Some Stuff N' Stuff

Mostly a garden blog, and the occasional garden-inspired recipe.


Aphids, oh my!

Garlic harvest

The garden:
After being absent during the 2 week rain deluge I came back to discover a blossoming garden of aphids! They're all over the tomatoes, squash, and even the cucumbers. Some plants seemed more effected than others, but I'll be sure to spray them down with a soapy mixture to keep them off (apparently they dislike nasturtiums and mint).

I didn't notice the aphids at first glance, and picked 3 of the garlic heads that seemed ready to go. I also clipped the tall scapes that grow out of the garlic plants. I picked some lettuce and weeded that area again. It's suddenly being taken over by the giant summer squash plant, which I didn't put there. I don't mind it, I just don't really eat squash... at least not until this year.

The dill is starting to bloom, the cilantro is toast, and the basils are doing well. The lemongrass is toughing out the wet and relatively cool weather. The beans are seem to be enjoying the rain, are getting taller and are just about to sprout little baby beans.

The neighbor's garden is getting funkier by the visit. Mop handles, coat racks, metal curtain rods... you are not safe from becoming a part of Osgood Too! The choices seem to be working out nicely for the gardener.

Neighbor's garden

The porch:
Today I ate one delicious strawberry, and had to throw 2 away due to mold (darn rain). The scallions are doing well in the bowl, growing to 12" in height. They are not particularly thick, but the bulbs aren't round like years past so that's a plus!

Upon returning home, I whipped up an garlic scape pesto which was delicious, except I couldn't eat most of it since I can't chew cud. I should have cut the garlic scapes sooner, as they were too tough to eat, even where pureed (I think some cows would have enjoyed them):

Garlic Scape Pesto
Serves Two

1/2 lb fresh garlic scapes
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large pinch of salt
black pepper
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tbsp oil
lemon juice to taste

- Chop the scapes into 1 inch long pieces.
- Add 2 tbsp oil to a heated pan and add the scapes.
- Add salt, pepper, and pine nuts and saute for a few minutes over medium high heat until the scapes begin to soften and the nuts turn golden brown.
- Add immediately to the work bowl of a food processor and add remaining 2 tbsp oil.
- Blend well until a smooth paste forms.
- Add more salt or some lemon juice to taste. This will coat 1/2 lb of pasta.


Eversweet Strawberries

Berries & granola from last week

The porch:
Yes, I grew those suckers in 7 weeks on my porch from seedlings. I love them 'cause they're huge, are the most delicious strawberries I've tasted and it took very little effort on my part. (Thank you heavy rains and cool weather.)


Gardener of the month - Jen!

East Berkley Gardens entrance

The garden:
I visited my friend Jen's garden plot at East Berkley Gardens in the South End of Boston this past Sunday. I've never taken a close look at these urban gardens, so it was a pleasure to take walk around, view individual plots, and get to know it better.

Jen had a plot in the C row, abutting the public alley. This was her first full season gardening at the plot, which is about 10ft x 12ft, a bit bigger than my own. Hose outlets were spaced throughout the rows, and some recent improvements (with help from City Year) include wider access paths and new perimeter fencing.

Morning watering

As Jen and I entered her gated plot, I noticed she had an abundance of arugula, lettuce and radishes ready to harvest, as well as newly planted basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and spinach. Also growing were mint, peas, squash and marigolds. Her husband David had made raised beds, which helped to organize the garden nicely. She talked about making slanted arbors for cucumber vines and for growing lettuce under them - nice idea!

Jen in garden

Many of the plots in East Berkley Garden are used by Chinese residents from nearby Chinatown and the South End. These plots tend to have horizontal arbors created with a variety of found materials so their bitter melons have a place to grow and hang. Wire refrigerator shelving, old fencing, rice sacks, wood planks, broom handles and the like are pieced together to create several fascinating rows of squatter-like housing through the block, which used to be a row of dilapidated townhouses back in the 1960s. That morning, many Chinese women and men were out watering their gardens, harvesting spring crops and planting new seedlings for summer.

Cage-like garden plot

Some of the gardeners don't grow vegetables at all, but instead used the small spaces as a city oasis; growing flowers, grass and adding chairs and tables to relax in. These were some of my favorite plots, though many of the vegetable gardens with a cage-like feel were interesting to peek into to see what was growing behind all the material.

Quiet oasis