I COULDN’T RESIST the soft polenta on the menu one recent cold night at a local restaurant—creamy-style, and laced with cheese. With that warming, cozy meal’s memory in mind, I bought a pound of organic cornmeal for the pantry the next day, imagining simple, filling suppers-to-be. Apparently I’m now officially on a cornmeal bender, from soupy-style farinata with greens and garlic, to crispy cakes for supper, and even biscotti laced with coconut for dessert. A batch of polenta “fries” is coming up next. Things could be worse. [read more…]
Planting a vegetable garden, or growing herbs, fruits and berries? One of my great pleasures is growing a portion of my own food. I eat the harvest fresh in season, of course, and freeze or can or otherwise store things for the winter, bringing the color and flavor of the summer garden to the offseason table.
‘WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES,’ public-TV host Joe Lamp’l of “Growing a Greener World” said this week when we chatted on my radio show. Oh, isn’t that the truth. Thankfully the misstep Joe revealed—how he fell prey to “killer compost” that contained persistent herbicides—was offset by a look at the most enviable of vegetable-garden designs. How to build the ultimate raised-bed garden (wait until you see Joe’s new layout!) and how to avoid inadvertently bringing in compost or compost ingredients that can do more harm than good. A hint: Animal manures can be tricky business. [read more…]
HAIL HAMMERED MY GARDEN in late May, and among the casualties: much of my garlic crop. Yes, even the narrow, strappy leaves of my favorite Allium were slashed to ribbons, with many plants hit squarely and decapitated altogether. About half of my 75 ‘German Extra Hardy’ plants failed to make the big, fat bulbs I have been growing for more than a decade. While I gradually build my stock back up, the loss presents an opportunity to try new varieties, both of which I’m planting this week, like this: [read more…]
HOW CAN EVERY LAST SCRAP of goodness we’re all gathering during garden cleanup be put to optimal use? I asked Lee Reich, who joined me on this week’s radio show, to share strategic soil-improving, weed-thwarting, and future harvest-enhancing steps you can take now, as you put the garden to bed. Learn to compost smarter, prep your soil easily—and maybe win one of Lee’s books, too. That’s Lee with his trusty scythe, above, which doesn’t figure into composting but into how he cuts his meadow-like fields. Impressive, and mesmerizing! A couple of his great how-to videos on composting and soil prep are on the jump page, along with links to the audio of our conversation. [read more…]