Category Archives: Annual Color

Harvesting & Healthy Soil

When both pantry and freezer fill up, it’s time to make soup! Make enough to share and sit down with younger folks who just might want to learn a little more about growing and cooking.

Tuscan Bean Soup With Black Kale

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 organic lemon, juiced, rind grated
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bulb fennel with greens, chopped
2 sweet carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups cooked white cannellini beans (or any kind)
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch Black Tuscan kale, cut in ribbons

In a soup pot, combine oil, fennel seed, half the garlic, the lemon rind, pepper flakes, onion, fennel (reserve 1/4 cup chopped greens), and carrots, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium high heat until barely soft (8-10 minutes). Add beans and broth, bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Puree in small batches with remaining garlic and return to pan. Add kale and pepper, cover pan and cook until barely wilted (2-3 minutes). Stir in lemon juice to taste and serve hot, garnished with fennel greens. Serves 4.

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Posted in Annual Color, fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Planting & Transplanting, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Plants That Feel Like Home

Print PDFPlanting must harmonize with neighbor’s cars and backdrop shrubs, of course. Comfort And Joy Whenever we move to a new home, there’s always a period of adjustment as dreamy ideas start to mesh with reality. When I first realized … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Garden Design, Hardy Herbs, Planting & Transplanting, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Singing With the Bees

As I thinned the vigorous stems, I found tomatoes ripening on every plant. As always, I interplanted annuals and a few perennials with my edibles and am happy to see them alive with bees and other pollinators. While tomatoes are self-fertile and pollinated mainly by wind or vibration, it turns out that fruit set is greatly increased by the presence of certain bees, who vibrate their wings to the tone of middle C. In this case, the beneficial bees are not European honeybees but native bumbles and mud bees as well as various other native pollinators. To encourage the bees, I’m planting lots of annuals, and to encourage great tomato set, I’m humming favorite songs. Fortunately, the key of C is nearly universal; you can sing almost anything in C, as lots of folk songs demonstrate. Can’t sing? Use a middle C tuning fork to help tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and blueberries shed way more pollen by vibration, aka buzz pollination. Isn’t that so amazingly marvelous? Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Care & Feeding, Early Crops, Grafted Plants, Pollinators, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sneezing Through Super Pollen Events

Though few gardening references include information about how much pollen a particular plant sheds, a book called Allergy-Free Gardening by Thomas Leo Ogren is a reliable resource. In it (and on his website) Ogren offers both plant lists and strategies for pollen avoidance. For starters, most heavy pollen shedders are male. Thus, we can seek out shrubs and perennials with big, showy, scentless or lightly scented blossoms. These tend to be female and/or pollinated by critters rather than wind. Pollen-rich, wind-pollinated flowers (candidates for allergy triggers) tend to be small and less vividly colorful, so eye-catching showboats are safer bets. So are bird-friendly plants, which are generally pollinated by nectar-seeking birds. If your allergies are acute, pick sterile hybrids of any kind, from ornamentals to annuals, since they don’t produce pollen at all. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Tomatoes, Weed Control | Tagged , | 1 Comment