Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

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

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

Kitchen Cures For Climate Change

Print PDFSeeking Higher Ground! Helping Our Planet Plate By Plate It’s getting more obvious each year that climate change is occurring faster than many people hoped. If of us are in a position to actively change the world, we can … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Filling A Tiny Garden

Though the old wood fence is sagging and rotting, I love the weathered look. Indeed, I’m considering lifting the panels off the ground and hanging them in sturdy frames like artwork, so they help screen our space from the neighbors but aren’t rotting from soil contact. One section is already gone; when I was discussing ideas with my clever house contractor (the uncle of my long-time garden guy), my neighbor popped her head over the fence and said her elderly mother loved to grow tomatoes but this section of fence blocked her light. In response, Jorge simply lifted the 8-foot panel away. Poof! We’ll replace that section with stockade wire and build out a bed to hold my three-way espalier apple tree, which I’ll train on the wire. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Drainage, Garden Design, Health & Wellbeing, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments