Community Garden

Friday, May 06, 2011

Back to the dirt we go!

This past Tuesday was out first night back in the dirt!

Our garden, free of snow and ready for green.

Community members gathered to spread fresh compost, transplant seeds that had already been started as well as planting some new ones.

Jennifer and Ann working away and a found treasure of onions!

New members Karen and Bill work hard to spread our rich compost, enriching the soil and preparing the raised beds.

Join us! Every Tuesday 6-8pm in the garden
1884 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Farwell; may you awake with renewal!

Our group of energetic and dedicated gardeners has put our plot to bed for winter. This past Tuesday we gathered one final time to clean up and pull out the bulk of the garden but left the always hardy chard and kale and a variety of colorful flowers.

As we parted we shared our thanks for each other and the always increasing wonders and the connection to the earth that the gardening experience offers.

This season we were blessed to harvest 850 pounds, 300 of which were donated to Keystone Community, and as always share each other’s company, wisdom and knowledge. Earth and gardeners will rest up over the winter until spring when the 7th year of Celeste Dream community garden will begin! See you next year!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Community?

Check out this wonderful video featuring some of our community gardeners!

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Autumn greetings!

This past Tuesdays, pitchforks in hand, the gardeners dug into the long awaited potato harvest! This was the first year that the garden had planted the crop and the single row of purple Peruvian and fingerling varieties produced plenty to share!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Potlucks & Pesto

The past two weeks that gardeners have enjoyed a more relaxing time in the garden. With less harvesting to do we are able to relax more and enjoy each other's company in some of the beautiful autumn weather we have been having!

Earlier this month the community garden members feasted in a potluck of corn salad, tomato, basil and mozzarella pie, fried eggplant, dilly beans, wild rice salad, a secret rice pie family recipe and other yummy eats!

Some of our gardeners have graciously offered their recipes to share with our blog readers, check them out!

Wild Rice Salad
Here is my recipe. I used wild rice from Red Lake Farms, Indian Grown and Harvested and their directions for the rice was as follows:

1 cup of wild rice
4 cups of water
1/2 tsp of salt

(Makes 4 cups enough for 5-6 people)

Rise rice thoroughly with water. Place rice and 4 cups of water into 3 quart saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover loosely and cook 40-60 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the water and has puffed. Fluff rice with a fork, cover tightly and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water. (Most chefs prefer to add the salt either during the cook time or after the rice is finished to taste). (For a softer texture wild rice add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water when cooking). Add additional flavor by serving with butter, margarine, salt and spices.
When the rice was done, I then just added

4 green onion
3-4 mushrooms
3/4 cup of crushed almonds

That's it pretty simple!
Torta di Riso
Ann Shields
Translated, it means “rice cake.” This recipe is from my maternal grandmother Luigia Terrile, who made this over a century ago in her small town outside of Genoa Italy. Buon appetito!

1+ cup flour, plus extra while you roll out the dough
1 Tbsp olive oil
Tepid water

Add warm water a spoon at a time until it makes a workable dough. Knead into a soft smooth ball. Set under a bowl while preparing the filling and topping. When ready to roll, divide into two even pieces for top and bottom crust. Roll thin (I use an Italian long handled rolling pin). Spread dough on the bottom and sides of a 8” X 11.5” pan that has been greased with olive oil.
(I made a double recipe for the Celeste’s Dream Potluck, and used a 10” X 15” glass baking pan)

Rice Filling
2 + cups cooked rice (leftover or cook fresh - 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked rice)
1 egg
¾ cup milk
1 Tbsp melted butter
¼ cup cottage cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
¼ tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
¼ cup oil
½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
3-4 green onions, minced (I also add leeks and/or mushrooms sometimes)
½ teaspoon salt, fresh ground pepper

Roll out bottom crust and place it in the oiled pan, making sure it covers the bottom and sides like a pie crust. Roll out top crust to have it ready. Fill crust with the rice mixture, followed by topping mixture, spreading evenly. Then add top crust and hand crimp to seal the two crusts together. Pierce crust with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 375˚ for 30-40 minutes until eggs are set and the crust is light brown. Cool before serving, at room temperature is best.

Olive oil: about 2 Tbls.
Garlic: 3 large cloves finely chopped
Ginger: about 2/3 to ¾ of an inch, finely chopped
Onion: 1 medium, sliced
Pepper flakes or hot pepper paste, to taste but for two, I use about a teaspoon.
Peanut butter or fresh peanuts

About 2 cups of vegetables: Cabbage, carrots, beans, peas, zucchini, mini corn, mushrooms, or similar.
I large bell pepper, red, green, or yellow.

Chicken, beef, shrimp, scallops, tofu, seitan, mock duck.

Heat your wok or fry pan. Add oil, garlic, ginger, onions, and hot pepper. If you are using meat, cut into bite sized chunks and fry until done. Cook for two minutes or so.
Remove the meat and set aside. If using tofu or the like leave it in there while you cook the rest.
Add the peppers and vegetables (except if you are using pea pods or something delicate.) Cook for about two minutes, add seafood, peapods or other delicate vegetable, and peanut butter. Cook for another two to three minutes.

The more people that you are feeding, the slower that you have to add the vegetables. Start with those that cook most slowly and once they are hot add more.
Serve over noodles or rice.
Fried Eggplant

1 large eggplant
1 egg
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs. You could use cracker crumbs or any dried bread crumbs, but I like the Panko because it is crispy.)

Slice eggplant (with skin on) into ¼ inch slices. Place each slice in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Fry in oil until brown, both side.. (I mix olive oil and canola.) You can put them in a baking dish in a warm oven to keep them warm.
Canned Dilly Beans

From the “Homemade Pickles & Relishes” booklet in the Wisconsin Safe Food Preservation Series by Barbara H. Ingham.

Yield: 7-8 pints

Ingredients: 4 quarts whole green or wax beans (about 4 lbs.)
8 fresh dill heads, or 1 ½ tsp. dill seed or dill weed per jar
8 garlic cloves (optional)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper or 1 small dried hot pepper per jar (optional)

Pickling Solution:
4 cups white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
4 cups water
¼ cup canning/pickling salt

• Wash and sterilize pint canning jars. Keep hot until filled.
• Wash beans thoroughly and drain. Cut into lengths to fit pint jars.
• In each hot pint jar, place dill, garlic and pepper, if desired. Pack beans upright, leaving ½ inch headspace.
• Prepare pickling solution of vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Pour boiling hot pickling solution over beans, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove bubbles with a rubber spatula. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth.
• Cap jars with pretreated lids. Adjust lids.
• Process pints in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes.
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pie

Make/Bake pie shell
Layer mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes…
Sprinkle with cracked pepper
Bake to melt cheese


This past week more connections between the earth and our bellies were made with a night of delicious pesto making! The night began with the gardeners doing some light harvesting of tomatoes, kale, peppers and eggplant and some heavy gathering of both Genovese and Thai basil. The basil was then de-stemmed over wonderful conversation, and placed into a food processor with garlic, olive oil and pine nuts and divided amount the gardeners to take home to share!

3 cups fresh bail
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan (optional)
1/3 pine nuts (optional)

Mince garlic in food processor
Add basil and pine nuts
Drizzle olive oil as machine in running until you have a smooth paste
Stir in parmesan

Eating in community with earth and others, what a wonderful way to enjoy this autumn season!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

September brings a chill!

Since the last garden update temperatures have dropped and scarves, hats and sweaters have been dusted off by our group of gardeners. This past Tuesday the annual opening picnic to welcome the new students of St. Catherine University took place right on the lawn next to the garden.

As the gardeners gathered in the garden, students were invited to try a tomato (or two!) as the harvest traveled around to the picnic attendees. Information about the garden was also available for students to take and, as always, an invitation to join us on Tuesday nights was extended to all.

Buckwheat has sprouted in the Simple Garden, and we are all patiently anticipating it's growth to see if it will have time to flower or not. If the buckwheat does flower before frost the crop will be able to deliver some wonderful things to the soil before winter; if not, it will be tilled in as green manure in the spring.

As the weeks come to a close for this season the gardeners have some possible processing planned of tomatoes for salsa and basil for pesto, but for now the earth continues to give, and we continue to be grateful for it's gift!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The garden gears up...

As we round the last corner of August the fruit of the garden continues to grow. The smaller harvests from the beginning of the summer have now become crates full of yellow pear, cherry and roma tomatoes, red russian and dino kale, chard, eggplant, beans and basil.

Because of the increase in harvest we have been blessed with the opportunity to donate to Keystone Community Services, a local agency that "works to ensure that individuals, families, seniors and youth in our service area can live with dignity and hope". You can find out more about Keystone at

The Simple Garden plot is also turning a new bend and has begun to provide cucumbers and zucchini for grateful (and a little surprised I must say) gardening hands. The potatoes are also thriving and us gardeners are excited to have the chance to learn how to harvest a new crop and enjoy some garden spuds!

This past Saturday was also the Parade of Community Gardens, an annual tour of local community gardens put on by Gardening Matters, gardeners joined together was were able to spend a sunny and breezy afternoon tending to the garden as visitors stopped in. A much needed dead heading was done and a cover crop of buckwheat was planted in the walking rows of the Simple Garden.

The buckwheat cover crop will help keep weeds out and nutrients in and also provide a lusher look to the garden. The crop will be able to be tilled back into the ground, allowing the the nutrients to stay in the garden and help future crops thrive.

You can learn more about the Parade of Community Gardens and Gardening Matters at . And as always our garden is open to the community, join us Tuesdays nights from 6-8pm at 1884 Randolph Ave in St. Paul!