A fine mess

No Babysitting Required

I’ve been away on vacation for most of the last few weeks, and as is typically true in August, have returned to ridiculous explosions of food, weeds, and crabgrass. You’ll notice that one of the explosions, at least, is positive: food.  So many tomatoes that sauce-making is the only option. Endless eggplants and pattypan squashes. […]

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm   This post has 20 responses.


  Can you eat any of the plants in this picture? Really? How do you know? This post from the always excellent Rowley’s Whiskey Forge got me thinking about this. He posts a really cool recipe for a liqueur called mistela de chimajá. I couldn’t resist–I had to go...

Read more in: Drink This, Feed Me, Garden Rant Cocktail Hour
Posted by on August 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm   This post has 13 responses.

An icewine cocktail for the dog days

Fancy cocktails with multiple ingredients are OK with me, as long as I don’t have to make them. I’m with Amy when it comes to obscure techniques like bone lugeing or fat-washing. If the booze is good, it shouldn’t need such interventions. When at home, I use up to four...

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Posted by on August 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm   This post has 3 responses.

Send Me to the Commune

Grated beet salad with red onions, carrots, and a delicious vinaigrette. Grass-fed beef steaks, perfectly grilled.  A potato salad made with homemade mayonnaise and chipotle relish. Melting, sweet homegrown tomatoes with good olive oil, sea salt and basil. Boiled Maine lobster. Broiled baby eggplant with lemon basil and a...

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 at 7:00 am   This post has 8 responses.

Okay, Pinterest– I give in!

I resisted Pinterest for as long as I could. At some point, one simply has to put the social networking down and back slowly away from the computer.  But then I had an actual use for it, and that’s when I folded. I’m creating a new garden (more about...

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Posted by on August 1, 2012 at 4:21 am   This post has 19 responses.

Stop the Madness!

Let us review the brief and troubled history of the Modern Cocktail.  It began in the early nineties, when youngsters realized that a Martini was a nice thing to order in a bar. A few variations on the martini followed, most notably the godawful “dirty Martini” made with excessive...

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Posted by on July 25, 2012 at 7:00 am   This post has 14 responses.

Another illegal front-yard garden, and this one’s gorgeous!

This time, the craziness is in Quebec.  And this time, the gardeners’ health is an issue.  According to this story, the couple has lost a combined 100 pounds since they planted the garden in March!  Expect to see a garden-to-lose-weight book coming soon, based on their experience. They already...

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Posted by on July 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm   This post has 10 responses.

A Theme of Complaint

“Every man may be observed to have …some peculiar theme of complaint on which he dwells in his moments of dejection.” Samuel Johnson I was having a delightful phone conversation with my old boss last week.  He always makes me laugh and gives the best advice of anybody.  We...

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Posted by on July 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm   This post has 11 responses.

Chickens vs. Vegetable Beds, Round Two

In February I posted a picture of my modest collection of raised beds and asked for ideas about how to keep the chickens out of them.  Jessi Blum, author of Free Range Chicken Gardens, chimed in with some good advice.  I wanted the best of both worlds:  total chicken...

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Posted by on July 18, 2012 at 7:00 am   This post has 18 responses.

Urban Gardening, For Reals.

There’s a little run-down blue house a couple blocks away that has been continuously occupied for the last five years by a rotating group of newly-arrived Laotians. (At least, I believe them to be Laotians, based on a conversation I once overheard as I walked by.)  I can always...

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Posted by on July 11, 2012 at 8:00 am   This post has 7 responses.

Am I Eating the Right End?

A few years ago, I interviewed a gardener from Bangladesh who grew exotic gourds like fuzzy melon and snake melon in the Fenway community garden in Boston. She pointed out that the growing season is short, certainly compared to her home country, so before she got the gourds, she...

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Posted by on July 6, 2012 at 8:41 am   This post has 9 responses.

Summer Punches. Now.

So. Summer is here, and that means that you need to break out the punches. Not that dreadful stuff made with Sprite and sherbet and the worst possible vodka, but a nicely-made, Victorian-style punch, served in that punchbowl you never get to use, or a repurposed pickle jar, or...

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Posted by on July 4, 2012 at 1:21 am   This post has Comments Off.

Grazing My Way Through The Lull

Though I’ve been doing a vegetable garden for 20 years, I often rue my stupidity at this particular moment, when, if I’m not vigilant, there is nothing in the garden to eat.  This season, we’ve already had lots of nice spring meals of sugar snap peas and favas, garlic...

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Posted by on June 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm   This post has 16 responses.

Patience With the Experiment

Though gardeners are supposed to put down roots, I’ve made an awful lot of vegetable gardens in the last decade. When I first bought a weekend place in the country, I made a garden right behind the house. It worked well in high summer, but my fall crops did...

Read more in: Eat This, Feed Me, Real Gardens, Shut Up and Dig
Posted by on June 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm   This post has 29 responses.

Worst City/Gardener Clash Ever.

UPDATE:  Thanks to our alert readers for pointing out this Change.org petition you can sign. Meet Denise Morrison, a Tulsa gardener who carefully read the city code and followed it, planting nothing in her front yard that exceeded 12 inches in height unless it was edible. She grew an...

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Posted by on June 19, 2012 at 3:56 am   This post has 33 responses.

Does This Mean I Live Here?

I have a really brilliant and beautiful friend in Saratoga Springs, an English professor at Skidmore College, who said the greatest thing about second homes after her own attempt to buy one was foiled: “Having two houses is really a problem of divided loyalties, isn’t it?” It is, for...

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Posted by on June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm   This post has 23 responses.

Guest Rant: Low-Hanging Fruit

Y’all welcome Friend of Rant William Alexander, with this interesting horticultural report: It seems like I’d just barely picked the apples from my 4-tree orchard at my home in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley last fall when a freak October snowstorm come through, the foot of wet, heavy snow clinging...

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 at 4:50 am   This post has 9 responses.

Meet the Farmer Pirates

This is how Buffalo urban farmer Dan Ash explains it: “Pirate is a word that embodies resistance, and for farmer pirates that means resistance to the current industrial food system. We’re opting out by growing our own food.” It was just a couple years ago that a family who wanted to use...

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 at 4:10 am   This post has 8 responses.

Good Taste, White Flower Farm Style, versus Good Taste, Kitchen Style

It’s been many years since I paid any attention to White Flower Farm.  I used to order a bareroot rose or shrub from them now and then.  Early in my career, they disabused me of the notion that it was good to order perennials by mail by taking lots...

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Posted by on March 16, 2012 at 6:25 am   This post has 32 responses.

Short History of Humans Eating Fruits and – not so much – Vegetables


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Posted by on February 25, 2012 at 5:37 am   This post has one response.
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