My August Garden

I’m tempted to sum up this entire post with one picture:

But that would be lazy…

Yes, folks it’s turning to harvest time in the garden. Squash, tomatoes, eggplants, tomatillos, peppers… they all abound at this time of year. In my jungle-garden, it’s finding the fruits of my labor that’s the problem! Continue reading

Signs of Progress: A Garden Update

The handsome fellow pictured here is Jerry, my cat. He’s prowling through the lemon grass, blueberries, and hollyhocks while I do some basic garden maintenance. Jerry is probably just as curious as I am about who has been nibbling the flowers off of my squash.

I hadn’t planned on doing a garden update so soon. I figured it would be a monthly thing, but then we had a lot of sun followed by a lot of rain and more sun. Those things led to major transformations. I’ve started to get some ripe cherry tomatoes, and I’ve got one tomato plant so huge it will be taller than I am before long. I can’t even imagine the size of the fruit that will come off of it later this summer.

I also got some trellises and tomato cages to try and contain the squash. A trip to my favorite nursery also yielded some sugar baby watermelon starter plants. Of course, there’s not much room in the beds so I put them in the strawberry patch and just outside the raised beds. I also took a couple of seeds from a spaghetti squash that I cooked and planted them. Now I’ve got a couple of sprouting plants. I think I may have to relocate one of them.

It’s really amazing to watch your food come to life. I keep thinking about being a little girl when McDonald’s used to hand out seed packets with Happy Meals (it’s almost too ironic to handle, I know). One year my mother and I planted pumpkins and watermelons. I don’t think the watermelons went anywhere, and the pumpkins got infested by bees. But here I am, probably 25 years later, with a veritable produce section in my backyard. Continue reading

Paper Products, Germaphobia, and You

These are an abomination.

Last night I was watching television and I saw a commercial that made me downright angry. It was for the Reynolds wrap non-stick pan lining paper, which is right up there with disposable hand towels for your home bathroom on the scale of horrifyingly wasteful products.

If you stepped into my kitchen right now you’d find some tinfoil that I’ve kept to reuse, and perhaps a paper towel that I’m keeping to get one more use out of. I use these things sparingly — and in the case of tinfoil, I try to recycle it. I once had to lecture a roommate about the different uses for paper towels and regular towels. Paper towels are for cleaning up messes, I told him, and regular towels are for drying your hands and dishes. He honestly seemed as if this had never occurred to him before.

Don’t even get me started on paper plates. Continue reading

Monsanto’s Franken-foods and Patent Infringement

After my “Food: Preventative Medicine” post, I just had to weigh in on this story from NPR:

A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company’s crop patents in the future.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company’s patented crops happened to drift into their fields.

Well, those farmers were wrong, now weren’t they? Continue reading