Years ago, I started a simple family food tradition. We lived in Europe, and I wanted to share with my children a tradition from my childhood: Sunday pancakes. Not Swedish pancakes, not French crepes, but good old American-style pancakes doused with maple syrup.

Question: Our landscape needs some remodeling. Our needs have changed. We want to replace some child-oriented features with facilities for entertaining our friends and grown family. We also have some overgrown shrubs which need to be replaced.

Question: I enjoyed this week’s garden column on building rich soil with organic matter in a new landscape. Are you going to write about how to add organic matter to existing landscapes?

It took me a long while to make puttanesca sauce, the feisty Italian tomato sauce packed with sharp, pungent and briny flavors. I admit it was the anchovies that gave me pause. While I don’t mind anchovies in moderation, I don’t liberally cook with them, either, foolishly reverting to a chil…

Question: I have been told by my neighbor, who is an excellent gardener, that I should add organic matter to my soil to improve it. Why is organic matter so important?

“Work with nature whenever possible” is one of the 10 basic tenets for a better garden promoted by the American Horticulture Society. This is a good time to assess your landscape to see how you can make gardening easier by working with nature instead of against it.

I recently had a conversation with a friend who admits he “is not into growing plants.” He commented, “I guess I don’t have a green thumb.” Then he almost defined what a “green thumb” is in his next remark. He said, “I guess you really need to have an interest in something to be successful at it.”

Question: I would like to prune a medium-size shade tree myself. Could you give me some suggestions and things to avoid? I need to remove some of the lower branches.

Question: I would like to find a more efficient way to clean up my leaves and also use them to improve my soil. My neighbor runs the mower over his leaves and does not pick them up. Is that healthy for the grass?

Question: I see flower bulbs for sale in stores. I have a small yard plus a deck with containers. What are some good ways to use bulbs? Is this a good time to plant?

Question: After a summer of neglect my lawn is thin and yellowish. The weeds are still green. What do I need to do to restore my lawn to a thick, dark green?

Question: I have a peach tree and a blueberry and raspberry bushes that did quite well this year, but they have some very large branches that had no fruit. Should these be cut off since they are taking energy from the branches that did?

Question: My strawberry plants are sending out numerous runners in every direction. I don’t know what to do with all these runners. My strawberry bed is already thick with plants. Should I just cut the runners off?

The rich flavor of lamb makes for an exceptional burger experience. We decided to pair delicately spiced ground lamb patties with a colorful beet tzatziki, pan-seared halloumi cheese, and a drizzle of sweet honey for a truly unique burger that could transport us to the Greek islands any nigh…

Question: Last year my container plants started to go downhill about the end of July. How can I keep them attractive until the end of summer?

Question: I have areas where my lawn does not grow well because of shade and a steep slope which is difficult to mow. Are there ground covers which grow in these areas?

Question: I have a lot more problems with weeds than my neighbor. He says that bark dust mulch is the main reason he has fewer weeds. Does bark mulch make that much difference?

Question: My apple trees have a lot of fruit this year. What do I need to do to get larger fruit size? How do I keep fruit worm free?

Question: I recently purchased a home with a neglected landscape. Most of the shrubs are overgrown. Some are blocking windows and growing over sidewalks. I have received a variety of advice. I can’t afford to remove everything and start over, although I can afford to replace some shrubs. I w…

Question: I have discolored leaves on several plants and the leaves are starting to drop. I don’t see any insects. Is there a disease affecting them?

Question: I finally had an automatic irrigation system installed after years of pulling hoses. How should I operate my new system for maximum efficiency? I see many of my neighbors irrigating every day. Is that really necessary?

Question: I plan to purchase three 10 to 12-foot trees in larger pots. I haven’t planted trees before. Could you give me some suggestions on planting and staking my new trees?

Question: Many of my neighbors have lawn mowing service. Their lawns are nicely edged, but the best looking lawn in the neighborhood is taken care of by the owner. It has fewer weeds and always has a nice dark green color. I know he mows his lawn taller. What else do you suggest to have a to…

Question: I would like to incorporate ornamental grasses in several areas of my landscape. Could you recommend which varieties are adapted to our climate?

In theory, barbecued chicken kebabs sound pretty great: char-streaked chunks of juicy meat lacquered with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. But without an insulating layer of skin, even the fattiest thigh meat can dry out and toughen when exposed to the blazing heat of the grill —and forget ab…

Brownies are controversial territory to chart: Some like them cakey and light in flavor — more of a snack than a rich dessert; some like them moist and chewy; and others, the biggest chocoholics, like them to be purely decadent — almost as dense as fudge and deliciously dark.

Question: I read an article about how corporate crop development systems are reducing the biodiversity of our food crops and setting us up for catastrophic crop failures. What is your opinion about these kinds of developments?

A delicate tangle of grassy pea greens forms the basis of this salad, complemented by fresh peas, endive, and a warm, fruity vinaigrette that both offsets the faintly bitter quality of the pea greens and lightly wilts them.

American-style potato salad, thickly dressed with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish, is archetypal picnic fare and will always have a place on summer tables. But we've cooked (and eaten) piles of it over the years, and these days we yearn for something lighter and fresher to serve with gril…

Buttery, nutty chickpeas make a great foundation for a satisfying veggie burger. A touch of curry powder adds a hint of warm spice. Panko are crispy Japanese-style bread crumbs—they help hold the patties together.

Question: I have decided that we spend too much time and money on our lawn and solving its problems. Could you give some suggestions on developing a lawn-free landscape?

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Question: I want to plant my vegetables early this year so my tomatoes have more time to ripen. How soon can I plant tomatoes outside?