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Thinking ahead (plant spray)

29 Feb

Came across this recently. The person who posted it says she’s used it to great effect:

Once your seedlings are up with 2 to 4 leaves, give them the royal treatment ASAP!

Mix together: 1 aspirin + 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap per gallon of water. Add 1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.

The soap makes it stick. Aspirin triggers a defense response and stimulates growth. Nonfat powdered milk is a natural germicide and boosts the immune system. Baking soda makes the leaves alkaline and inhibits fungal spores – that’s MILDEW, the nemesis of beans (and a big problem for us).

Use weekly on your young bean plants, all your cucurbits – cukes, zuchs – any mildew prone plant. Use a watering can that has a rose (nozzle) that turns upward to get the undersides of leaves as well as their tops.


Plant Markers

17 Jun

Plant Markers

We’ve begun to put in plant markers identifying the various vegetables and flowers growing in and around the garden. Watch for more in the days to come.

Test yourself: How many plants can you identify without looking at the tags?

Lettuce gone wild!

31 May

imageReady to harvest, again and again. Enjoy it now. Harvest the large outer leaves or the whole plant (pinch or cut off at the base so you don’t uproot anything else). The large arugula leaves are really peppery, great with a Dijon vinaigrette.


Thank-you Thuha…

31 May

image…and Benji, Josh, and Gabriel for creating the little planting along the Jay Street fence. FOG (Friend of the Garden) Thuha gave us some irises from her “country” home, and Benji, Josh, and Gabriel helped with digging, lifting, supervising, and keeping a sharp eye out for worms. Last fall’s efforts have paid off in happy blooming irises and some plant that we can only remember is a perennial. I added a penstemon today to replace the bamboo that didn’t make it through our harsh winter.
Enjoy the color!



27 Apr


The felt plant pockets hung along the fence contain petunias which we hope will take hold and provide us with a welcome splash of color all summer long.

Please dead-head them as needed (that means pull off the dead flowers and not something out of a zombie movie) and water if they’re dry. The felt pockets are in full sun and dry out quickly so they’ll most likely need daily watering.

To water: soak the soil inside the pocket until water runs out the bottom, then wet the outside of the pocket, too.

The petunias thank you.



5 Jul


cilantro (Ana) and Oriental eggplant (Kaiya) seedlings getting strong enough for transplant



5 Jul


cilantro and eggplant seedlings getting strong enough for transplant


new additions

5 Jul

new additions

Herbs hanging in the felt plant pockets along the fence are now well-established (except for the ailing thyme) and open for picking as desired. All are labelled. Try the Greek basil – spicy! Please be considerate and don’t harvest so much that they’re not available to others or that the plants are damaged beyond recovery. (Thank-you, Dylan, for helping hang the pockets.)

Thanks to Ana and Kaiya we have cilantro and Oriental eggplant seedlings that will soon be ready to transplant. We should have eggplants ready to harvest in August and probably through October.


DIY planters

24 Jan

DIY planters

Hypertufa planters: a good excuse to play in “mud?”

The Tart

3 Oct

Eggplants, tomatoes, chard and herbs from our garden

I’ve been bugged for this recipe, so I’m posting. The tart is more or less from the Once Upon a Tart Cookbook. The crust is per their instructions (I’ve never come across a better crust) and the tart is a free extrapolation on a number of their vegetable tarts.

The recipe below is for one 9″ tart. I use an 11″ pan, which uses 3/4 of the dough.

Enjoy! – Deb


Savory Tart Crust (makes 2 – 9″ tarts):

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons semolina flour (I use cake flour. You can use all regular flour, but this gives it a nice crunch.)

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut up

3 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening (Yes, this is Crisco, but there are trans-fat free alternatives available.)

glass of ice water

9″ tart pan with removable bottom.

1. Position oven racks so that one is in the center and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse a couple of times just to integrate the flours and salt.

3. Add the butter and shortening all at once and pulse quite a few times, until the mixture forms little balls, like moist crumbs, and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. You have to pulse, not run, the food processor. The worst thing that can happen at this stage of the crust-making game is for the flours and fats to come together into a paste.

4. Remove the blade from the food processor and dump the dough crumbs into a big bowl. Fill a tablespoon with ice water and sprinkle over the surface of the dough. Repeat with 3 more tablespoons.

5. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to bring the dough together into a ball, adding more water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough should be just past crumbly, but holding together. You don’t want it to be so wet that it sticks together or turns white in color.

6. Cut the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Press each half with the palm of your hand to form a disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

7. Roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/4 inch thick. Fit it into your tart pan and chill for 30 minutes. Then use the tines of a fork to prick holes over the bottom of the tart. Line the dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans.

8. Place the tart shell on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights from the pan. Return it to the oven, and bake until the crust is golden brown and toasted all over, 5-10 more minutes for a par-baked tart shell. For a fully baked tart shell, bake for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until it’s golden brown all over.

9. Remove the tart shell from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Can be prepared a day in advance. Cover and keep at room temperature.

Note: Using a food processor makes for a better dough because you can work quickly to prevent the butter from melting down. Liquified butter is your enemy here. You can make the dough by hand in the traditional way, cutting in the butter and fat with a pastry blender or two knives. Just make sure to work quickly and cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes before adding: the smaller, the better, without causing a meltdown.



cheese/herbs/spread to coat bottom of crust

vegetables of choice

2 large eggs

1/4 cup cream


freshly ground pepper

1. Roast (or not) any vegetables desired: mix with a bit of olive oil and bake at 400-450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Tomatoes should be sliced or chopped and drained.

2. Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

3. Spread the tart shell with some Parmesan cheese mixed with chopped basil, pesto, mustard, other herbs and a bit of cheese…use your imagination. Olivada or artichoke spread are very nice. You’ll need about 1/4 cup altogether.

4. Lay the vegetables in the crust in an attractive pattern, making sure the crust is covered entirely.

5. Whisk 2 large eggs in a small bowl or a large measuring cup to break up the egg yolks. Whisk in 1/4 cup cream,  some salt, and pepper. This is your custard. Pour the custard evenly over the vegetables until it comes to about 1/4 inch from the top edge of the crust. (If you have extra, don’t worry about it; if you don’t have enough, pour a little cream on top.)

6. Place the tart on the center rack in the oven, and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the custard is set. Set custard won’t jiggle when you shake the pan and will be firm when you touch it. (The custard will also be hot, so touch it lightly.) Tomatoes in the tart may give off a lot of liquid; don’t confuse this with uncooked eggs and accidentally overcook your tart. The liquid will evaporate as the tart cools.

7. Remove the tart from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Allow the tart to cool slightly.

8. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can. Make sure the tart is steady and balanced. Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart. Then place the tart on your work surface, and slide it off the bottom of the pan and onto a rimless serving dish or a cutting board. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes one 9-inch tart.

Note: for our garden tart I used basil and Parmesan on the bottom, one Japanese eggplant, some roasted tomatoes (which turned into sauce), and Swiss chard cut into 1/4″ strips. Yum.

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