Who’s Eating Our Orchard?

Delayed almost a month by an unusually cold and prolonged winter, our friend Gini–an avid arborist– arrived the other day to give us our first lesson in orchard pruning. We were anxious to begin work on the more than 100 young fruit trees we acquired when we bought our farm property. We gathered our shears, […]

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Posted by on March 28, 2014 at 8:05 am   This post has 18 responses.

Believe it or Not: Rutabaga Souffle

Think of Thanksgiving dishes you most dread and mashed rutabaga probably springs first to mind. What was that vaguely bitter orange stuff Aunt Tilly was so fond of anyway? Outside Minnesota, rutabaga have all the appeal of a dead skunk on the highway. Or do you have to be...

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Posted by on February 6, 2014 at 8:37 am   This post has 3 responses.

Tale of a Strawbale Raised Bed

One year, three friends and I decided to make a vegetable garden together. It would be built on one of our properties in the suburbs west of Minneapolis, and all of us would help maintain it and share in the harvest. We built the garden in a mowed area...

Read more in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Eat This, Feed Me, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on January 15, 2014 at 2:54 am   This post has 32 responses.

Celebrating the New Year with a Giant Potato

No need for me and my fellow Idahoans to sit at home and watch the New Yorkers having all the fun… now Boise has a locally grown New Year’s Eve tradition: an evening of magic shows, live music, street food, and general merrymaking, capped off by dropping a giant...

Read more in: Eat This, Feed Me, Tune In, What's Happening
Posted by on January 1, 2014 at 4:42 am   This post has 11 responses.

I was a Lab Rat for GMO Apples

How does a gardenblogger find something to write about in December?  By jumping at the chance to taste-test produce for the USDA, that’s how, at least if it’s just 5 minutes from home.  Anyway, I was curious about the process, starting with the detailed pre-test instructions – no eating/drinking...

Read more in: Eat This, Science Says
Posted by on December 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm   This post has 47 responses.

More than just seed porn

It’s ironic that by far the largest and most beautiful garden catalogs I receive are for the smallest commodities. And some might find it sad that I never buy any of these small items. Seeds are really cheap for all they can deliver, and nobody celebrates the glory of...

Read more in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 25, 2013 at 8:56 am   This post has 4 responses.

No poo for you, organic farmers!

If the FDA’s proposed food safety regulations go through, the use of animal manure on farms over a certain size, or which supply food to supermarkets, will be severely limited. According to this NPR story (and I am sure it has appeared in other news outlets), when farmers spread...

Read more in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 21, 2013 at 9:38 am   This post has 25 responses.

Surprise Me With Grits and Weeds For the Sweet Hereafter

A few years ago, the father of a friend lay near death, and there were the usual matters to clean up before the end. His last will sorted out, the bedridden father was asked: “Do you want to be buried or cremated?” He propped up on his elbows, cocked...

Read more in: Eat This, Real Gardens
Posted by on October 23, 2013 at 8:10 am   This post has 6 responses.

White House Kitchen Garden in Shutdown Mode

On the White House food policy blog Obama Foodorama, this post about the condition of the kitchen garden is making headlines.  Seriously.  Are people surprised that gardens need regular staff time or they’ll go to weed?  Maybe readers are glad to see that even this famous garden turns into...

Read more in: Eat This, What's Happening
Posted by on October 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm   This post has 15 responses.


In the same way as dog lovers sometimes appreciate cats, vegetable gardeners–who have to exert a great deal of control over their domain–sometimes appreciate a crop that has no particular need for the gardener’s hand. That would mainly be tomatillos. Plant them once, and you need never plant them...

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm   This post has 3 responses.

A Bantam Fan

  I like having bantam hens for the same reason that I like having girl children: pretty. A joy to watch. It was the girls who chose the fancy bantams from the McMurray’s catalog.  They are an assortment, Silkies with fur apres-ski hats, fat little Cochins in black, brown...

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Posted by on September 14, 2013 at 7:24 am   This post has 4 responses.

Have Scythe, Will Farm

I recently woke up with a badly aching right elbow. In fact, I could barely use my arm. Must be Lyme disease, I concluded. Pain in the joints is a primary symptom and I knew I’d been bitten by at least one tick since we purchased a farm property...

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Posted by on September 12, 2013 at 6:46 am   This post has 9 responses.

Please Call them Vegetables–and a Giveaway!

  It started with the pigweed that came up in the rose pot on the edge of my terrace. I didn’t know it was pigweed (and even “pigweed” is problematic since the common name belongs to more than one plant). But eventually I whittled down the rose-invader’s ID to...

Read more in: Books, Drink This, Eat This, Feed Me, Guest Rants
Posted by on September 11, 2013 at 5:57 am   This post has 26 responses.

The Philosopher Shrugs

It was a sorry tomato season.  Never really hot enough.  Too rainy.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t start my own seedlings, but bought them at the farmer’s market.  Lots of Brandywines, instead of what I’d have started myself: Paul Robesons, Pineapples, Orange Pastes and...

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Posted by on September 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm   This post has 11 responses.

This Week in Crazy Rhubarb Lady

By now you’ve probably all seen the viral internet video of the crazy, foul-mouthed woman stealing rhubarb from her neighbor’s alley.  If you haven’t, you can watch the video in full here–and remember that it is NSFW.  (And that stands for Not Safe For Work, for those of you...

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Posted by on August 7, 2013 at 6:25 am   This post has 7 responses.

Peach Patrol

Behold a tree that is embroiled in more controversy,  pawed over more regularly, and assaulted by more attention, admiration, disgust, falling maple branches, and drunken wonder than a Real Housewife of Orange County.  A ‘Garnet Beauty’ variety, its checkered history began when the gardener ordered it bare-root from Fedco...

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm   This post has 10 responses.

Sweat Shopping

First of all, thanks to Amy, Susan, and Elizabeth for your extreme patience in letting me spend 7 or 8 months attempting to organize my life rather than blog posts. Thanks also to the Garden Rant community for your kind words!  I am back in the garden, more or...

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Posted by on July 9, 2013 at 6:03 am   This post has 11 responses.

Don’t engineers even grow tomatoes?

Guest Rant by Rebecca Caley The tomato plants are so thick and sturdy, nothing can bring them down.  That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.  Never trust a tomato.  Their goal is to reproduce by getting rotten tomatoes on the ground.  They will fight the trellis, the cage,...

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Posted by on July 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm   This post has 54 responses.

Grafted Tomatoes! A Million of Them!

Holy Brandywine, did you know that over a million grafted tomatoes have been sold in the United States? It’s true! So says Anne Raver in the NYT’s latest dip into the grafted veggie thing. So. Massive, disease-resistant, hardy rootstock pumping out more tomatoes than ever before. Have you tried...

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Posted by on June 5, 2013 at 6:15 am   This post has 14 responses.

I’ll Have My Aronia Cocktail Now, Please.

Earlier this year at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show,  I was hanging out with Jessi Bloom of NW Bloom (and author of Free-Range Chicken Gardens) in her exhibit booth. She had brought a selection of edible landscaping plants — reliable, hardworking shrubs, vines, trees and the like that...

Read more in: Drink This, Eat This, Feed Me
Posted by on May 28, 2013 at 6:44 am   This post has 7 responses.
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