Garlic Scape Pesto

I grow hardneck garlic , and one of the benefits of it is that you can eat the unopened flower buds, called scapes, in the early summer. I have put them in stir-fries before, and they are really tasty, greener, milder chunks of garlic.

My subsistence garlic farm- a year's worth in about 2 square feet.

My subsistence garlic farm- a year’s worth in about 2 square feet.

Then on Pinterest (Pinterest gets me into more trouble- are you supposed to do the stuff you pin, or just pin it, and let your social network believe you do it- like all those ab workouts I see pinned, I mean really? We’re supposed to do how many crunches? (all those not on Pinterest, disregard previous rant)) I saw a pin of garlic scape pesto recipe. Now, here’s where I get in trouble, because I saw it, I don’t think I even pinned it, and I certainly didn’t click through to see the recipe, I just let the idea sink to the bottom of my mind like a pebble in a pond, and then weeks later when I saw the scapes forming on my garlic, I was like, “yeah, so it is probably just like when you make it with basil, maybe I’ll put in a little parsley, so it won’t be too…sharp.” After all, one of the things I don’t really like about basil pesto is that it is kind of bland, so really garlicky pesto would be a good thing, right?

So then I picked all my scapes (picking them is supposed to help the bulbs become bigger, also, rather than sending energy into forming seeds, it adds mass to the roots) and I got out the food processor and started to puree stuff.  It smelled amazing.  I planted roughly 20 garlic cloves last year, which has turned into 20 plants, with 20 scapes.  Which is a lot, for the half cup or so of leaves I snipped off my parsley plant, and the corner of a  chunk of parmesan, and the little baggie of pine nuts and the quarter cup of olive oil.

I have since done some research on official scape pesto recipes, and let’s just say my proportions are off. Here’s one from Dorie Greenspan- calling for about twice as much cheese and nuts as I used, and half as much garlic. Well.

Let’s have some pasta. It will keep the vampires away. If you are making some, can I recommend that you use Dorie’s recipe?


Early tomato update (spoiler- no tomatoes yet!)

A commenter, who I know from real life to be an actual horticulturalist, suggested I put upside down tomato cages in my walls of water to prevent them from tipping over. It has worked beautifully! I put dollar store finials on the wires not just for pretty, but also so I don’t poke my eye out.

Small tomato cages, put in upside down, support the sides of the wall of water.

Small tomato cages, put in upside down, support the sides of the wall of water.

The tomatoes are staying nice and warm at night, they are flowering, especially the 4th of July plant. I am super hopeful that I will be slicing up tomatoes in just a couple of weeks.

Tomatoes grow the most once nighttime temperatures are above 60- since these have been protected on the nights it has gotten down into the 40’s, they have really grown a lot.  I guess if I were a true scientist, I would have a control tomato plant, with no protection, and see what the difference was.

Instead, I held my camera inside the wall of water and took a bunch of pictures.  What would it be like to live in a water teepee?  Very green.

The view from inside.

The view from inside.

Martial Arts belt display

White through Green, with room for more.

White through Green, with room for more.

My kids have been doing Tai Kwan Do for about a year and a half, and our policy for dealing with old belts has pretty much been just leaving them on the floor, or whipping them around occasionally for the cat to play with. Maybe not the best plan, but it has worked so far, and has the benefit of being really easy.

Our Dojang has a display on the wall with the belts of our school’s founder, W.T. Alexander, and it is a big board, with the belts tied on. I wanted some middle ground between the pile of belts on the floor, and the enormous wall display, but I had no ideas.
Until I saw a sample display of a lucite tube, with a dark wood base and cap, with the belts rolled into disks and stacked in the order they had been earned. The display was for sale for 50 bucks.
Being the insanely frugal person I am, I thought to myself that I could do that for nothing. And I did try- I have a clear glass cylindrical vase, that has been laying around for years. I usually put lilacs in it. I rolled up Kate’s white belt, it fit perfectly. Excellent. Then I attempted her yellow striped belt, which I couldn’t make fit at all, It is just slightly thicker, so the disk as it is rolled up is just too big. I tried forcing it, and then visualized slicing my hand open and bleeding all over.  A trip to the emergency room isn’t frugal at all, so I changed plans.
Now, glassware happened to be 50% off at Hobby Lobby, so I scouted it out while on a trip for thread.
Since I was only buying thread, I had ridden my bike over- one of my goals this spring and summer is to bike for short errands where I won’t be carrying much stuff. So, of course, I found the vases I was looking for. I considered very carefully. Hmmm…2 glass vases, 6 inches in diameter and 18 inches tall, in my panniers, over the railroad tracks… I decided to come back later.
I went back later and brought them home, rounded up both kids’ belts, rolled them up and inserted them. I’m pretty psyched. Total cost of the two vases was $32, and I still have my big vase for lilacs. Every body wins.

Peonies- you can grow that

So many buds about to pop!

So many buds about to pop!

When we moved into this house, like 11 years ago, there were plants here already. Some that I have gotten rid of, like junipers that smelled like cat pee, and russian sage, which was plotting to take over the world, starting with my mailbox.
The plants that have given me the least trouble and the most joy, though, are the peonies in the front of the house along the driveway. I don’t know the variety name- I suspect they are the cheapest, most common type, rather than the rare, special-order-from-a-catalog-with-a-fancy-French-name-variety. They bloom profusely in June, then are simply green the rest of the summer.
The reason I say “you can grow that” is that these are the least troublesome plant in the world. They are old-fashioned, cottage-y looking, but they take very little water (how do I know? because I give them very little water) No fertilizer or compost or any special treatment- for this abuse, they reward me with teacup sized blossoms every June.

If you decide to plant them, prep your soil with some compost, follow the directions on the bareroot package, or if it is in a container, place the root ball so the top is even with the soil. Water well, mulch, and wait.

Our cool spring this year means they have not quite popped yet, but you can see they are about to. I can’t wait.

“You can grow that” is a project started by C.L. Fornari, whose goal is to get people growing. Not a bad goal…