Call me Mistress Mary …

The Care and Keeping of Strawberries
Cookbook Review: Not Your Mother's Casseroles

Because I can be QUITE contrary, and I have a garden!

Garden 1

Ken and I have a division of responsibilities in our house — I reign in the kitchen, and the yard is his demesne. He works hard — making multiple trips to the hardware store each weekend, setting up an elaborate irrigation system, and planting a fledgling orchard. He even feeds the birds. But sometimes our territories overlap. After years of apartment living, and planting in pots (we still have a potted herb garden that lives on the deck near the kitchen, and a couple of potted citrus trees), we finally have a kitchen garden to grow vegetables in, and I couldn’t be more excited.

We could have built a raised bed ourselves from untreated lumber, but with two more than full time jobs, we decided to just order a kit from the Square Foot Garden Foundation. It’s Amish-made and required no tools for assembly. We filled it with a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost from the bin thoughtfully left behind by the previous owners of Stratford House.

Garden 2

Now’s the fun part — planting. We’ve already got peppers, eggplant and fennel, thanks to a trip to the local nursery, artichokes grown from seed (the only success of our pathetic seed starts this winter), and a few tomato plants I snagged at Tomatomania. (Bedouin, Marmara and Sungold. I think we might need more tomatoes. I really love homegrown tomatoes).

To help our garden grow, we thought we’d do a little insect management. We bought this mason bee house, hoping to attract some of the pollinators. Mason bees don’t sting or swarm, so they’re safe with kids and don’t violate local zoning regulations, but they are active pollinators and can really boost your garden’s productivity.

Bee House

To keep unwanted bugs at bay (and we get a lot of them — there’s a lake near our house, so the mosquitoes abound) we hung this bat box, which my mother in law thoughtfully gave us when we lived in a studio apartment in Manhattan. It’s finally getting some use (though we haven’t seen bats yet).

Bat Box

Any suggestions as to what else we should plant? What are your garden growing experiences? Any tips and tricks for us novice farmers?


  1. Rachael April 6, 2011
    • Kate April 7, 2011
  2. Megan April 6, 2011
  3. Christina April 6, 2011
    • Kate April 7, 2011
  4. The Rowdy Chowgirl April 7, 2011
  5. Rocky Mountain Woman April 8, 2011
  6. Julie April 11, 2011
  7. Erin April 11, 2011
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