Oh rats!


Last week, I found out why my tomato harvest is so meager this year and why while the cucumbers started out very well, I did not harvest any lately. Rats! They also destroyed my watermelon patch. I had five beautiful melons growing and within a day and a half all of them were gone. The rat(s) had taken up residence under the wooden border of my plot and dug a little nest. I tried to flush them out with the garden hose and I thought it had done the trick. No fresh digging marks for a few days. Last night I discovered a newly dug hole. The obstacles of urban gardening, I suppose. But what a disappointment.



Potatoes. Always for this German girl. I never plant enough it seems, but then I have such limited space and I like variety in the garden. I did not harvest as many potatoes as I had expected this year, only 4 pounds. But I only had 8 plants as some of the seed potatoes never sprouted, so I guess it is not all that bad. And those potatoes (Banana fingerlings) are delicious! I just roasted a few of them and we enjoyed them for dinner with roasted asparagus and prosciutto sage butter. Yum!



5 pounds of garlic total (Music and Red Russian), harvested July 18th

It has been three months since my last post. Summer has been busy and a lot has happened in the garden since May. I had a bumper crop of cucumbers, peas and green beens and the kale and Chard are doing well. It has not been a good year for tomatoes so far, but there are still a lot of green tomatoes on the vines. Here are a few pictures from past harvests.

I did my fall planting last week: one row each of radishes, arugula and head lettuce each, and two rows of  a fall greens mix.

IMG_6364Swiss Chard, garlic scapes and rhubarb, June 22

IMG_6422Spring greens, peas and green beans, July 7




galette_05_20_2016Spring! Things are shaping up in the garden. This past weekend, I hauled in my first harvest of the year – rhubarb. I proceeded to turn those first stalks into one of my favorite spring desserts: strawberry rhubarb galette. My family devoured it. It was gone in minutes.

Spring with certainty also means the first gardening fails. This year it seems to be birds. They completely raided the first crop of peas that I had planted in mid-April and munched on the lettuce and kale transplants I had planted at the end of April. I retaliated by sowing more lettuce (May 9) and more peas (May 14) and in both instances the birds have not shown much interest. So far.

potatoes_05_09_2016I had planted seed potatoes (Banana fingerling) on May 9 and today the first plants showed their leaves, so I added another 3 to 4 inches of soil. Today I also transplanted my tomato seedlings (Brandywine, Striped German and Boxcar Willie), only five plants total this year and interplanted them with basil and marigolds. The basil is Nufar and the marigolds are from our local farmer’s market. And the leeks are in as well. The only seedlings I still have going on my back porch now are cucumbers and watermelon.


High time to plant the garden! I had a bit of a delay this year as the kids and I were out of town for a week in mid-April and there was no water yet in the garden. I therefore decided to delay planting until we got back from our trip. It is one thing to ask your plot neighbor to water your crops in mid-July, which will entail pointing the hose a few yards to the side. It is yet another to ask him to haul over gallons of water from his house to do the same in the spring. So, today I transplanted lettuce and kale seedlings I had started indoors in March. Last weekend I also sowed carrots and radishes, a spring green mix, Swiss chard and more peas. Now let’s water and be patient.


The first flowers are coming in and the strawberries are flowering and the rhubarb is looking good.

Geum042916 strawberries042916 rhubarb042916

April Snow

Garlic April4 2016

Winter is back in Boston. It has been snowing yesterday and we got a few more inches today. The forecast calls for very low temperatures for the next couple of days, down to the twenties over night. I am not sure my peas will make it, so I will plant new ones once this cold spell is over. My garlic should be okay, right?


Mar23_16_progress1Every garden is only as successful as its soil. Healthy, rich soil is the foundation of a productive garden. Today, I prepared part of my garden plot for spring planting. The city provides its community gardens with free compost in the spring, but the compost it typically delivered in April, which is still a few weeks away. That compost comes from leaf collections in the fall and spring and therefore is almost entirely “brown matter”, so it lacks organic components, which I dug in today in the form of, yes, aged chicken poop. I like to use chicken “stuff”, as it is easy to use, cheap and organic. But, yes, it smells a little. At least according to my husband, who likes to complain about the smell when he fixes his bikes in the basement next to our garden supplies. I dug the matter under my soil and was careful to turn only about 6-8 inches of the top soil, which is plenty for my crops. I garden in the city and when our community garden was established, it was all filled up with new top soil. Since I amend it year after year and have a lot of help in the form of tons of earthworms, I can be sure that my top soil is in good shape. But I am not sure what lies underneath and do not care to find out. I have my soil tested from time to time, every three to four years, to make sure it is free of heavy metals and also to see if it lacks any nutrients. Ready to plant peas!


P1140985As I was planning this year’s garden a couple of weeks ago I took inventory of my my seeds and threw out all that are old. I placed my seed order with Sand Hill Preservation Center , Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Renees Garden Seeds, some of my favorite sources for vegetable and flower seeds. If you are taking inventory, here is a useful chart that shows how long seeds are viable when stored properly. Some of my seeds already got a start indoors under grow lights: leeks, kale, lettuce and parsley.


frost on rhubarbWelcome to my blog! Nine by eighteen (feet) are the dimensions of my community plot in Boston, Massachusetts. I have been tending to my small organic kitchen garden for 14 years now and in this blog I will share my successes and failures, growing techniques, methods to maximize space, my battles with garden pests, ideas for gardening with kids and just thoughts on trying to live sustainably in general. I will also post about the gardening and urban farming community in Boston. Thanks for checking in!