Monday, October 23, 2006

South Bronx "Nardening"

Tonight I crept out into the yard to enjoy the "starlight" of Manhattan glowing on the horizon and check on the garlic and tulip bulbs. Unlike in Westchester, where deer and squirrels love to dig up and nosh on these bulb-treats, ours seem to turn up their little button noses in favor of garbage.

It was time for a little nardening (night gardening). I laid out more dead leaves in the compost to encourage decomposition. Mmm, the stink! Then I readjusted the cat/rat guards in the raised beds. Finally, I thought about our little yard.

For me, Growing Chefs has long meant the nurturing of habits that carry outside the classroom: good eatin' and good livin'. Tonight, in my yard, I watched the tree branches poking out of the abandoned car in the yard next door blow back and forth in the wind before the rainstorm. Even the weeds waved prettily. It's not the best of yards by landscaping standards, but I love it, and I love that it reminds me, when I'm cooking up kale and garlic for dinner, of their roots. Besides herbs and the wee salad of a month ago, my yard hasn't yielded much of a harvest, but living on a block with no trees, it's a great escape to The Great Outdoors--or at least, Great Dirt.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Salad's served!

Aw, how cute! The salad seeds that the squirrels, cats and other critters haven't dug up is coming up in adorable style! Note the lovely purplish hues of the baby mustard. For whatever reason, note the obstinent lack of anthocyanin pigmentation of our one tree. Hmm. If it doesn't change color within the month, I'm going to slip some red slips of tissue into the boughs and call it even.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Farm Weekend! Recipes for Fall Eats

Here's what you gotta cook this fall: crepes! My pal Lex P. met me up at Keith Stewart's farm in Port Jervis, New York, and we made three types. One: (crepes with) apples, shredded carrots, garlic, a touch of scallions, nutmeg, cinnamon and Ronnybrook butter (from the Union Square Greenmarket), two: broccoli, garlic, bell peppers, peanut butter, rice vinegar, and honey; and three: tomatoes, basil, sage, and oregano. You'll be so glad you'll jump (in the mustard) for joy. All of these things are available at Greenmarket right now.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fight for Your Right (to Have Radishes!)

War! It's Radish & Lettuce Versus Cats! This particular cat is perched on the abandoned car in our neighbor's yard. The leafy "tree" is actually our other nemisis, Japanese Knotweed, which seems to draw its Evil Strength from the car, growing in a very unweedy thicket over our fence. The cat loves to paw our sprouts (curiosity will not kill it!). Solution: abandoned overturned dishrack-style thingeroos. Right back atcha, kitty!

Monday, October 02, 2006


All sorts of things are growing up in the yard: radishes, scarlet creepers I was pretty sure were dead (until look: buds!), and that perpetual party-pooper, Japanese knotweed. JK and I are developing a special relationship: every morning I go out and win a few battles, but the war is so clearly going in favor of this weed, I can almost see its smirk.