Some Stuff N' Stuff

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


Lettuce is in

Lettuce is in, as well as garlic scapes. Time to make salad and give lots away:)
Gave my brother the radish which he seemed to enjoy. Lettuce has been to Karen's, mom's and my own fridge thus far. I really like the mix of green lettuces I got this year, except I might get one without arugula in it (and just get a packet of arugula separate from the other greens). It seems the arugula grows taller and grabs all the sun away from the smaller red and green lettuces. The mix is tasty, but I need a little more greens and reds to go with the spicy arugula.

The beans are growing nicely, the onions are getting plumper and the garlic is looking a little better, though not nearly as strong looking as last year.

The tomatoes are looking small and a bit weak, and something ate the tops off them a little while ago (birds?). The taxi tomato is looking great however, which was the biggest of them all before getting planted. Mainly it's the Romas that are looking kinda sad and tiny... hopefully they'll perk up in warmer weather.

The 2 basils and hot pepper are doing well. I plucked a few flowers off the pepper to see if the plant would grow bigger first, then get to the flowering. And the cukes are off to a great start...

Lettuce Bed


Lettuce Flowers

Tomato plants

Giant Radish & Garlic scapes

Dill Flowers

Bean Flowers


Garden so far


Pre-Memorial Day Planting!

Yes it's true. Against my own advice I've planted all my warm weather crops before the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day Weekend. I purchased all my seedlings at Mahoney's this year:

- 6 pack of Roma Tomatoes
- 6 pack of Sweet Cherry 100s
- 1 Thai Dragon Hot peppers (NEW)
- 1 Thai Basil
- 1 Sweet Basil
- 1 Taxi Tomato (YAY)
- 3 pack of Cucumbers

Today is hot and sunny, about 90˚F. I went gardening around 3pm and the sweat was dripping off my nose the whole time as I dug, hoed and planted. I took advantage of the hose and cooled down a number of times and drank from it. A few teenagers had a better idea and cooled off in the spray fountain across the street in the kiddie park. I have to remember that's there the next time I need a full body cooldown.

The lettuce is looking great, and the beans have all sprouted and are growing big leaves. The onions look a little thirsty, so I watered everything. I even have a surprise radish or two that wandered over from my neighbor's plot. They got a few of my wandering dill, so the free exchange is complete.


A whole new year

Seed Packets

From Pemberton:
- 1 Burpee "Garden Beans" Stringless Green Pod (seeds)
- 1 Burpee "Mesclun" Salad Mix (seeds)
- 6 Yellow Onions (seedlings)
- 6 Red Onions (seedlings)

From WF (2009):

- 1 SOC "Mesclun Salad Mix" (seeds)

Garden time beckons with warmer weather, rain showers and the occasional frost warning:) I took advantage of the warm weather 2 Fridays ago to plant lettuce and bean seeds, as well as yellow and red onion seedlings in the garden. After planting, I topped it all off with compost that was recently dumped at the end of Osgood St for the gardeners. The water had been turned on recently on so they all got a nice bath.

The garlic I planted last fall was sprouting in a range of degrees, from heathly and strong to weak and meak, to not there at all. Laura and I bought 3 or 4 different kinds of garlic, all of which escape me now. Thankfully I planted plenty of bulbs, so I should have about 12or so plants to harvest this July/early Aug. I met a bunch of nice neighbors passing by and one fellow gardener while I was there.

Garlic a-growin

Wild lettuce & dill growing (I got rid of most of this)

At home, I planted some Kentucky mint in a bowl on the newly rebuilt porch. I'll be back soon to see how things are progressing!

Garden watered


Up to my eyeballs in tomatoes

Part of the harvest

Well, I guess I asked for it. After years of "not getting enough" tomatoes, I planted a few Romas and Early Girls and viola - I have way too many damn tomatoes... and I love it. Last week I picked over 50 tomatoes, not including cherries. This week I must have picked at least 50, plus 2 pints of cherries.

Two-toned, two-lobed freak

I slaved away in the kitchen tonight making chilled tomato and red pepper soup, fresh garden salsa and a pasta salad with cherry tomatoes. I have tons more to freeze or do something with before I head up to Maine for the week. The pic above is the leftover tomatoes I haven't cooked yet, not including the ones in the freezer.

I also had a modest harvest of 3 small squash and a couple large handfuls of green beans (the second coming). There are still purple flowers on the beans, and the basil flowers are still attracting tons of bumble and honey bees. There are a few onions left in the ground, and the cucumbers are pretty much done. Time to plant some new lettuce and another crop of green onions.


Chilled Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

Ripe summer tomatoes are perfect just as they are. Simply chop them up, mix with jarred peppers and a few other ingredients, and you've got dinner. For a vegetarian supper, round out the meal with an assortment of cheeses and crackers. Craving something a little more substantial? A platter of smoked salmon, relishes, and breadsticks would be great with the soup. For dessert, offer figs drizzled with honey

• 2 1/4 cups tomato juice
• 1 1/3 cups finely chopped tomatoes (about 2-3 tomatoes)
• 1/2 cup (generous) finely chopped roasted red bell peppers from jar
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
• 1 garlic clove, pressed
• Generous dash of hot pepper sauce
• Fine sea salt
• 4 1/3-inch-thick rounds soft fresh goat cheese
• 6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
• Additional extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

• Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. Season soup to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors blend, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

• Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Top each with 1 goat cheese round.


Fresh Garden Salsa

• 10 tomatoes (plum), halved and seeded
• 1/2 medium red onion, minced to 1/2 cup
• 1 jalepeno pepper, minced
• 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
• 4 tbsp lime juice
• salt
• tortilla chips

- Chop tomotes into 1/4 inch pieces, transfer to bowl
- Add onion, chili, garlic, cilantro and lime
- Season with salt, mix to combine
- Let stand for 15 minutes


Tomato Pasta Salad

• 1 box farfalle pasta, cooked
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 jar of artichoke hearts, plus 1/3 cup of the liquid
• 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
• 1/2 cup sliced basil
• 1 tsp red wine vinegar
• 1/2 block of feta cheese (fresh)
• 2 green onions, chopped
• s&p

- Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well together.


Vacation return harvest

Finally, a year I come home from vacation and I actually have tomatoes... maybe this delayed rainy start isn't all that bad? (actually the squash plant might have some sort of fungus - some of the squashes are dying and the plant has powdery splotches on a few leaves). Otherwise, the plant is ginormous, taking over the sidewalk and still fruiting.


Monster squash plants eats the sidewalk

The cucumbers are still plentiful, though small and fat... almost stunted. The romas are doing great, as are the cherries. I even got two Brandywine and an Early Girl, which oddly, are the least mature.

Garden view


Cherry plant

The lemongrass grew about a foot since I left, the basils are big and the onions are starting to sprout flowers so I better use them up soon. The green beans are flowering again, I wonder if I'll get more?

Lemongrass and basils

Bee on the basil


Summer is IN

The squash takes over

The garden is finally happy & productive.

The tomatoes are coming along though still very green, I picked 2 cucumbers, lots of green beans, and checked in on the squash plant, which is huge. Lots of baby squash are growing, nothing quite ready for picking. I also grabbed a red onion.

Slugs persist

Baby squash

The yellow onions are getting big and are starting to crown, not sure if they're supposed to do that when ready or what. I cover them up with soil when I see that, though it may be time to pluck them out more often, it's been about 90 days now.



The dill seeds are starting to turn brown, though most are still green and almost 5 ft tall. The basils are doing well, should pick more of that soon. The lemongrass is much happier with the heat.

I think the aphids are finally gone, though their damage lurks. I plucked many of the effected leaves, leaving spindly Early Girl plants (though the new growth looks promising). The tomatoes will be very late this year, hopefully I'll be home to enjoy them before my Labor day vaca.

Cucumber flowers

I've been making a shrimp green bean curry to use the beans, as well as a squash casserole with garden squash, onions, garlic, beans (as well as peppers and last year's garden tomatoes which are frozen). I also made a fabulous chilled cucumber soup with dill and lemon juice.

Green romas

Green brandywines

Cucumber Mint Soup
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
* 3 cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
* 1 clove garlic
* 1 cup plain yogurt
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup water
* 4 scallions, diced
* 1 cup fresh mint leaves
* 1/4 cup fresh dill
* Salt and pepper

1. Blend cucumber, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, and water in a blender, puree until smooth.
2. Add scallions, dill and mint leaves and puree briefly. Season with salt and pepper, and add more lemon juice if a tarter flavor is desired.
3. Chill until ready to serve (2 hours).

Today's collection

Garden view (camera lens not wide enough)


Holy squash

Overflowing plate

I visited the garden on a lark and discovered I haven't gotten rid of the aphids, and the squash plant was planning on taking over Osgood Too. I was able to reverse the squash's evil plans, but the aphids carry on destroying the weak links of my tomato plants (the romas & cherries look like they'll hold their own).

First big garden bounty

I peeked under the squash plant during the tense negotiations and found what appeared to be a giant yellow submarine, but no, it was just an hugely-grotesque summer squash fruit. Yikes! I twisted it off the vine and picked another large squash, and left a little baby one to get a bigger & meaner. I guess I know what I'll be grilling for lunch tomorrow.

From the land of the giants...

I was happy to find lots of healthy and tasty green beans. They are hard to pick off, but worth the effort. The basil is enjoying the heat, and the cherry plant is flowering like crazy. I have one cucumber under all those vines, but I left it to get a little bit bigger. I picked a few red onions though it seemed early, but the tops were down and I didn't want them to rot. The yellow onions look like they'll be huge come harvest time. The garlic is all picked and cured. I hope to roast that along with the onions and yellow submarine. The ˘ is very tall, and just starting to form green seeds. It looks lovely as it sways in the breeze.

Serious squash slices for roasted veg casserole