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September 2nd, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

My two pumpkins were beautiful. They were bright orange, plump, and healthy. Until one day when I went to my community garden plot to find that they had disappeared! I called my friend and co-gardener to see if she had harvested them (a little too early, but I would have understood her eagerness), and she hadn’t touched them. I just stood there, dumbfounded, trying to figure out what kind of person steals pumpkins from a community garden? I have faith that it wasn’t one of my co-gardeners, they all have plenty of produce and are perfectly nice people. The problem is that my plot is the closest to the garden entrance, and there’s a walking/running path that goes right along that side. So alas, it must have been one of the runners. This is how I see it going down:

Healthy person running by the garden, “Ooh, what pretty pumpkins” looks around “well, there isn’t anyone here” tip toes into the garden “no one will notice if I just take a couple of pumpkins” snatches them up “it’s not like someone planted them four months ago and have been slaving away to water them and keep them healthy” leaves with her newfound pumpkins

So even though I won’t have pumpkins seeds, or be able to carve my very own jack-o-lantern, I hope that woman at least gets some joy out of my precious little pumpkins. Or chokes on the seeds. Either works for me.

I will at least have sunflower seeds to harvest

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August 11th, 2010

Get by with a little help from my friends…

I walked into my garden the other night to find the my green bean plants, which are getting a late start due to their transplant, had outgrown their stakes. The only problem? They had latched on to their next door neighbors, my sunflowers, as their new post. I asked around and discovered that the beans won’t hurt the sunflower, so I’m just going to chalk it up to nature finding it’s own way. Now I’ll just wait for the sunflowers to bloom.

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August 9th, 2010

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

These are mashed potatoes with a twist (a yummy, fresh, and healthy twist) – instead of butter I use pesto. My garden is absolutely bursting basil right now, and this is just another way to use my favorite herb before it’s gone. The recipe below is just how I like to make it (with a lot of pesto) but the beauty of it is that you can play around with portions and ingredients to suit what you like. I’ll take you through my process, the full recipe is at the end.

I start with fresh basil from my little garden

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And make some pesto

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Then I take about a cup and a half of red potatoes and boil them until they are soft

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I blend the drained potatoes (skin on) with about 2 tablespoons of pesto and a splash of milk

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and voilà! Pesto mashed potatoes

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I’m getting hungry all over again.

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups red potatoes (but any type will work)

2 tablespoons pesto (I use the organicgardening.com recipe)

Splash of milk

Directions

Slice potatoes into quarters and boil until soft and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Then drain and add potatoes to blender or food processor with pesto. Pulse for about 30  seconds, then add milk. Blend until desire consistency is reached, periodically stirring the potatoes for an even blend. Add pesto and salt to taste. Enjoy!

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July 30th, 2010

Weeds

Weeds are a problem that, I feel, comes up often with organic gardening. They are unpleasant and can sometimes (but not always) be harmful to a plant. But an unexpected problem came up this summer that I was too embarrassed to ask for advice on: when my plants were just starting to grow, I wasn’t sure what was my plant and what was a weed. Experienced gardeners may laugh, but the average grocery shopper probably doesn’t even know what a zucchini plant look like, let alone what its little sprout looks like. So Mimi and I took the path of least resistance – we just let everything grow. Until one day, we realized we were raising a weed farm.

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Somewhere in there are sad little carrot plants crying for help. We helped them, eventually, but not without a few baby carrot fatalities. Still, it’s better than eating Raid-marinated veggies.

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July 23rd, 2010

Garden Envy

So I took my boyfriend up to see the garden that my friend Mimi and I have been slaving away joyfully working on all summer. His response? “Wow, that one looks really good.” The problem is that “that one” was not our one, it was the one next to ours that has been putting our little garden to shame. When I started to pout, he informed me that ours was very nice too, but it wasn’t nearly as impressive as the ones (many of our neighbors have hanging gardens of babylon-esque plots, especially in comparison with ours) that surrounded us. I explained that we started a month later than everyone else, that we had jobs and lives outside of our garden, but it was no use. He had simply spoken what I’ve known all summer, that we were the sad little runts in a litter of huskies.

I wonder if garden envy is a common emotion for community gardeners. After all, there are direct comparisons surrounding everything you do. They have the same soil, the same size, everything. Do any of you experience this?

And now, a picture of my little garden. I was going to post its neighbors for comparison, but there has been enough of that already.

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Man, I can’t even catch a break from my own garden…

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