My Favorite Jacksonville Garden Shop

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New York in October - Part 4 - Brooklyn, Good Friends, NYC and an indian restaurant.

We ended our trip in New York City. Our first night we visited our favorite Indian restaurant, Surya, in the village. Funny we ended up sitting at the same table and had the same waiter as last time. I was delighted to see they had been growing runner beans and winter squash up the garden wall. We stayed in a charming apartment on 28th St, between 5th and Broadway. We had the most spectacular view of the Empire State Building.
On Saturday, despite my fear of bridges, heights and losing personal effects in places where they can't be retrieved, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and met up with some good friends, Katie and Matt, who recently moved to Brooklyn. We spent the entire day walking, drinking, talking and eating. It was perfect. On our way to the bridge we stumbled across the Union Street Greenmarket. Amazing!
Sunday was our day to wonder. We took a walk on The Highline, through the Meatpacking district, and all over SOHO. We stumbled upon The Laguardia Community Garden (part 5 coming soon) and then had dinner at Balthazar. We split the roasted free range chicken. It was amazing. Then after a quick stop at Dean & Delucca we took a cab back to the apartment where we watched Swamploggers and packed our bags.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New York in October - Part 3 - Harvest Season

Last year was a rough year for pumpkin and squash growers. Many farmers found their fields under water during harvest time. This year it was the apples. A late frost in the spring destroyed a great deal of apple blossoms. Still the harvest seemed impressive.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October in New York - Part 2 - The Fabulous Beekman Boys

If you are a gardener, farmer, lover of sustainability, or just a wannabe and you haven't heard of "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" then you must be living under a rock. Ok, most likely you don't have Planet Green on your cable plan. While on an apple picking adventure in upstate New York a few years ago, partners Brent Ridge and Josh Purcell happened upon the small town of Sharon Springs and a vacant mansion and run down farm known as the Beekman. It is a bit of long story, one you can read for yourself in a memoir of the event written by Josh called "The Bucolic Plague". Although we happen to go on the coldest and rainiest day of our vacation, Sharon Springs was beautiful and quaint. We even had a star sighting of Doug, one of the owners of The American Hotel. It was clear upon meeting him and the nice lady who was working at The Beekman 1802 Mercantile that this truly was a town that practiced what it preached. I was happy to know that what I saw on tv was no show, but a real representation of what life is like there.
A little warning though, although the Beekman 1802 Mercantile is open 7 days a week, the rest of the town is not. Most businesses are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, if you are going simply to buy some of their famous cheese, save yourself a trip. Since Jean-Georges at ABC Carpet and Home in New York City started serving it, it's better to just order online and get on the waiting list.
The Beekman Boys also have a fabulous blog:
You will find amazing recipes, entries from guest bloggers, entertaining ideas, links to follow the boys on facebook and twitter and be able to purchase some of their amazing goat's milk soap.
Either way, "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" is a must see. Josh and Brent are heart warming and sincere. You will fall in love!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New York in October - Part 1 - A walk in the country

My husband is from a small town in upstate New York called Greenwich near Saratoga Springs. It's a small farming community and is part of one of the most amazing food sheds in the country. We have visited often, but this past visit a few weeks ago was the first time that I really had the opportunity to take a walk and really experience the beauty. It was truly an amazingly beautiful fall day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Monday

OK, so no blogging for a few weeks, but for good reason. In a very short period of time I have lost my job, had my husband come home from a seven month deployment, lost my my papaw, gone on vacation and sent my husband off to school in virginia for another month.

That said I have also spent a lot of time in the garden mostly reflecting on all of these events, but also really digging in to the beginnings of what will hopefully be an epic fall/winter garden as well as a major renovation of the side garden. It's a funny thing though. I have always known that I had gardening in my blood. My mom's father, grandaddy Bill, used to bring us a watermelon that he had grown every summer or two. The plot he used to garden on was right behind the garage he used to own and run, and you could see the garden from the Mayport Rd overpass. I can remember now sub-conciousley keeping track of it's progress and decline over the years. I can't help now but wonder from my own experience if that one watermelon was all he may have had to show for all of his efforts. Melons are indeed a fussy crop here in north Florida and it may have been one of the few ways he really knew how to show us his love.
My papaw was a far more simpler gardener. He used the grow bag method. He would take a bag of compost and lay it in a sunny spot, drive a tomato tower through it, rip a hole in the top of the bag and bury his transplant in the compost. All spring and summer there would be dozens of plump, ripe, homegrown tomatoes lining the window sill behind the living room sofa at his house. He stopped gardening about ten years ago as his health began to decline, but he never lost his discerning taste for a good tomato. At family dinners he would often find some excuse to go into the kitchen and on his way in and out he would steal a cherry tomato (or two or three) and pop them in his mouth like a jelly bean. About two months ago when he was in the hospital recovering from hip surgery, they brought his dinner to the room. He immediately snatched up the cherry tomato from his salad and popped it into his mouth. He also immediately spit it back out. I guess it wasn't homegrown.

This weeks harvest:

A few large eggplants in my new handmade Beekman 1802 garden hod, and some amazing ginger bulbs. The bulbs are full of an amazing smelling essence. So intoxicating!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Be careful what you wish for . . .

One of the gardeners most dubious tasks is attracting pollinators to the garden. Especially veggie gardeners. We swear we are not going to mess with flowers every season, but our desire to have as many bees and wasps around to help us increase our harvest usually finds us embracing anything they may be attracted to. This year I gave in. We're talking cosmos, susans, bachelor buttons, milk weed, zinnias and dahlias. That said, I was richly rewarded. At one point in the summer I counted more than 15 different types of winged pollinators in the yard. I have created such an amazing oasis in fact that some of them have decided to take up residence . . .

in my grill.

The wasp nest in the back I noticed when it was quite a bit smaller one day when I had to change out the tank. They were kind of doing their own thing going in and out and didn't seem to mind all of the ruckus I was making, so I let them be. Well two nights ago when I was just finishing up grilling, the grill flared up and out from the side of the grill came a brigade of about 8 bees who swarmed around me in disapproval. A closer look yesterday showed that the wasp nest has increased dramatically in size, as well as a small bee hive. So though I managed to make it inside unscathed that night, it's safe to say that my grilling days are over until I figure out what to do. I've had many offers from friends armed with wasp spray to help me take care of them, but I worked so hard to attract them that I fear the karma it might bring next season.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coming soon . . .

Fall Tomatoes! Sun Gold to be exact. This guy was so prolific during the spring and early summer, it's no wonder it will be the first to bare fruit for the fall.

Pumpkins! This one I'll still believe when I actually have one of these white Casper beauties carved on the front steps for Halloween, but it's fun to watch grow. And though you can't see them in this photo it is already producing male blossoms daily and there are a few tiny females forming as well!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Basil, Basil, Basil.

I have basil running out of my ears. In early spring I planted a few plants in the front garden and they very quickly began to bolt. I left them because of the large amount of pollinators they were attracting. So now they have set seed and the basil is popping up everywhere. So what do you do when life gives you basil? You make pesto!

The final product: one ice tray full for freezing.