Soup season!

As the equinox bears down upon us and the leaves start to turn, my appetite craves anything of the soup variety. The Classic Lentil stew is my most favorite soup from my vegan cookbook and even carnivores would agree it’s wholly satisfying. I do a few tweaks. I use an entire bunch of parsley since saving it is pointless for me and the juice of half a lemon. I also use a 28 oz can of tomatoes since I like it a bit more tomatoey. I like to make my own stock because it’s easy, fast, cheap and ends up tasting to your preference. I find a lot of store bought stocks and broths are too “carroty” and therefore too sweet. I like mine celery and onion based, heavy on the bay leaf. Oh, and salt to taste. The recipe isn’t salty enough for me. And I also suggest cooking it longer; until the potatoes are almost melting. Adding a tablespoon of sugar doesn’t hurt either if you want to cut the tomato acidity.

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Truck Farm!

a truck farm

This truck is always parked in my neighborhood. I tried to go to the website but it was blacked out so I just googled the words “wicked delicate”. I guess they’re a Brooklyn-based production company and there are a few shorts on youtube about the truck farm itself. Check it out. http://www.youtube.com/user/wickedelicate

summer solstice!

on this first day of summer… remember to water your garden! watering in the morning is best if you can but better to water than not at all. watering your garden in the evening is sort of like taking a shower, not drying off and crawling into bed… and that is sort of, well… eeewwwww. so get up, grab a coffee, get out and water!

Say It Ain’t So

As it turns out, that big ole tree in my new backyard is, well, dead. So there goes the shaded garden. Now I will be plagued with bird crap and broken branches all the live long day. Not to mention the threat of the thing falling over into my bedroom. Sigh. In other news, here’s some new pics of the ever-developing garden.

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Sprung

I know you’ll be tempted to clean out the garden once your bulbs pop up so you can see them in all their gorgeous green glory. But hold off a little longer just in case it snows or frosts again. They’ll need their winter coats. Here’s a couple pics from my current, soon-to-be-abandoned, garden (we’re moving). I’m going to transplant a few things, which i will chronicle, but most of my hard work will stay.

Dirt: It Ain’t Soil

baby basil in amended soil

Let me reiterate. Dirt is not soil. When designing a garden bed you want to create a nutrient rich environment where your plants will thrive. Unfortunately it is often the case that the brown chunky stuff that’s been sitting in your little planting plot (if you’re lucky enough to have one like i am) is completely void of any of the good stuff that plants need and love. Of course there are totally hardy, tolerant plants that seem like they don’t need any TLC (you know who you are, sedum), but if we’re talking veggies and herbs you’ll need to do some vamping up.

What I suggest is cultivating the dirt so it aerates and mixing in bags of organic compost until it feels rich and soft. As you dig around, mind your wormy friends. They do wonders for your garden and we can’t afford any casualties.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to enrich your bed and in fact I found small bags of rich organic compost at the local dollar store. Or better yet, do your own composting and you’ll have the black gold at your disposal.  If you’re a little lazy like me, simply don’t clean your garden in the fall and all those leaves that have fallen on top of the dirt will not only act as mulch over the winter but come spring they will have broken down and the nutrients will have gone back into the ground. Voila, compost.  Additionally adding a soilless agent like perlite or sand is a good idea so that your soil achieves sufficient drainage.  If you feel like splurging, mix in a bit of time-released plant food like Osmocote.

Congratulations. You have now transformed your dirt into soil. Your plants will thank you for it with bigger blooms, better buds and incredible edibles.