Archive for June, 2009

BYE BYE BIRDIES

June 30, 2009

 

DSCN3971HOME, Brooklyn: To my surprise it turns out or nibbled lettuce is due to the snacking habits of the local bird population. This photo above is a group looking on as I foiled their dinner plans. I didn’t know birds liked lettuce but sure enough they were ravaging our new little baby plants right in front of our eyes, swooping in low and flying off with a light green flash of our coveted crop in their hungry beaks. 

If you ever want to hear a cacophony of bird song, take away their food. The buggers were freaking out as I put up these deterrents:

DSCN3975The poor mans wind chime, simply cut any kind of disposable aluminum baking pan into strips with scissors and dangle with wire. The sound and movement will keep the birds away, at least until they get used to it. Which in Brooklyn, will probably be tomorrow. Oh well. 

Here you can see the nibbled leaves.

Here you can see the nibbled leaves.

 

 

 

Got any great ideas for keeping garden predators at bay? Please share them! igrewthis@gmail.com

The South Will Rise Again

June 24, 2009

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DECATUR, Georgia: An old pal of mine, who is currently living outside Atlanta Georgia, sent along these pics of his gorgeous green beans. I would love to see what everyone else has growing! Email me! igrewthis@gmail.com.
Obviously, the south is a little ahead of us up here in Brooklyn. We will be expecting our first bean harvest next month. 

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Also, my buddy felt the need to show up my pathetic planter grown hydrangea (see first post ever “HYDRA, YO”) check out his:

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4763_127023911616_532126616_2837708_973161_nIf I only had a front yard…

I’m Published, sort of…

June 20, 2009

JuneJuly09CoverSo the folks at ReadyMade decided to do an article about urban farming in the April/May issue and they focused on a couple in Cali who (from my point of view) were basically starting a community garden in the middle of a park in the outside of LA, hardly inner city. To put it mildly, I felt betrayed. After going off for about an hour on ReadyMade’s confused definition of “urban” the boyfriend unit bet me 10 dollars I would not write a letter to the editor by the weeks end.

So, for the love of 10 dollars, I did. And they published it.

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But they didn’t print my last name or place of origin. And they left out the criticism part of my letter: 

I would have liked to see a broader range of profiles, maybe places that are a little more challenging to grow in. In my opinion your images are, in a way, discouraging to people who want to garden and grow their own food but don’t have the same space and environment that the Kelley’s do…please see the attached pics of our set up, the lettuce is just starting to come up.

So, since there are so many Heathers out there in the world, was it really me? Only the select few who read this entry will ever know the truth. Here are the pics I sent their way. Not press worthy, they had to put the mug shots of their contributors somewhere didn’t they!? Well until I make it to the top all I can do is just keep dreaming big. Eyes on the prize. 

DSCN3707(These were taken way back at the beginning of April.)

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Sushi – not even kidding.

June 17, 2009

IMG_1774HOME, Brooklyn, NY: A flash of genius struck us tonight: sushi – harvest chives from garden, add tofu cream cheese, and pan seared asparagus (+ olive oil, salt and pepper,) and the obvious necessities – sushi rice and seaweed. It was my first time making sushi and the results were surprisingly satisfying. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to attempt it.

SORRY IF THIS IS CONFUSING, I’m still so very stoked that I was able to accomplish this so my thoughts may be a bit jumbled!! To make the rice you will need: Sushi rice, rice vinegar and sugar. Cook two cups rice, two cups water. Separetly when the rice is done, in a small sauce pan, simmer carefully two tablespoons rice vinegar, one tablespoon sugar, one teaspoon salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over the cooked rice and fold gently. A sushi mat will help, but you can manage if you don’t have one (but seriously they are like 5 bucks and will help immensely.) Lay out a sheet of seaweed and prepare a bowl of cold water to use as a sort of “watering hole” for your hands as you continue, let your digits take a dip and get a little wet before you spread a hand full of the rice out using finger tips to make sure you have a nice even layer starting in the middle all the way out to the edges (see pic below with asparagus… it will help if you moisten your prints every time…) From here it’s as easy as piling on your interior, in our case a mix of tofu, asparagus, cream cheese, garden fresh CHIVES and pre cooked asparagus. We also created variations with shiitake mushrooms and avocado. yum. Ah, also almost forgot to mention some of the aforementioned radishes were used here as well, great texture addition! Once you’ve got everything layered out nice ad pretty you roll it all up like a newspaper and use your sushi mat to make it nice and tight. With a super sharp knife (it helps if you dip it in that cold water from before)  slice away into whatever thickness you deem acceptable, keep in mind “bite sized.”

Voila, if it’s not so simple sounding to you once you get half way into it – please call me and I will be happy to come over and explain more thoroughly.  Again, I reiterate, thoroughly worth the prep time, especially if you have good company. The finished product was maybe more sushi than I have ever seen in one place and is def. way cheaper than going out. Even if maybe  it wasn’t so good looking as when you have a professional make it, it all tastes just as good in the end. Good luck!

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RAD-ISH

June 16, 2009

radish 1HOME, Brooklyn, NY: First official radish harvest on Sunday. Can you believe it? Besides the occasional curious pluck once or twice to taste the progress of my crop, I managed to harvest a whole six (6!) radishes.Don’t worry there are more on the way! This variety is the Philly White Box, from seeds purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, planted March 31st. We got most all of our seeds from this company this year, and so far so good. They are located in Mansfield, Missouri and seem like pretty solid folks. The seed catalogue is almost like reading a journal, basically an autobiography of this guy who owns the business and shares family photos and stories with every seed description. 

They look pretty good all cleaned up, and are actually pretty big (despite one with a funny shape) with a good crunch and a decent kick flavor wise. Tomorrow for lunch I will be enjoying a delish radish salad, basically fresh radishes sliced super thin with salt. Something my dad used to do when I was kid that I recently found out was a traditional German preperation, according to someone who’s spent some time there… Bon appetit, err…mahlzeit?

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HYDRA, YO

June 13, 2009

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HOME, Brooklyn, NY: My hydrangea is blooming. It was a gift from my Aunt in 2006, one of those small plastic container plants you can buy in the grocery store when the season is right. They are usually bloomed out to the max,  so super hyped on miracle grow the roots are practically bursting their bucket. Mostly, I think, people buy these and throw them away when they are done flowering. As soon as this gal was done with her pretty business that first year I transplanted her into a bigger pot. I did not have any outdoor space at this point and she slowly lost every leaf looking like a skeleton of sticks, but i held on to my hopes!

The next year I moved into a place with a bit of exterior square footage. Hydra had some how managed to sprout a single pathetic leaf, off a new sprout growing from the middle of what used to be her lushness. I sympathized how confusing it must be for a seasonal plant to have to be exclusively indoors for a year and a half. I wasn’t surprised that she wasn’t looking that great. I was surprised she was still alive. When spring rolled around I was wondering if the outdoors would be too overwhelming. I took it easy on her at first, outside just in the shade for a couple hours, until we had worked her up to full time. And she was happy, new leaves were appearing and then she was back, bigger than when I first got her. But no flowers. She was just a leafy bush that summer, not even an attempt to flower. I had been curious what color they would be, since I read about how the acidity of the soil is what determines the shade of the bloom (more alkaline will render pink, while a lower pH will render blue – however white supposedly is always white.) Well, I am not that in tune with chemistry of my soil, maybe someday when I am old and turn into some kind of crazy extreme gardener, I will give a shit. For now it seemed more exciting to leave it up to chance. She was blue when we first met and, to cut to the chase, after two years of only leaves, I am delighted to showcase her first gorgeous lavender pouf. Purple is so in right now.

first bloom 2 Also happy to report there are many more in the making, as you can see! The romantic in me thinks this view looks like a big giant heart. This is going to be a good year.