Garden: 2015

Aaron finished the planter between the firehouse and the garage last year in time to film our episode of House Hunters: Where Are They Now? But we didn’t have enough time left in the year to fill it up.


This spring we changed that with several bags of dirt and a bunch of starter plants. The steel fence gets pretty hot during the summer. We weren’t sure what would grow here so we opted to plant a variety and see what stuck. The short answer: everything!


The left side has a Roma tomato and three pepper plants (I can’t remember what is what, but I think the small one is a jalapeno plant and the others are red or green bell peppers.) There’s a beefsteak tomato plant in the middle, another pepper plant, basil, parsley, thyme and oregano.


Everything is growing well, except the beefsteak which looks like it may have caught something.

Also, I don’t have much produce yet thanks to the supremely wet and overcast summer we had up until last week. My tomatoes are finally starting to get some color… but Hank has decided that not quite ripe tomatoes are delicious or at least fun toys. Jerk.


I also filled the pots with a few more plants: (left to right) rosemary, cherry tomato, chives, two kinds of mint, basil and lavender. That basil was a backup in case the other one didn’t do well. My favorite summer cocktail is a basil lemon martini, but I’m beginning to think I need to find a good pesto recipe to use up some of that basil! The cherry tomato is only doing so so. I assume the pot isn’t big enough for him.


So that’s what we have growing this year. Seriously, who has a pesto recipe that is awesome? Bonus points if it doesn’t have pine nuts. Those things are so expensive.

  1. I have major plant envy. Kudos on the selections.

    Basil pesto is among the easiest things. 2 cups fresh basil, no stems; 2-3 cloves garlic; 1/2 cup fresh grated or ground good Parmesan (yes, the imported expensive stuff – it’s a raw sauce, so this flavor is very important); 1/4 – 1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil; few tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts (you can use walnuts, too). Salt & pepper to taste.

    Start by grating the Parmesan in the food processor. Empty into another vessel and set aside. Pulse basil leaves, garlic and nuts until pretty well-combined, then slowly drizzle the first 1/4 cup of oil into the mixture (will be quite liquidy). Add the cheese and pulse until combined. Add extra oil as needed until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Store topped with a layer of olive oil to help prevent browning.

    Ironically I was going to make pesto today! I hope my measurement are correct. When in doubt, add more basil. It freezes well, too! (Hello, summer in the winter.)

    Enjoy your bounty!

    1. Thank you!

  2. I just found a recipe for a zucchini pesto (I have a lot of basil and a lot of zucchinis). Instead of using 2 full cups of basil (like in the recipe above) use 1/2 cup basil, 2 cups shredded zucchini (squeeze out as much liquid as possible in a dishcloth), and 2 kale leaves (for color). Then the same 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 2 T of pine nuts (although i’ve been using pumpkin seeds or cashews since that’s what I have on hand).

    1. Oooh! Interesting. Thanks for the spin on pesto.

  3. This is my mom’s pesto recipe. Almonds are substituted for the pine nuts. It’s vegan, so you can include parmesan if you want. It’s a wallop to your taste buds, but that’s just the way I like it!

    Place in blender:
    ¾ c almonds, roasted
    3 c rinsed and stemmed sweet basil OR 2 – ¾ oz. pkgs.
    5 stems parsley, stemmed OR 1 T dry
    5 sage leaves OR ¼ t dry
    1 branch thyme, stemmed OR ¼ t dry
    ¾ c olive oil
    2 lg. cloves garlic
    ½ c yeast flakes
    ¼ c Better Than Milk powder
    1 T sugar
    1 ¼ t salt
    1 ½ t onion powder
    ¼ t garlic powder
    Blend well. Add last:
    ½ c lemon juice

    Blend lemon juice in slightly or stir in by hand. Serve over pasta or as a spread for crackers. May freeze.

    1. Thanks, Carolyn!

  4. After watching your episode of house hunters a couple of days ago, I was intrigued to see what renovations you had made to the fire house and have spent most of my subsequent free time reading through your blog. I am absolutely blown away with not only what you guys have accomplished, in such a relatively short span of time, but also inspired by your personal aesthetic as well. After many years of a “this will suffice” attitude I have decided to fully embrace my love of all things MCM (mid-century modern) and completely revamp my apartment, albeit on a pretty tight budget. Thank you for creating this blog and you’ve got a new cheerleader in Virginia!

    1. Brandi, that’s so awesome! I’m glad we’re inspiring you. Seriously, your comment made my whole week. Thanks for cheering us on and good luck with your MCM endeavor. The hunt is part of the fun 🙂

  5. BEST PESTO EVER… and I didn’t even like pesto before I ate this. And NO PINE NUTS! It uses walnuts instead, which are 10 times more delicious. You’re welcome.

    1 cup walnuts
    4 cups loosely packed basil
    2-4 garlic cloves (depends how much you love garlic!)
    1 cup good olive oil
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    Freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt

    Throw that all in a blender and blend until desired consistency, but I like mine a little coarse.
    Eat it with a spoon. Just kidding. Except, no, I have definitely done that. Eat it on toast, or my personal fave, on a toasted ezekiel muffin with a fried egg on top and black beans on the side. Maybe some steamed kale, too. I used to eat that for breakfast every morning. Ahhhhh so goooood….

    1. Thanks, Nyssa!

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