August 13, 2014: The 4th Annual South Philly Garden Tour

My backyard green space in Passyunk Square will be one of the 20 stops on this year’s South Philly Garden Tour, presented by the South Philly Food Co-op. The self-guided tour, on Saturday, September 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. (rain date September 7), will include 20 gardens between 2nd to 10th, Fitzwater and Moore Streets. An after-party will be held at The Industry at Moyamensing and Reed. The event has already received some early press from Philadelphia Magazine and Passyunk Post. In the latter, Albert Stumm lists 7 highlights (see below). Take a look at number 4! You can purchase tickets (proceeds will benefit the Co-op) here.

From Passyunk Post:

Stops on this year’s tour include:

  • A woman who started gardening in 1999 when she bought her home on Ellsworth Street that happened to have ample backyard space, and has since become a professional gardener
  • The only Japanese tea garden in South Philly
  • A garden that’s been tilled by the same family for five generations
  • A gardener whose dog (trained to detect ovarian cancer) has been digging up her in-ground vegetables, so she converted most of her huge garden to containers
  • East Passyunk Crossing Gardens, still in development and making plans to work with students and local refugee populations
  • The Wishing Well, which grows its own herbs for specialty cocktails
  • A community garden featuring several Isaiah Zagar murals

July 28, 2014: Canna lily

Late last year, upon picking up Greensgrow’s biweekly winter CSA, I came across a box of canna lily bulbs (actually rhizomes) marked “FREE, TAKE SOME.” I tossed a few in the bag and later Googled the plant to better understand how to grow them. After the danger of frost passed, sometime in April, I dug 2-3 inch holes around the back of the garden and set the rhizomes in, eyes up. Now, the first bud is here! Cannas are among the most colorful summer bulbs, boasting immense, paddle-shaped leaves and strikingly bright blossoms. A tropical addition to South Philly.





July 25, 2014: Salsa

Three kinds of tomatoes (all fresh from my garden and purchased as starts in May at Bartram’s Garden), onion, jalapeño, lime juice, fresh corn, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Only a few steps to the recipe: chop, squeeze (the limes), and stir.





July 22, 2014: Rosso Sicilian and Pineapple Bicolor harvest and fig leaves

Today marked the first harvest of the larger tomato varieties (Rosso Sicilian and Pineapple Bicolor) that typically have a longer time to maturity than the smaller ones I’ve been enjoying for the last couple weeks. Purchased May 3 at the Bartram’s Garden Plant Sale, these heirloom veggies have been thriving in the heat and humidity. Also of note: the Chicago Hardy fig that had all but died off in the Polar Vortex of 2014 has new growth!






July 10, 2014: Ripe tomatoes and McBaine’s new pool

Two bright red Principe Borghese tomatoes that easily loosened off the vine were the main ingredient in my omelet this morning. Fresh dill and basil from the garden complemented the pesto and onion I added. Before breakfast and after our morning run, McBaine and I played fetch in and around his new pool: a classic turtle sandbox converted into a doggy oasis. A neighbor had put this out on the curb, so I said, why not? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!