Tomato Update.

Willie has been keeping a keen eye on the tomato plants.  We're almost 2 months in, and they are doing great.  The Yellow Pineapples are about 10 inches tall, and the Brandywine are bushy and full.  I can't wait until I can get them into the ground, and they can really take off!

When being snobby is encouraged.

GMO's are creepy.  We can probably all agree on that.
Organic is better, local is good, etc etc.  So, in an effort to live pure home-steady lives we plant victory gardens.  We compost, avoid pesticides, and feel quite proud at the constant and surprising growth.  But think about the plants you are bringing into your garden too.  Did you get them from the huge hardware superstore?  Did you know they are probably a GMO version of the vegetables we used to know?  So, what's the alternative?  
Seeds.  Heirloom seeds.
Starting from seed isn't as hard as it sounds.  You can remember to feed yourself everyday, right?  You don't let yourself bake in the sun, or get dehydrated.  Think of the potential of the seeds- they will become productive plants, feeding you and your family- an extension of yourself.  That helps me remember to care for them.  You will be vested in your garden- not just babysitting.

Here are some of my favorite sources for heirloom seeds.

The Gettle family practices what they preach (and sell).  I feel in love in their Petaluma seed bank, and have spent countless hours reading their catalogs.  Corny, I know.  But they have fruits & veggies that are rare, beautiful and tasty as hell.  They also stock some pretty amazing books too.  Recently they purchased Comstock, Ferre & Company, the oldest continuously operating seed company in New England.  Comstock offers free shipping on all of their seeds, but the Baker Creek collection is larger and more diverse.

http://www.seedsavers.org/Since 1975, SSE has been doing what they can to get the word out, and grow an extensive library of heirloom seeds.  Funded by memberships, they offer seeds, and free literature on how to save your own seeds.  If you're anywhere near Iowa, you an visit their information center, farm, and plant sales.  Despite all of the recent drama, I'm on board with SSE. 


Because cute matters.

 These were made by separating the dough in 2, dying one blue.  then i rolled out a log shape of each.  After being in the freezer enough to firm up, the logs were cut down the middle, length wise.  A half of each makes a 2-colored log, which is pressed together & refroze.  Once firm, slice &bake.
I split my sugar cookie dough into 3 equal parts.  In a deep dish lined with parchment paper, I flattened the dough in layers.  A hour in the fridge helped it firm up so it was easier to work with.  I ended up rolling it out a little to keep the cookie thin.
Blue & white cupcakes, w/ sugar detail.


Gardening for community.

I've learned a lot in my garden.
I've found out the hard way that mint doesn't believe in boundaries. Potatoes in the compost pile can lead to more potatoes. And that cilantro behaves not unlike Goldilocks.
I've also learned alot about myself.  
I enjoy planting seeds. I love all of the fussing and waiting, watching, and listening.  I can forget about a pepper, and let it go from ripe to rot without even noticing the poor thing.  And that I can make it work, usually with what I have, what I can borrow, or what I can find in an alley.  I guess that last bit is a family trait. My dad once found a fern, strung it up, and has had it longer than he has had me as a daughter.  My sister can find a treasure anywhere, for pennies or peanuts.
And I've learned about others.  
Who good friends are- they'll be there to water when I'm not, and let me tell them about every plant's needs.  I've shared heirloom tomatoes with chefs that I know will make them into a creative meal, teaching me more about their potential that I even realized. I've watched my husband make friends with neighbors by sharing my seedlings- like a peace offering of sorts.
"Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships."
-  Beverly Rose Hopper  
Watching the simple act of gardening unfold and expand into a sense of community is exciting.  You may not be able to keep a garden full of carrots or melons year round, but the experiences that come with the trials, errors, epiphanies and questions are beyond rewarding.  Knowing that the flowers you planted bring bees to your neighbor's yard to pollinate is quite satisfying.  Think about it- you can't really garden alone.  What you plant and how you care for it affects your environment, mood and neighbors.

"A garden is a public service and having one a public duty.  It is a man's contribution to the community."
-  Richardson Wright, Truly Rural, 1922 

Even if you only have a single pot of rosemary, I bet someone close to you doesn't.
"You don't have a garden just for yourself.  You have it to share."
-  Augusta Carter


Progress Report, Zucchini.

Day 13
They're taking off!


"First we eat, then we do everything else."
-MFK Fisher


edible flowers are awesome.

The perks of working with a farmcentric chef?  Trying pineapple guava flowers on a Wednesday morning.
It's sweet and delicate petals almost melt away, leaving hints of honey and summer days on your tongue.  The rest of the flower isn't edible, but showy none the less.


Another friendly reminder.

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."
-John Lennon
(In my best Lennon voice....)  Lovely quote eh, but how does that relate to food, or gardens really?

Que The Clash:
Consider it a friendly reminder to stay aware, be involved, and use your voice.  Our freedoms are defined by people who not only might not agree with us, but don't always have our best interests in mind.  How, where, and what we eat is on the agenda.  Don't let it define you.  
You can grow true food- without science and chemicals. You can eat it simple as the all powerful nature provides it.  
.....know your rights.....
And when they decide it's wrong, tell them where they can shove it.


I heart bees!

I found this little bee on my foot when I was gardening the other day.  He was just holding on, checking things out.  I gave a little shake and he wasn't going to budge, so I used a paper to slide him over to the flowerbed.  
It made me happy to see him, even though my first instinct is to panic.  
Bee stings are a bitch, I know from experience.  
But after reading so much about colony collapse, I was proud to see him hanging about.  Maybe one day I will make the leap to backyard beekeeping, but for now, growing their favorite flowers and keep pesticides out of the picture is a start.  

Read more on the decline of the ever important honey bee, and what you can do to help, from PBS and Science Daily.