Posts Tagged ‘garden’

The Marx Brothers

Freckle Lettuce

Freckle Lettuce

I was super pumped about gardening this year. The last few years have been so so on the growing food front. It was hard to take care of everything while having a toddler around for 2 years and then last year it was just a horrible growing season for a lot of people around us. I was determined to get the garden in great shape and have a successful season. 

I decided to start most of the veggies by seed this year. Tomatoes I alway’s buy as seedlings. I just can’t be bothered with them and I have a great place to buy organic and heirloom varieties. My go to for seed ordering is Cubits, located in Canada. I’ve always been happy with their seeds and love the variety that they offer. Plus I like buying from a small family business. Their blog is a favorite as well.

French Breakfast Radish

French Breakfast Radish

At least 1/2 of the garden was planted directly with seeds from :zucchini, kale, freckle lettuch, raddish, beets, carrots, mesclun, mizuna, chard, arugula, basil, borage, burgundy beans and cilantro. I purchased seedlings of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Everything was growing really well and then…


2 of 4 Marx Brothers

These guys showed up. We have alway’s had a groundhog. His name is Theon. Its alway’s been just him. We fenced in the garden. He jumped the fence anyway and ate some stuff. It was fine because he didn’t eat everything. This year we took the fence down because it needed to be replaced and decided not to replace it because well…he jumps it. So what difference does it make? Well. This is the first year that baby groundhogs have been born. There are 4 of them. They eat everything and I mean everything! Nothing is left except for the tomatoes and some of the basil plants. Only because they are in containers and not ground level although some bites have been taken from them. They’ve also eaten our neighbors garden. They live under his garage. 

I’m debating now wether to just give up this season or start over with more seedlings. I have plans to build my own row covers for all the salad greens and kale just to help out with the aphids so I’m hoping that will protect the plants. I’ve had offers for people who will come and trap them and take them away but I don’t want that. As destructive as they are I’m alway’s happy to see them. They need to live and eat and survive like the rest of us. 

I’ve dubbed them The Marx Bros. because one of the 4 babies is a grouch! He’s hilarious! You alway’s know when he’s coming because of the grumpy noises he makes and he’s always trying to intimidate us. So we have Groucho, Harpo and Chico. They elusive 4th one, who I rarely see, is Zeppo. 

French Breakfast Radish

At least I was able to eat one Breakfast Radish and it was delicious! (I pulled it out of the ground by accident) :) 




Leftover carrot in the garden from last season. #nofilter #garden #gardening

forgotten carrot

I was walking around my empty garden a few days ago and found a forgotten carrot that never finished growing. Walking around in the dirt again made me long for the last chance of frost so I can start planting again. When I went back inside I promptly took out my favorite gardening books and started refreshing myself on the subject. I’ve only been gardening for 4 years now and still have a lot to learn. I think a lot of my success’s with it have just been dumb luck. This year though I want to plan things out and not let it get to overgrown and messy.

First draft plans for the garden.

first of many plans 

I drew out a quick plan for the garden yesterday knowing that nothing about it will be final. I just realized I didn’t save a space for the Rainbow Chard seeds I ordered!  Also the butternut and delicata up in the top right of the garden…might not happen…or only one might happen. Will I have 4 eggplant plants growing? Time will tell.

Grown in my garden

grown in 2010 

I’m reminiscing about gardens past. 2009 the garden was 1/2 the size it is now. I grew A LOT of jalapeno’s!  2010 was my best garden ever. 2011 was the year I had a baby and not much happened. 2012 was the year our groundhog Theon decided to brave jumping the garden fence and ate all my broccoli. I made a lot of arugula and/or basil Pesto last year as well.

I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings!

just a heads up that I plan on talking about gardening a lot this spring/summer. hope you all don’t mind! :) 

Lemon-Herb Potatoes (recipe)

Garden Herb Roasted Potatoes

Lemon-Herb Potatoes

I spied these tiny red potatoes at Fairway the other day and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. I wanted to roast them whole with garden herbs and some lemon before serving. Small whole potatoes are one of my favorite foods to prepare and to eat. Preparing is so easy. Clean them. That’s it. No cutting necessary. Season them how you want, place them on a baking sheet and bake until done. Simple, easy and full of flavor.

Garden pickings

Basil, 2 Heirloom Tomatoes, Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Purslane

The seasoning on the potatoes was inspired by my afternoon in my vegetable garden. Its been an interesting growing season for me. Some things are thriving and some are not due to a groundhog who has learned to jump the fence around the garden. Stinker. On the thriving front are the herbs. We have 2 glorious rosemary plants from last season, which are turning into mini bushes! I snipped a few sprigs along with some sage and oregano to use on the potatoes.  Here is a sorta recipe for them. This is the type of dish that anything goes so use it as a guide.

Lemon-Herb Potatoes

small red potatoes*** (approximately 6 cups)
olive oil (enough to lightly coat)
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used sage, rosemary and oregano)
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and towel dry. Place in a medium to large mixing bowl and toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil until they are thoroughly coated. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and toss again. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until potatoes are just fork tender and the skins of the potatoes are starting to crisp, roughly 20-25 minutes. Add the fresh herbs, stir and bake for an addition 5 minutes or until potatoes are done. Make sure you don’t burn the herbs! Remove from oven and place potatoes in a serving bowl. Add lemon juice and mix well. Serve immediately!

***by small potatoes I mean about 1 inch round maybe 1 1/2 inches at the most.



I’m a freak for pesto. The saddest part of the end of summer/beginning of fall is that my basil plants in the garden are no more. We had such a great abundance of basil in our garden this year that pesto became my go to dinner for those nights I didn’t know what to make or if I hadn’t been food shopping in awhile. I always have the extra ingredients I need to make it on hand. Those ingredients being garlic, mellow miso, nuts, olive oil and salt.  I like a lot of garlic in my pesto. The garlic gives a nice spicy rawness to it.  I find a lot of vegan pesto recipes will use nutritional yeast in place of the cheese and as much as I love nutritional yeast and I love it a lot there is no place for it in my pesto recipes. I use miso instead. I love what miso does to a batch of pesto and it gives it a nice richness that replaces the cheese in a traditional pesto. Pine nuts are traditionally used for pesto’s but I like to use almonds instead. I alway’s have almonds in my freezer, they are much cheaper then pine nuts and you don’t run the risk of getting “pine mouth”. If you’ve never experienced pine mouth consider yourself lucky. If you don’t know what it is wikipedia it or something like that. Its not a fun thing to experience.

A new ingredient I’ve been adding to my pesto is a leafy green such as spinach or kale. Sometime over the last year my daughter Reno has become obsessed with pesto. Its her number 1 requested meal. One day over the summer I got the brilliant idea to sub 1/2 of the basil for spinach and it was great! She loved it and it got a vegetable in her. When she’s making it with me and sees me put some baby spinach into it she’ll ask what it is and I just tell her it’s a friend of the basil and she goes with it….thank goodness. Anyone I’ve had over for a pesto dinner that has kale or spinach in it hasn’t been able to tell that’s I’ve strayed from my usual recipe.

When I make pesto using basil from the garden I make A LOT of it. It freezes wonderfully and if you put saran wrap pressing right up against the pesto making sure to get all air bubbles out it will keep in the fridge for a few days without oxidizing much. You can alternatively pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto before refrigerating.




Garden Gnome

We have had feet upon feet upon feet upon feet of snow on the ground here in Northern NJ since a week (or so) after Christmas. There is still snow on the ground. Its never fully melted yet because it just keeps on snowing. The other day though I saw some signs of spring…a tiny garden gnome. It first started with the tip of his hat. Then we saw his face. Now pretty much his whole damn body is sticking out of the ground along with some smurf looking mushrooms. Its my new favorite thing to look for when I leave the house in the morning. He has a few other buddies that are started to make appearances as well so he won’t be lonely for long. Unless it snows again.