Archive | July, 2012

Harvest Mini-Party this Thursday, August 2, 6:45ish . . .

30 Jul

Dennis got an ice cream maker to support the cause of garden-inspired ice cream  (lemon balm?  basil?  lavender? suggestions?), and I was thinking we could harvest the beets to make my kids’ Brooklyn Botanic Garden camp favorite:  Chocolate Beet Cake.  Any one else with ideas is free to add an item, and all who can should join!

Chocolate Beet Cake Recipe (thanks to the BBG’s children’s programs!):

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened, divided (when we substitute cocoa, we only use 3/4 cup butter to cream with the brown sugar, and stick the last 1/4 cup in with the cocoa powder, so we use 1 cup — i.e., 2 sticks — of butter total)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar (we use 1 big cup of light brown, and that is fine and plenty sweet)
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate (we have also used cocoa powder, with each chocolate square = 3 level Tbsp cocoa and 1 Tbsp butter)
  • 2-3 cups pureed cooked beets (it’s a big bunch of beets; we steam them, and then the kids help grating them)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Melt chocolate with remaining butter; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla into the creamed mixture (mixture will appear separated). Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan (we just use a big rectangular cake pan — about 9X12). Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar.


30 Jul

Thanks to Deb, I’m all about pickling.  We tried her recipe for pickled radishes, brought them out to play area to share with friends . . . and they were gone!  And then we also tried this recipe for pickled shredded kohlrabi, which is great — Warner eats it on its own, but it’s a nice pick-me-up in any sandwich, or could be used on a burger.  I’m not a big fan of radishes or kohlrabi as a general matter, and so when we get them in our CSA, I’ve always been stumped, but NO MORE!

See — our pickled kohlrabi is almost gone! We love this stuff!

Hill Slides Are Coming to the Play Area Saturday

29 Jul

Just a heads up for those who don’t know about Saturday’s swarm build. A bunch of volunteer parents, led by Rusty Keeler of, will be installing slides and safety surfacing–and the activity may interfere with gardening for a short stretch of time (to be determined).  Bottom

line:  It won’t be quiet and serene that afternoon!

In case you want to pitch in, here are the details for volunteering:

All volunteers need certificates of insurance in order to participate in Saturday’s build.  Please try to call your insurer Monday—the paperwork is due to the CV office on Thursday and these requests typically take companies 48-hours to complete. “Maybe” volunteers should prepare these documents just in case.  No one can take part without the form.

If you haven’t done this before, please note that it is a very routine procedure and an easy request to submit.  Most insurance companies don’t charge an extra fee, and they can usually find your account without the policy number.

What to do:

1. Call your insurer (the company through which you buy your homeowners or renters insurance) and state that you need an ACORD certificate of insurance.  Ask to have the following companies added to the certificate:

-Concord Village Owners Inc 215 Adams St Brooklyn NY 11201

-AKAM 260 Madison Ave NY NY 10016

-Earthplay 182 Hart Rd 
Spencer, NY  14883

2. Request that the forms be faxed to the CV office to the attention of Frank Nieves via 718-260-9681. Alternatively, they can be emailed to Catherine Woolson at All forms should arrive by 5pm on Thursday August 2nd.

3. If possible, shoot me an email when you’ve completed your request. I’d love to be alerted so we will know what to tell the office to look out for—and when. –Denise

Carrot & Kale Harvesting

18 Jul

Kale cropProduce power!Produce Power!

Sunday evening Benji, Audrey, Warner and Sadie helped Ansley harvest the carrots.

Soil changes from July 2011 to April 2012

18 Jul

Check out how a composite soil test from our raised beds’ soil changed from July 2011 (soon after the soil was placed in the beds) with April 2012 (before we planted this season):

Some of the changes may be due to kids throwing yard soil into the the beds, and some from yard soil that underlies the potting soil placed in the beds; I wonder, though, if any is due to air and rain quality . . . I haven’t taken samples of the soil we put in the new beds this year yet.  Maybe I should do that, and compare to what I get next year . . . because those beds don’t have yard soil underlying the potting soil, and (I think) will have less yard soil thrown in by the kids.

Mid-summer planting

15 Jul

We harvested our carrots, the last of the sugar snap peas (then tore down the vines), and the kale and collards that have basically been serving as caterpillar food (though there were some good leaves left for eating!). Which left us with some space to plant. We put in more carrots where we harvested the carrots, a couple of rows of broccoli (for, if all goes well, a fall harvest), and two kinds of dill in a pot and in the window box from which we harvested the end of our red kale. For posterity’s sake, you can see pics below of what we’ve started.

UPDATE:  For those who might be wondering, the dill is in the pot and the window box along the fence under the herb pockets; we (meaning, expert helper Sadie and I) also moved the three African marigolds, which were getting huge and (my experts — a.k.a., Deb and Fred — tell me) were both shading the other plants and taking nutrients from the soil that might, ahem, be better used by the tomatoes and the eggplants.  Though those flowers are pretty cool looking, or so I think . . .

The garden in early July

4 Jul

Things are really starting to grow.  Snap peas finally blossomed and it looks like we’re going to get some peas before the heat completely overwhelms the vines, and the cucumbers are growing like mad.  At first I was worried about pollination, but lots are growing now and we’ve enjoyed several at the last two Tuesday pizza nights.  More this coming week and should be our first real crop of snap peas, too; there have a been a couple here and there, but a bunch look to be ready to harvest in the coming week.  We planted some tricolor beans we got from our Jamba Juice grant, and they’re already up.  Can’t wait to see what they look like . . .

But the real story — to me at least — of our garden in the last week has been the butterflies.  We’ve seen a ridiculous number of Red Admirals (photos below); they come by 10s and 20s in the late afternoon to our garden and adjacent butterfly bushes.  Warner and I saw the amazing Tiger Swallowtail over the weekend, but were without a camera to prove it; I saw a Question Mark the same evening (the hindwings of the one I saw weren’t quite as dark as in the linked picture).  And yesterday we saw what we’re pretty sure were Monarchs.

It’s quite something out there . . .

%d bloggers like this: