Gardening BLOG POSTS

The Blowfish Fruit

by Deborah Frieze October 20, 2015


I’m new to gardening. I’ve only got three seasons under my belt, which I suppose makes me kind of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about trying pretty much anything. So when my green-thumbed friendNoah McKenna suggested I try growing the African Horned Cucumber, I said, “Sure, why not?”

This thing–also known as the “blowfish fruit” is terrifying. Really. First of all, it grew into a vine so big and thick that it made an entire raised bed disappear under a trellis of jungle. For weeks, no blossoms appeared on this magnificent vine. And then finally, a handful of green-and-yellow striped grenades appeared with spikes so sharp and sturdy that I’d wager one would kill you if dropped on your head from a second story window.

They say this melon-like fruit tastes like a cross between a cucumber and a zucchini. I tasted it, and my conclusion is: Who wants to eat a melon that tastes like a zucchini?

The Community That Plants Together…

by Deborah Frieze May 28, 2014


Food is a catalyst for bridging difference and bringing people together to create healthy and resilient communities. That’s why urban agriculture is such an important activity at the Old Oak Dojo. But we’ve faced two big challenges: contaminated soil and limited sunshine.

With the help of our permaculture friends at Restoring Roots gardening, we’ve constructed four large raised beds from cinder blocks and filled them with soil, compost and mulch from local sources. Now we’re ready to plant our second year of shade-tolerant crops.

Friends and neighbors from Jamaica Plain and beyond joined us on Sunday, May 25th to plant tons of vegetables, flowers and herbs. Better still, we met new friends, had great conversations, enjoyed the gorgeous weather and ate yummy snacks together. Thanks for joining us!

Fruiting Up the Place

by Deborah Frieze April 27, 2014

food forest

Ever tasted a juneberry? How about a serviceberry? Ever seen a pie berry tree? Do you know this difference between currants, gooseberries and jostaberries?

We planted our paw-paws last fall. This time we’re creating a fruiting food forest with the guidance of Restoring Roots gardeners Noah, Cheryl and Karen. They’re teaching us about soil amendment, positioning and planting fruiting trees and shrubs.We’ll put in low- and high-bush blueberry, a dwarf plum tree, currants and more. Then we’ll wait…

Who wants to help us make jam about a year from now?