gardening

Zucchini Thief on the Loose in Stamford

Are you a gardener?

I am.

As soon as it starts to get warm in the Spring I start itching to get outside and turn the barren hellscape of my raised beds after a long winter into a fertile playground. I’ve even joined some gardening groups on Facebook, including one where the members like to grow stuff and share an interest in true crime. So you can imagine the buzz that went through this group when the story broke that some complete and utter monster has stolen a zucchini from a library garden in Stamford… AND REPLACED IT WITH A CUCUMBER!

The news of this heinous crime made it all the way to Jezebel (which I stopped reading a long time ago because it made me hate literally everyone!)

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Plant a Garden, Donate the Surplus

As soon as the sun starts to shine for more than a few days in a row, I get Planting Fever. I start plants from seeds way too early, and end up with six inch tall bean plants on my dining room table long before the threat of frost has passed. And by the end of the summer, I have a small farm in my backyard — only instead of livestock, I’ve got cats and a dog. Some years there’s a surplus of tomatoes, or squash…last year it was tomatillos. I had so many I started mailing them to people.

This year, though, I won’t be mailing anyone my surplus garden produce. I’ll be donating it to local food banks. You see, I watched American Winter this weekend. Haven’t watched it? Well check this out:

httpv://youtu.be/NbxQpCq21l0

I was thoroughly depressed, and felt guilty about every dime I’ve spent over the past few days (though I realize me spending money keeps the economy going). Luckily, though, a big chunk of the money I’ve spent was on plants at one of my favorite farm stands, Futtners. Among other things, I purchased some butternut squash, zucchini, corn, tomatillo, and tomato starter plants. (I realize I’m playing with fire, as a frost is still possible, but like I said, I’ve got Planting Fever.)

I have a lot more planting to do, but this year, when I have a surplus, I will use AmpleHarvest.org to find a local food bank that will accept my goods. I don’t know if people in need will be thrilled with my tomatillos, but hey, it’s what I can give. So, if you have a garden, think about planting an extra row or bed, and find a local food bank in need.

Hartford Gets “Fresh” with Knox Parks Foundation

According to Ziploc — yes, the company that makes the baggies you keep your sandwiches and weed in — Hartford is the freshest city in America… and the Asian Persuasion and I would like to take some credit for that.

According to a post on The Jetpacker:

“Fresh” cities are those where residents are seeking and eating the freshest food options available, through farmer’s markets and gardening habits.

This isn’t all that surprising when you consider the fairly high concentration of farmer’s markets, roadside produce stands, and farms in the Hartford area. Despite a delusion that they’re “urban” West Hartford-ites love a good local food movement. Head a little southeast of the city through Glastonbury and farmers will practically jump in front of you car with pitchforks to force you into their produce stands.

But even right in downtown Hartford there are plenty of people working to make the city green, and make sure its people have fresh food to eat. Last weekend, three of those people were the Asian Persuasion, The Pilot, and me.

Yes, we volunteered as part of the Knox Park Foundation, transplanting seedlings and getting some herbs and vegetables underway in the greenhouse. I planted more cabbage than any reasonable community could be expected to eat outside of Ireland.

There were lots of crazy looking tomatoes and cucumbers I’d never heard of. The seeds for many of the herbs were so tiny one could reasonably mistake them for dust and just toss them on the ground. But in a few months this food will be distributed to the members of the CSA and soup kitchens around the city. The AP and I will also be harvesting our own striped tomatoes and “West India Gherkins” thanks to the leftover seeds we got to take home.

The folks at Knox were also nice enough to feed us breakfast and lunch, and a quartet from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra braved the less than ideal conditions in the greenhouse to entertain us during lunch. So if you’ve got a free Saturday be sure to check out the Knox website for volunteer opportunities. Giving a little bit of your time will probably get you a sandwich and maybe even some free seeds. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a quick flash of some serious boobage thanks to a hungry 2-year-old and his seriously committed mother.