Thursday, October 31, 2013


Happy Halloween!

The big guy got a face over the weekend. We had him lit each night in the living room until white fuzzy stuff started coming out of his eyes yesterday. Now he's on the balcony with a little battery powered tea light in him. Hopefully he holds up through the night. He was a little smooshy in the face area. Ew. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweet Potato Vines

My window boxes grew some tubers!  I read they're edible but bland. Since I doused my plants in Miracle Grow a few times, mine might also be toxic. I think I'll pass. But this makes me want to try growing the real deal...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Projects in the Kitchen

I've been drying herbs all summer. It's wonderful to have them fresh on hand to snip into soups and onto salads but the warm days and summer bounty don't last forever. So I'm collecting bundles of sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and even mint to last us through the winter. They seem to dry out quickly in the kitchen with almost no attention from me.   Herbs are one of my favorite things to plant each year. They usually grow like weeds and don't mind the occasional neglect!

We've got a batch of hot sauce going on the counter too. We bought a basket of peppers at a farm stand last week (only $3) with the intention of making hot sauce and hoping that the peppers would in fact be suitable for such an endeavor. It turns out they pack a punch. And I found just about the easiest recipe imaginable (no cooking, 3 ingredients) at Bon Appetit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I'm makin' it in my cabinet. The first batch should be ready soon. Josh is afraid. Very afraid. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Garden Cats

The Brunswick Street Community Garden is populated by a big kitty family. Over the years, I've seen wacky little kittens grow into very relaxed cats, right at home in our urban garden oasis. Sometimes they mistake the garden plots for giant litter boxes (especially in the spring after the soil has been tilled) but for the most part they are a pleasant addition to the landscape. 

The majority of the cats are mostly white with either gray tabby spots or black spots (like these two friendly guys).  There's also a very nervous all black shorthair and a long hair guy who is perpetually fighting matted fur in the summer. They are all fixed (I think) and when a new one shows up a cat caretaker in the garden traps, fixes, and releases the kitty before the population can expand. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin Season

As you may know, I love pumpkins. Pretty much as soon as the last boat is taken out of the water on Labor Day, I'm thinking about when and where I can get a big winter squash.  This year we waited a long time to visit the local garden store to pick up these two beauties.  The big guy weighs in at 34lbs. The little one is just such an adorably small Long Island Cheese squash that I had to have it. And in a month, that one may become soup or pie.  

Why did we wait until the middle of October to get some pumpkins?? It's been warm. I have yet to put away my shorts and take out my sweaters. It hasn't really felt like fall. I don't think the leaves are going to put on a very good show this year. 

But I couldn't take it anymore. It's almost Halloween. Soon there won't be any pumpkins left. Soon the stores will all be pushing red and green instead of orange and brown. 

We have tentative plans to visit a proper pumpkin patch this Friday in Sussex Co NJ. Hopefully that will help boost our pumpkin numbers around here a little. 3 is sort of skimpy for me. We don't even have any gourds!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Last Cukes of the Season

Last week we had just enough warm weather to encourage a few more cucumbers to fill out. For the most part though, the season is coming to a close at the Brunswick Street Community Garden in Jersey City. I tried sowing late season lettuce, but it hasn't taken off. We've had a very dry fall which probably isn't helping. 

Last week I picked some tomatoes that were just blushing and they ripened on my kitchen counter. I've found this to be one of the best ways to keep on top of the tomato harvest. As soon as the tomatoes begin showing color, I pick them and ripen them indoors, and they always turn out sweet and delicious, just as they would if they had fully ripened on the vine.  In fact, I am unable to tell the difference between tomatoes ripened this way and those ripened fully on the vine.  I think I read somewhere that the sweetness has been achieved at this point anyway. I also avoid the possibility of losing them to pests, garden thieves, and rot. 

Strangely, the warm spell last week seemed to revive my eggplant plants too. I'm patiently waiting for 4 eggplants to get up to size before frost hits. The plants put out so many flowers and the beginnings of fruits mid summer that I thought I was going to hit the jackpot.  Then we had cool weather and the plants stalled out. Nothing happened for a couple months and now they're back. I'll check on them tomorrow. It will be in the 70's through Thursday here in New Jersey. Hope they're ok with that.