Rising Food Prices: Don’t Have a Catniption – Stick That Grocery Bill Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Hi all you fellow revelers,
I had a GREAT time on the wild edibles tour in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on Saturday with Wildman Steve Brill (who, btw, prefers to be called, simply, Wildman … when you have a criminal record concerning eating dandelions, who’s gonna call you anything else?).  That aside, I also met some great folks and fellow gardeners, including Ralph, who posted this comment today.  I’m still working with the Word Press format and trying to figure out, among other things, how to not have all these great comments hidden.  Until then, I thought I’d excerpt some of it here, including some comments on culinary herbs and an inventive way to stick it  da man (and cut your grocery bill by a scallion) …
Ralph ⋅  JUNE 19, 2011 AT 10:10 AM  …. I restarted gardening a few years back starting with containers and slowly reclaimed about a third of my back yard to plant. The rest is just doing it’s own thing for now. Most of what I’ve been able to use from the yard so far is herbs. Basil, mint, scallions/ bunching onions, sage, catnip, arugula, parsley, red clover, and oregano which is still too small to use. About all I’ve used them for is to add into salads. Small strawberries which survived outside through the winter go into salads which give a nice little burst of flavor in your mouth.

The scallions I started from seeds last year came back after being outside all winter. The ones inside grew all winter long on a window sill. A few of the outside ones grew flowers this year and I got some seeds from them. A quick way to get a few growing without the seeds is buy a bunch of organic scallions in the store. Pick a bunch with the largest roots still on that look healthy. Cut the tops off so you have the roots and bulb with about an inch or two of stalk to stick out of the soil when you plant them. You can plant them close together since they grow straight up. Within a couple days you will be able to see the growth, and soon after a new shoot will appear. I use the shoots rather than pulling up the whole thing to use the bulbs. I cut the largest shoots off the ones with the most shoots and they just keep growing back. I believe that like onions they help keep bugs away too. For a dollar or so invested you can have fresh scallions for over a year.

  • Hey, thanks for posting that. There’s a lot of good information in here I’m planning on putting quickly to use. A couple follow up questions: how did you come to find out about catnip? I saw somewhere recently that humans may like it too but I never considered eating kitty food before.  Doesn’t it make them high?  You know that leads me, of course, to the question … how’s the taste on a scale of 1 to 11?  How did you decide to start growing catnip?  Is it a cat magnet? (I have a neighbor cat that likes to saunter through my herbs when my dog is either away on a date (she has a lively social life) or when she’s in the basement being lazy.  I’ve been wondering how to keep the feline away – maybe distract her with some kitty cannabis?).

    Second question: what a great idea for the scallions! Where do you do your grocery shopping? Is there a market (super or green) you’d recommend for this kind of thing?

    Last question/comment: hope you don’t mind I find this useful enough I want to share with more folks — I’m making it my daily comment and inviting some feedback on the above and the following ….

    QUESTION: what other ways do we know of to extend the usefulness of groceries purchased in a supermarket, green market, CSA, or other? In other words, does anyone have more suggestions to add to Ralph’s excellent suggestions for getting the most of your scallions? What are some other ways to keep the grocery list, bill and god-awful end of the day visits short?  Hey, maybe we could use the bill for compost!!  Think that’s soy-based dye they’re using?  Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

Just Thinking Bout My Dad

and how when we were little he would lead us in raking leaves, or splitting wood, or some other way he’d show he cared about the earth and everything in it.  thanks Dad.

QUESTION: what memories do you have of you and your pops doing earthy things?

My Stash


Been foraging today, and have plans for much yumminess tomorrow. Took the Wildman Steve Brill tour in Prospect Park today, and getting ready for Father’s Day dinner tomorrow. In addition to smoked beef ribs my partner will be preparing, I’ll be composing an herb and wild mustard greens salad.

QUESTION: have you ever prepared a dish using wild edibles? Any favorites?  Suggestions?  What to dos?  What nots?

Thanks MTA


This billboard appears at the top of the stairs on the F line at Church Ave. for all the boys and girls to see before they go to school, when they go home early, when their grandma picks them up at the end of the day. The stop is at the corner of Albemarle & McDonald, in front of PS 230. I have complained by calling 311 about other explicit ads here before but was told it’s a private co., not the MTA that selects what advertisements are placed here. Let me point out this is an advertisement FOR A VIDEO GAME! Please don’t tell me that this particular ad displaying nearly-naked slutty-chick schoolgirls half-humping the legs of a thug-gy lookin’ grown dude with a cigar hangin out his mouth appearing at the corner entrance to a GRADE SCHOOL is coinkidink.

QUESTION: what’s a pissed off parent to do when society blames parents for their kids lacking respect and growing up misogynist when kids are subjected, against our will, to this blatant sexploitative pandering? Why is it up to parents limit their kids’ exposure to negative messages from media viewed at home only to walk out the door and get bombarded with this kind of crap? Why won’t the MTA do something about this? Or the school across the street? Or Something? Someone? Anyone? Out there????


Recommended for a visit:  Wild Things Rescue Nursery.

I met the gardener, Dawn Foglia, on our recent trip to Saratoga Springs.  Lovely lady, very hard-working, single mom (don’t think she would mind me mentioning that since it was one of the first things I learned), dedicated to helping spread the (good) word about native plants.  I caught her just as they were closing up shop at a local farmers market, and she was off to another event but we had some quick words and immediate camaraderie. I bought some wild ginger from her (looking forward to seeing how it grows next year – this year it’s just getting used to my ground), and just checked out her site, now trying to resist the temptation … my eyes being bigger than my garden.  So many plants, so little … *sigh*…

QUESTION: if you were allowed to grow just one plant (keeping it legal – or not), what would it be and why?

People People We-re All The Same No We-re Not The Same Cuz We Don’t Know the Game

Came home today, after a lovely day of strolling, errands, then strolling some more, to an oddly open door (yes, yikes, I thought I locked it but got spacey and locked it not, I guess), and more worrisome, a yellow piece of copy paper in my mailbox.  The yellow piece of copy paper in my mailbox was the remnant of a visit from the Health Department (duh-duh-dun-dun!).  From their cryptic scrawlings I gathered that they were responding to a complaint of a dog off a leash.  (What?? Whose dog?  Better not be near my dog!  Oh, wait a minute, they’re talking about my dog!  Wait!  What?  When was my dog off the leash?  Who snuck into my house and let my dog off the leash?  Oh, no one.  Hey!  What?).  Yes, they reported on the official yellow copy sheet that they were responding to a complaint of a dog off a leash in a public place (duh-duh-dun-dun!), that no one was home – good thing they didn’t push the door or lean on it for that matter – and  … that … they … heard .. a “LARGE” dog barking (now, how do you know a dog is big from its bark?), but that there was no dog observed in a public space off leash “AT THIS TIME.”  They, apparently, will be back for more of nothing to report.

So what this means is that one of my neighborly neighbors complained, I presume, because I had my 50 lb. 8-year old mutt (not a “Large” dog, or threatening or scary or in any way intimidating, no matter what kind of grunt-growl she could try to muster these days) with me while I was gardening.  She was on my private property, my front yard, and was barely even visible from the sidewalk.  So I don’t see how any passerby might complain of a “dog off leash in a public place.”  Might not have been my dog.  Could’ve been someone walking by with a dog off leash.  But, honestly, I know better than that.  I know that I have a particularly nasty neighbor who’s been giving me the hairy eyeball since I started making my presence in my little plot of native plant land.  And I know this neighbor who’s got a black heart and ain’t got a good thing to think about the world or to do with the day the Lord gave them than to call 311 about an innocent pet who lazes, nearly hidden, in the back grass while I uproot same from the front part of the yard.  Sorry we’re so offending, lady.  Sheesh.  Some people can’t stand for anyone to have any fun.

Thankfully, I’ve got other cool and kind folk around me to remind me that every block, like every family, has one of these.  A Miss Spikey.  These are the people who slash gashes in their perfectly good furniture before setting out so no one else can have it, who have a motion-detection sprinkler system that sprays anyone passing too close to their yard (it’s Brooklyn for Pete’s sake!  Not Jersey!), who rhetorically asked my sweet little neighbor friend just who she would sue when her little son, who innocently had climbed up to look at her yard, would get his chin impaled on her fence?  This is Miss Spiky, the same one who made my life a miserable hell when I moved to this neighborhood by calling the authorities to complain about anything and everything: my dog would bark.  He pooped in the backyard (my backyard, mind you!).  My trash was set one inch over the dividing line.  You name it.  All this, and other nonsense.

So here I am just beginning to feel good about climbing out of my lonersome shell on this block, and was feeling mighty nice about my little contribution to the nabe’s aesthetics, and really liking how my little garden was swaying just so, and really standing up tall and proud, until suddenly my good mood’s impaled on the thorn of Miss Spikey.

QUESTION: Do I turn the other (ass) cheek or call 311 to complain that I’ve got a bitch on my block who’s on my last nerve?

Wildman Steve Brill Makes a Surprise Appearance Here

Hey all, awhile back I mentioned my budding interest in foraging and native plants.  All the better if I can combine them together, right?  So I’ve been reading about edible and medicinal plants, and even dabbling in developing my palate in this latest greatest cuisine craze.  I’m excited to say that I plan to take the foraging tour this weekend.  I reached out to “Wildman” Steve Brill, author of the foraging guide I’m currently reading.  I thought I would post his response, since it’s particularly timely today, in light of breaking news of increasing food prices and food shortages.  Depressing as all that is, kudos to folks who are doing something about it (e.g., G-20 Ag ministers spearheading a movement for greater transparency by country of what’s being produced, what’s about to come up short, and what the heck is going on w/food prices, so that shortages can be caught sooner and the veil gets lifted on what’s really driving price increases) and a nod to more local efforts to increase food production on a local scale.   I encourage you all to join me Saturday in Prospect Park for the foraging tour….

In the meantime, words from the Wildman…[from an email from Steve Brill]

I look forward to seeing you on an upcoming foraging tour. Enjoyed reading your blog too.

Unfortunately, by buying my book from the book industry rather than getting a signed copy from my site, http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/, they got all but 6 cents of your money. Please get other books from me, or check out my app http://tinyurl.com/6zcnuna.

Elderberries have feather-compound leaves while dogwoods have simple leaves, explained in the intro section of the book and the app’s glossary. And you can always post pictures.

Happy Foraging!