Basil balm for the soul: Confessions of a pesto-maker

I eat pesto like most people eat Wheaties. Out of a bowl with a spoon. That said, I try to curtail my impulses to do so, favoring a slice of cuke, zuchinni or a thin cracker to host the spread. I have grown basil for about 15 years, always overplanting, sometimes not harvesting it all…

A great use for all those tomatoes: best tomato soup ever!

I spoke to a fellow gardener yesterday who, like may of us, is in a quandary over mountains of tomatoes, many green. Well, I am a big fan of picking all the green ones (I don’t go any smaller than a clementine for saving, but this is just my own personal creed) and bringing them…

Rhubarb is the requisite ruffled mound in the garden

I love rhubarb. Do I love the taste with a capital T? Not especially. I just love everything about the plant. The beautiful ruffled leaves, the scarlet stalks, the iron clad perennial-ness of it. The fact that almost every yard older than, oh, 20 years in Minnesota has a familiar clump tucked away in the…

Alas, all these green tomatoes in the garden

Weather rumor has it (isn’t that about all a weather forecast really is?) that tomorrow night will host a killing frost. The scramble began today to save what is worth saving in the garden. I moved in the rubber tree that had been summering on the patio corner (and about doubled in size) and moved…

Basil Hay Day

Whenever I see a bouquet of basil at the grocery store for $5, I say a little thank-you prayer for my stand of it out back in my veggie garden. I will always overplant basil. Undoubtedly, some will bite it on that first killing frost, but even then, it is rather like freeze-drying a batch….

Rhubarb: That Familiar Ruffled Mound

I am on a campaign to put a rhubarb plant, that king of perennial vegetables, in every garden in America. I confess… there were many years I never touched the stuff. Yet, the old reliable anchored the corner of my vegetable garden, asking little, offering odd shoots of seedheads and fodder for the compost, and…

The Muscles from Brussels Sprouts

God, I love brussels sprouts (and I always thought it was brussel sprouts). This is odd considering I am a person who can count with one hand the foods I don’t especially care for, and they use to be on the countdown. That all changed about a year ago. I was making a special dinner…