’m still working on clearing this back section out, but there’s purple sage, oregano, and mint back, at the very least.

March Garden Shots

The strawberries and violets are doing well, but I’d like several more strawberry plants and haven’t yet found any.

March Garden Shots

March Garden Shots

I planted peas a month ago, and planted more last week, because a month gave me better insight into which peas had not come up. I plant half-rows of single types at the start of the season for precisely this reason, although I’m not always great about keeping track of which type is which. Some of my seeds dated back a decade, while others were new last year or this.

March Garden Shots

I also planted spring greens — chard, lettuces, spinach, kale, and some others. Again, I can tell you which things are in the garden, but maybe not which ones they are until they come up.

March Garden Shots

March Garden Shots

That second shot is from Friday, and the amount they’ve grown in a week is noticeable. They’re at the top of the previous shot.

Our bunny may be back, because I notice the seedlings I planted (kale and spinach) had been munched. Of course, I did also pull a happy slug off a spinach leaf, so it may not be vertebrates that are the culprit.

If you can plant something, even just in a pot, it feels especially good this year to see seeds coming to life. Peas and greens are hardy and can be outside well before the last risk of frost.

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March 22, 2020

from my garden to you
posted by soe 1:33 am


Category: garden. There is/are 3 Comments.

February 24, 2020

garden 2020: day 1
posted by soe 1:48 am

Winter Garden

As I’d hoped, the weather and my schedule cooperated and I got to spend time today puttering in my garden plot. And by puttering I mean, clearing the main bed, turning soil, and planting seeds.

But after a couple hours, it felt nice to see something looking so … tidy and taken care of.

Garden 2020: Day 1

The back portion is several rows of peas and the front row is several rows of spring greens.

I haven’t bought any new seeds this year, so we’re seeing what will sprout from past seasons. I feel more optimistic about the seeds from last year than the ones from 2009, but either way those seeds are out of my house and in the ground.

And while I’m relatively sure that doing this much planting so early in the year will guarantee a blizzard and frozen ground in the next two weeks, these are all plants that flourish in cooler weather and should be able to withstand a certain amount of cold.

Have you started thinking yet about what you’re going to grow this year?

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October 23, 2019

october garden
posted by soe 1:41 am

October Garden

I did pick many of the remaining tomatoes over the weekend, but left a few on the vine. While the outskirts of the city were at risk for a frost warning this week, the heat sink of a city keeps our garden a little warmer for longer.

I, do, however, have lots of peppers still growing. They’re always a reliable late-season crop for me.

There are fish peppers:

October Garden

I grow them because they’re the cool stripey green and white of their leaves as they’re growing and then they turn the red you see below when they’re ripe.

October Garden

There are lots of banana peppers:

October Garden

And a few mini yellow bells:

October Garden

I also still have basil left to harvest and turn into pesto for the winter.

The seeds I planted for fall greens don’t seem to have taken. I may give it a shot again this weekend when I’m there to see if anything comes of a late planting. It’ll all depend on when snow comes…

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August 24, 2019

summer supper: tomato tart
posted by soe 1:59 am

Tomato Tart

For several days, a tomato tart has been taking up space in my brain. Tomatoes are in season here, and while they are delicious in everything we’ve had them in — soups, sauces, Middle Eastern stews, salads — I was craving something particular.

Supper is not usually my arena. I’m the baker of desserts and occasionally breakfasts, but usually dinnertime fare falls to Rudi. But since this was my plan, and since a tomato tart is not especially dissimilar to a tarte tatin or a fruit pie, it seemed perfectly plausible that I could make this myself.

I found this Bon Appetit article, which led to this recipe.

On half of the tart, I used a tomato left over in the fridge from the bulk buy a few weeks ago. I figured since it was being cooked it was fine. On the other half went mostly cherry tomatoes from our garden.

I used the recipe as a jumping off place, but I made some changes:

  • I pricked the pastry in more than a few places. The dough looked like it had been pierced by a horror film villain.
  • I used already minced garlic we buy by the jar. We had cloves, but it seemed an easy substitution.
  • I omitted the lemon altogether. The article’s author said she cuts back on them when she makes the dish. Commenters on the recipe didn’t like the lemons, probably because they cut them too thick. I didn’t want to wash the mandoline, use it, and then wash it again, so it seemed easiest to skip them.
  • I did not leave space between my tomatoes, which also were definitely sliced skinnier than a quarter inch. I also overlapped some of them, particularly on the fridge tomato side, where I added some garden tomatoes in case it tasted terrible. In the end, I used one giant beefsteak-sized tomato and about two dozen cherries.
  • I used a mix of basil, rosemary, and oregano from my garden. It was not a cup’s worth — probably closer to a scant handful combined. And I put it on top of the tomatoes, rather than beneath them.
  • I skipped the final tablespoon of olive oil on top. Commenters felt the finished product was too soggy, so I thought pooling liquid on top seemed like a silly idea. Had I been using drier tomatoes, I might have considered using our olive oil mister as a finishing touch.
  • I also skipped the crème fraîche, because I didn’t have any and it just sounded weird.
  • Instead I diced half a bar of feta and sprinkled that on the finished tart after I sliced it. It was an inspired addition.


Rudi and I agreed that if we used larger tomatoes than cherries that the prep time would be sped up considerably, but that otherwise it was a completely delicious success!

Hooray for hankerings!

Category: arts,garden. There is/are 1 Comment.

August 16, 2019

home-grown, footwear, and refreshing
posted by soe 1:31 am

August Jungle

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. There’s nothing like returning to a garden that’s at peak production. My haul on Wednesday included peppers, at least five varieties of tomatoes, and basil.

Post-Vacation Garden Haul

2. One of the things I really wanted to do while in Connecticut was to get to a sporting goods store to see if I could find a pair of volleyball sneakers. I could tell the difference for my knees just jumping around Dick’s shoe department, so I am excited for next month when I resume playing indoors and can use them. Since I’ll be playing twice a week again, it will be good to minimize the beating my knees take.

3. A shower immediately after coming in from an hour playing volleyball outside in the August heat.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

Category: garden,three beautiful things. There is/are 2 Comments.