Chain Links: Gardening and garden-based eating stories to crock your whirled
Frankenbeans, succession planting, America's only newspaper, the power of cheese, clean ice cream, and more.
By Lisa Brunette
We’re testing out a new feature here at Brunette Gardens: roundup links. When I helped launch Crosscut back in the Seattle stage of my life, I used to wake in the wee hours every day and scan the news for the top stories. (It’s OK, they paid me to do it.) I’m now a gardening-and-food-news junkie (no one pays me for this), and you readers might as well be the beneficiaries of my obsession.
While I won’t be pushing this out to you at 5 am each morning (unless you want to pay me to do that?), I’m aiming for at least a biweekly rundown of the bold and the beastly. We hope it’s useful to you; please let us know via the poll below, or leave a comment if you have suggestions.
In case you didn’t know, “restacking” is a thing you can do here on Substack—share stories by restacking them to Notes, and below are the stories I’ve deemed worthy of that.
Behold the power of cheese: This first roundup might go down in history as the ‘dairy edition,’ as it seems to be a running theme this summer. Case in point: My favorite new Substack author,, who treks through the Julian Alps looking for ancestral cheese-making techniques. I follow him because I can’t just pick up and literally go follow him, though traipsing through quaint cheesemaking villages where cows drink fresh mountain spring water sounds like where I want to go when I die, at least.
Next up isover at Dear Avant Gardener, with some sage advice for what to do about the impending mothpocalypse. (Glad I don’t live on the East Coast!) Pro tip: Leave the pesticides out of this fight.
I realize we’ve slipped into heavy topics with dying and fighting all of a sudden, but in all honesty, 2023 has been labeled “the year of dying” here at Brunette Gardens, so I was caught in a good way by’s beautiful take on kicking the bucket.
I promised you Frankenbeans: Sometimes a story comes along that makes you wish you lived in ancient times, way before anyone discovered genetic engineering. (World News Era)
Speaking of ancient times, while we dig up beautiful examples of Roman glassware, all our ancestors will have to remember us by are those single-use plastic bottles, which are only increasing in number. (Civil Eats)
Luckily, you’re a gardener, so you can focus on squeezing two more seasons out of your plot of land via succession planting, and pretend that no one has yet discovered genetic engineering or plastics. (Fine Gardening)
Can’t tell your pandowdy from your sonker? America’s Test Kitchen can help.
This first roundup’s free, but the next one will have a paywall somewhere, maybe right before the very thing you’d be willing to pay to see.
We recently collaborated with, in case you missed it.
We also introduced a funky, inexpensive method for preserving dried foods for long-term storage.
And I’ve been wading into memoir territory with an account of our six-year, quarter-acre, platinum-awarded pollinator-friendly food forest (say that 10 times fast). It’s a regular series called Going Home Again.
From the vault
It’s been a minute since I mentioned cheese, so here’s a story I wrote for LewisTalk about a yarn-and-cheese shop, two products united by their common origin: sheep.
Won’t you join us for next month’s Ozark Homesteading Expo?
Most cheesecake recipes won’t work for me because they call for cream cheese, which is almost always full of food additives to thicken and preserve it. But Price Pottenger comes through with this uncooked version.
Speaking of whole foods ingredients, I can’t eat at a single ice-cream shop in the River City anymore because all of them use additives. Butnever lets me down, and while I have not yet tried her peanut-butter-and-jelly-toast ice cream, it’s on my list.
Chelsea Green, an employee-owned publisher of books on politics and the practice of sustainable living, is offering 35% off select books this summer. Just enter the code GEN35 at checkout. (If you purchase books through this link, Brunette Gardens might earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.)