Ingredients,Summer

Green with envy by Anjuli

Posted on 06-23-09 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Mom's gardens

On our surprise visit up to see my dad on Father’s Day we made a trip out to my mother’s garden with scissors and a basket to fill up on greens. The garden is flourishing despite the rain and resulting slug infestation. Even in such a small space (about 4 x 2 parking spaces) there’s still enough bounty that I can take home a week’s worth of lettuce, scapes, chard, kale, and herbs and barely make a dent.

I’ve been thinking a lot about elevated beds lately, especially after writing an article about the High Line for the Huffington Post’s New York page launch (hopefully they will actually run the thing after giving me one day to write it). In my mom’s garden, the elevated beds prevent dirt from being compacted during weeding and walking, give her complete control over the soil conditions, and are easier on the gardener’s back. My mother makes her own organic compost, which has become just as beloved as her greens (she pursues the odd-and-end scraps of veggies with as much vigor as the freshly picked). On the High Line, while the plants may not be edible and the fertilizer not from solely organic matter, the selection process was subject to the same constraints of shallow soil (2′ at its deepest).

Seeing the High Line gave me hope for a future New York with edible rooftop gardens in abundance. Currently the owners in my building are working on plans for the rooftop. While these plans are learning more towards lawn chairs, green ground, and potted shrubs, I am pushing for a garden space or herbs in abundance.

Mom's gardens

In my search for produce, I have found nothing that is comparable to being in a garden. Cheaper, more accessible, more flavorful, more local, larger, smaller, sure. But nothing that compares to the garden that provides to those who tend to it, produces Mediterranean herbs like weeds with little effort, and demonstrates to its users the power of pulling a whole head of lettuce directly from the ground.

But in an urban setting, how do we go from concrete and cheap rubber to leaves and grass? With the number of New Yorkers becoming interested in gardening – from the rooftops all the way to Governer’s Island – it’s looking hopeful. And elevated beds will take us there.

I am meeting with the board of my building on Thursday, but I have no idea if I will be able to convince others of an edible rooftop. What would my world be like if scapes, garlic, peas, tomatoes, chard, lettuce, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, dill, mint, chives, squash, and beets were growing a couple floors above my head?! Certainly greener, that’s for sure.

Peas and garlic with the scapes poking out
Mom's gardens

Mom's gardens

Picking chard
Mom's gardens

Beeeeeeets!
Mom's gardens

Cress, cilantro, and some thinning arugula (OMG, so spicy!)
Mom's gardens

The terraced flower garden
Mom's gardens

Oh, landscaped nature, you get me every time
Mom's gardens

Lettuces, chard, and kale in their elevated beds
Mom's gardens

Mint growing like weeds
Mom's gardens

Sage, tarragon, and chives with some nasturtiums in the background
Mom's gardens

Oh, salads!
Mom's gardens

Anyone else using a garden, large or small, up high or in the ground? Would love to hear from you.

  1. Welcome summer…
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  3. It’s Fall: Go pick your own produce

  1. Lisa wrote:

    Wow what a beautiful yard! Wish I lived there!

    June 24th, 2009 at 5:47 pm
  2. Maya wrote:

    So, my favorite thing to do with chard is to saeute it with garlic, olive oil, S&P, and KALAMATA OLIVES. That sharp thing in chard just flirts and sings at those olives like nothing else can. The Olives dominate. If you want to subdue the olives, use kale.One interesting thing to know is that the sharpness (oxalic acid) in chard is bound up when you do something with milk. So, try doing a version like creamed spinach, with nutmeg and whatnot, or in a quiche, with something like bacon to stand up to it a little bit.Once you come to appreciate chard’s personality, saeute it with a bit of butter and lemon, and see if you don’t actually just enjoy that like it is.

    July 11th, 2015 at 8:37 am

What do you think?