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Growing chaos

A plant gone to seed has its own kind of beauty.
Ari Levaux
A plant gone to seed has its own kind of beauty.

It turns out that if you leave them alone long enough, garden plants are happy to do their own thing. This week, Ari LeVaux explores the aesthetic, philosophical and biological joys of the bolted garden in “Going to seed.”

V.21 No.35 | 8/30/2012
A plant gone to seed has its own kind of beauty.
Ari Levaux

Food for Thought

Going to Seed

Enlightened chaos in the garden

Food writer Ari LeVaux discovers the joy of a chaotic garden.

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Food

Scapes on a train

Scapes on the plain
Ari LeVaux
Scapes on the plain

No, not snakes on a plane. Scapes on a train—or more specifically, garlic stalks stir-fried with pork and oyster sauce in the dining car of a Chinese train bound for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In this week’s Food Section, globetrotting food critic Ari LeVaux talks about the pulse-quickening moment he first encountered garlic flowers and stalks—collectively called scapes. Scapes are in season right now, and preparing them at home is inexpensive and easy. (Unlike some of the other international train rides Ari has taken.)

V.21 No.23 | 6/7/2012

Food for Thought

Great Scapes

The loveliness of garlic flowers

The first time I ate garlic flowers was for breakfast on a train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The dining car didn't have a menu: You just sat down and they brought you food. A server delivered a plate of stir-fried chopped green things with pork and oyster sauce, along with a bowl of rice. It was years before that I realized that the pencil-thick green things were pieces of garlic flowers and flower stalks, collectively known as scapes.

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V.21 No.14 | 4/5/2012
Ari LeVaux

Food for Thought

Green Mulch Makeover

Summer-proofing your vegetable garden

Across the Midwest, New England and Canada, high-temperature records are being broken by the thousands—3,125 between March 12 and 18 alone. Meteorologists are scrambling to find anything comparable to weather that has been dubbed “summer in March.” Two days before the official end of winter, temperatures of 94° were recorded in South Dakota.

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video games

Webgame Wednesday: Bloomin' Gardens

Spring isn't quite in the air, but it sure is nice to think about the impending change in seasons. You can get in the mood for warmer weather with Bloomin' Gardens. It's a puzzle game that asks you to plant different species of flowers in a gridded-out garden. Line up five or more in a row, and they disappear. Work fast, because for every plant you drop, three more sprout up. You've gotta think ahead to plan out your garden, because it's gonna get overgrown mighty quick.

Alibi Picks

Tomorrow! Seed workshop at Plants of the Southwest with expert farmy guys

geishaboy500, flickr.com

While you're sewing the metaphorical seeds of change for 2012 [see "You, Improved"], don't forget about the literal ones. Two of the state's foremost farming experts—Michael Reed (La Orilla Farm, The Permaculture Institute) and Joshua Cravens (Jardin del Alma, project director of the Arid Crop Seed Cache)—are presenting a pair of free classes in preparation for spring planting. This Saturday's session focuses on the history of plant-human coevolution. Next Saturday, take a 101-style workshop on growing your own organic food from seed. Both weekend's classes take place at Plants of the Southwest (6680 Fourth Street NW) from 1 to 3 p.m. Call (541) 221-2879 or email empressofkale@gmail.com if you're interested in attending either of them.

V.20 No.27 | 7/7/2011
“Plant offal” includes carrot tops and spinach bottoms.
Ari LeVaux

Flash in the Pan

Robbing the Compost Pile

Carrot tops, spinach bottoms and the whole radish

The preparation and consumption of animal offal has become trendy in recent years. From headcheese to braised pig feet, there are all sorts of ways of turning animal refuse into delicacies. And while plant offal hasn't exactly become the new rage, B-list plant parts can be incorporated into tasty meals as well. Ari LeVaux provides recipes for three such underused ingredients: spinach roots and the greens of carrots and radishes.

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V.20 No.20 | 5/19/2011
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Feature

Do It Yourself, Honey

Urban farmers take living well into their own hands

A colony of 80,000 bees holds enough sting to kill you—actually, it holds enough to kill about 80 of you. But sitting a few feet away from a hive that’s nearly as tall as she is, Chantal Foster is unfazed as yellow-and-black honeybees whiz by on a pollen-fueled highway. Maybe it’s because, with rare exception, the potentially deadly flying insects seem to have no interest in her. The bees are on a mission, and it’s about getting frisky with flowers, not ferocious with humans.

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V.20 No.16 | 4/21/2011
By summertime, you’ll be looking at this.
Ari LeVaux

Food for Thought

Three Gardens in One

A springtime strategy for maximum yields

Searching for the best crops to plant with garlic, Ari LeVaux developed a technique called "tossing seeds randomly." He put all the seeds he didn't get around to planting last year into a jar, shook it up and threw them by handfuls. This experiment produced the "garlic patch friends" and a springtime strategy for maximum yields.

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