Our Berkeley Winter Garden: Week Two

garden_long view

Here’s just a quick walk through of what we’re trying to grow this time around. I have a bunch of herbs in pots on the deck.  This mint plant looks like it wants to take over the world.  What else can I do with mint besides make drinks?  I have a LOT of mint.  Perhaps making my own mint chocolate chip ice cream is going to be in order… Here’s a little pot of thyme.  Perfect for winter soups, and perhaps for reinventing a vegetarian version of Stove Top Stuffing. Some tricolor sage.  I love the pink and purple tones. … Continue reading

Our Berkeley Winter Garden: Week Zero


A winter garden is a totally decadent concept to me.  In Boston, winter means fleece lined running tights, and YakTrax for your running shoes.  Do California runners even know what YakTrax are?  Think snow tires for your sneakers.  A blanket of snow inches deep doesn’t exactly scream “plant something here!”  Well it doesn’t snow in Berkeley, which is just one of many reasons to recommend the place.  Apparently, this allows us to plant a whole new garden now that our spring garden has worn itself out.  This is a foreign concept to me, but I’m embracing it wholeheartedly. Here is … Continue reading

Simple Tomato Sauce and Canning Tomatoes


A few months ago J and I were hanging out at our neighbors’ house.  We’d all originally intended to go out for Ethiopian food, but as we sat around the table sharing a bottle of wine, our motivation to move from what had become very comfortable chairs quickly disappeared.  Our neighbors decided that they could very easily pull together food, and they made us pasta with Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter.  I’d never heard of this before, which was kind of surprising considering my obsessive reading of food blogs.  This sauce has definitely made the rounds of … Continue reading

Gardening, Cooking, and Canning


This has been an absurdly busy afternoon.  We’re going on a trip back to Boston soon, and I didn’t want all this wonderful garden produce to go to waste. That’s just the beginning of what I got to work with this afternoon.  I picked three kinds of cherry tomatoes, plus some of our San Marzano tomatoes, plus tons more serrano peppers.  I’ve only ever seen green serranos at the grocery store, but some of our serrano peppers have started turning red on the plant.  Apparently most hot peppers can be picked and eaten when they’re green, but if left on … Continue reading

Pickled Serrano Peppers


In Friday’s garden update, I showed you our serrano pepper plants.  We planted two of them three months ago, and for at least six weeks, the plants showed positively no sign of growing.  We even contemplated pulling them out to put in more lettuce, but luckily we didn’t (both because weeks later we were drowning in lettuce and because the peppers finally grew!)  What seemed like overnight, the plants grew a foot and started flowering.  When the first flower gave birth to a tiny serrano pepper, we were proud pepper parents.   Frankly, I wasn’t sure that it got hot enough … Continue reading

Our Berkeley Garden: Month Three Update

Garden_Week 1_Planning

Every time I post new pictures of the garden, I go right back to the Week One post.  It’s amazing to me that we actually managed to grow everything.  There must be some magic in this Northern California soil because there’s certainly no previous evidence that I had any gardening talent.  Here’s our planning shot from the day we planted everything. And here we are, three months later! Look at our zucchini monster!  This thing has seriously threatened to take over the backyard.  I’m just grateful that we only decided to plant a single zucchini plant.  This plant gave birth … Continue reading

Our Berkeley Garden: Week Eight


Did you catch the most recent update in week six? Or see where we all started way back in week one. Our zucchini plant continues its efforts to take over the world, or at least the backyard.  Also, some of our lettuce has bolted, which I must admit doesn’t leave me heartbroken.  12 lettuce plants makes for a tremendous amount of lettuce, far more than even this salad loving girl can stand. This is our first hidden cucumber.  I wonder if we have to worry about this plant competing with the zucchini for world domination. Many of our plums are … Continue reading

Our Berkeley Garden: Week Six


It’s been a while now, and I’m totally amazed at how our garden has taken off.  Looking back to week one, I was so worried that nothing would grow!  We have lettuce coming out of our ears, and I haven’t had to buy kale, swiss chard, or zucchini from the grocery store in the last month.  When we first planted the garden, everything had so much space.  Now the lettuce and the kale are all crowding together, and the zucchini plant is out of control. Or, to put it a little more in perspective: We’re growing kitten sized zucchini over … Continue reading

Our Berkeley Garden: Week Three


Did you miss week one or week two? This past weekend, J put in a drip line for our garden.  I still walk outside every morning, only this time to turn on the drip line instead of dragging the hose over to the raised bed, and I marvel at how everything is actually growing!  Can you tell? Here are our planters with the tomato, and one with lots of basil. And here’s the weekly update on the flame lettuce: The scale on these pictures hasn’t been the same week to week, but trust me, the lettuce is definitely growing!  I’m … Continue reading

Our Berkeley Garden: Week Two


Did you miss week one? Check it out here! We had a few days of rain in week two, and our garden absolutely loved it.  I swear I walk outside every morning and look at the garden, and I’m convinced that it’s grown from just the evening before.  Continuing the catch up theme, here are the pictures from week two of our garden.  Everything is growing! That’s one of our little serrano pepper plants in the foreground. and here’s the flame lettuce.  I swear he’s bigger.   I can’t believe everything is actually growing and looks healthy!