It's high time to start a garden, but what if you have almost no outdoor space or, as in the case of this reader, Jean, clumsy roommates? Sew a hanging herb garden, that's what. Read on for more about Jean's ingenious solution and smart small-space garden!
As a cook, I am quite naturally drawn to the garden, the place where all cooking begins. But having spent the vast majority of my adult life in cities, I'm not so well-versed in the mysterious ways of soil and plants. I can never tell if those yellowing leaves mean the plant is thirsty or if it is drowning in my enthusiastic watering. (I usually forget when I've last watered and so therefore tend to overcompensate.) Gardening is just not instinctive to me and in fact, I have no problem self-identifying as a black thumb. But that hasn't stopped me from starting a garden this spring.
A beautiful, well-planned plot of land surely highlights the work of an organized, dedicated gardener, and should be admired. But what about the purely lazy? Can't they, too, have bountiful warm-weather gardens? Slate author Ari LeVaux says yes. In fact, he argues that laziness breeds one heck of a garden.
Spring officially arrives this week, and what better time for the release of Amy Stewart's delightful new book, The Drunken Botanist. As you're planning your garden, foraging for wild plants, or simply looking for a good cocktail recipe (and cocktail party conversation topics!), you don't want to miss this entertaining and illuminating guide to "the plants that create the world's great drinks."
Last year we wrote about how simple it is to re-grow bunches of celery and green onions on a windowsill, but it turns out those experiments are just the beginning. Black Thumb Gardener has a list of 17 plants that can be grown from kitchen scraps, including ginger, sweet potatoes, lemongrass, and even pineapple.
If you painted your pumpkins this year (or decorated them in some other way that didn't break the rind), you can likely reuse them in a myriad of ways in the kitchen. But even a carved pumpkin that's rotting fast can be put to use in a way that will eventually return to your kitchen:
Q: My husband found one of these vines along a riverbank in Missouri. He brought one home and it must have self-planted in our yard. It looks like some kind of squash, but it's small and hard as a rock. Can we eat or cook with these?
There's nothing like topping a sandwich with fresh, crunchy, nutritious sprouts. Make them even more fresh, crunchy, and nutritious by growing them yourself right on the kitchen counter. When it comes sandwich (or salad) time, just pick and rinse!
Do you love microgreens? These baby sprouts — just a few days old — of plants like basil, arugula, and chard have immense flavor packed into their tiny forms. Microgreens command a great deal of money at the store, and they are beloved by chefs, who use their intense flavor and delicate appearance to enhance expensive restaurant plates. But you can grow microgreens at home with nearly no effort whatsoever, and the payoff is terrific. Here's how, courtesy of reader Claire, are instructions for quickly growing microgreens.