Thursday, July 22, 2010

Garlic Scapes

Lately at our house we've been cooking with garlic scapes, the fancy word for the unopened flower of the garlic plant. They usually pop up from the green strappy foliage of the the garlic plant this time of year, and can be used as a more mild substitute for garlic, onions, or chives.

The scapes should be cut from the base of the plant near the soil line in order to allow the garlic plant to focus all of its energy on developing succulent, fat garlic bulbs. Snip the scapes stems, or blooms, before they are allowed to open. Chop the scapes (Including the stem and the unopened flower) into quarter-inch pieces and add them to almost any savory dish. This season we have used them in scrambled eggs, stir fry, salads, quiche, and savory bread! So tasty!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

City Garden

I live in south Seattle on an inner-city lot with four incredibly talented, fun and inspiring roommates. We have a small vegetable garden that has been cultivated for about two years. The garden has garlic, onions, and strawberries that have been in the garden since it was planted. This year we added beets, chard, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, kale, snow peas, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes and a tomatillo! We have our basil, lemonbalm and leafy greens in terracotta pots outside of the main garden bed. The main garden bed is approximately 8- x 12- feet, and supplies us with a steady supply of fresh produce through the growing season and beyond.

I'm not simply making a list for lists sake! My point is that we grow all of this bounty on a city lot less than one-tenth of an acre in size. You can too! A great book I recently picked up called The Backyard Homestead (Storey Publishing) gives great tips on adjusting a garden plan to your own lot size, and also gives great insight into the homemade lifestyle of growing veggies, herbs, and even producing your own meat and eggs.

Speaking of urban gardens, two great garden tours are happening this weekend. The Rainier Valley Garden Tour is this Saturday, July 17th, and the West Seattle Garden Tour on Sunday, July 18th. I'm super excited for both tours and am hoping to see a big turnout this year!

Friday, July 2, 2010

All Things Green...

Hello All!
This is a green gardening blog that I've started out of passion for plants, urban gardens, ecology and the good life. I think it fitting to post a poem etched into the cover of my gardening bible by my father:

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
Nearer God's heart in the garden,
Than anywhere else on earth.

And so this blogging adventure begins. I will focus on urban gardening techniques, the latest and greatest new plant cultivars, homegrown and homemade food, and generally all things green.

A little bit about me: I grew up in the urban lowlands of the Pacific Northwest, but spent most of my summers up in the mountains of the Cascades hiking and learning about the wild. I've been playing in the dirt since I was a toddler, and some of my earliest memories are tied to the urban homestead my parents created north of Seattle. My family has a long history of orcharding east of the mountains. I was raised, along with my sisters, digging, sowing, tilling, harvesting, composting, and loving the earth.
My education is in ecology, horticulture, and sociology. I have great passion for family, community, music, food, and any and all plants! I own a garden design business that focuses sustainable drought-tolerant design and edible gardens.
I look forward to this new garden adventure!