Gardening When You’re Too Busy & the Best Strawberry Rhubarb Recipe Ever

raised bed gardenI used to have a quarter-acre vegetable garden. Back when I had time. But those days appear to be in the rearview mirror.

So, what’s a dirt lover to do when they don’t have the time to full-on garden?

Go with raised beds and perennials.

Garlic is a given—I’ve been using my own bulbs, which I cultivated starting back when Cait was still a toddler. While not technically a perennial, it’s super easy to grow. Plant in the fall. Harvest around the end of July. Done.

I’ve also added asparagus, everbearing strawberries, rhubarb, and mint. That takes up three beds, so I only have to deal with three more. Those go to beans, broccoli, zukes, lettuce, cukes, and a few other miscellaneous. And since I’m the only one who likes tomatoes, I grow those in deck containers now, along with my other herbs.

Then, of course, I have my fruit forest: apples, Asian pears, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, Concord grapes, peaches, cherries, and mulberries. These all pretty much take care of themselves.

Last but not least, I love to forage for wild edibles. These are abundant where I live.

I can’t explain how much it thrills me to walk out the door with a basket and come back with dinner.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for strawberries and rhubarb from Alexis Deboschnek. This is also her photo. I also strongly encourage you to make your own homemade whipped cream. Enjoy.

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Shortcakes Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Shortcakes

  • 6 cups strawberries, stems removed, large ones halved, small ones stay intact
  • 3 stalks rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces on the bias
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Peels from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons water


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, cold, divided

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375?F.
  2. Add the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, salt, vanilla bean and scraped pod (or extract), lemon peels, and water to a 9-inch square baking dish. Roast until the strawberries are softened and the bottom of the pan is syrupy, about 30 minutes. Reserve the strawberries in a sealed container until ready to use. The strawberries can be roasted ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 425?F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.Using a cheese grater, grate the cold butter into the flour mixture. Working quickly, use your hands to toss the butter in the flour.
  5. Pour 1 cup of buttermilk into the flour mixture and use a spatula to stir into a shaggy dough. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface. If the dough looks too wet, dust with a bit more flour. Form the dough into a 6×8-inch rectangle, and sprinkle with more flour.
  7. Divide the dough into three equal parts and stack on top of each other. Turn the dough 90? then use your hands to press down into a 6×8-inch rectangle.Cut the dough into 6 equal squares and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 1 tablespoon of buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake the biscuits until the tops are golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  10. While the biscuits are baking, make the whipped cream. Add the heavy cream to a medium bowl and use an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed to whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3. Add the powdered sugar and beat just until combined, 1 minute.
  11. Slice the biscuits in half and add a spoonful of the roasted strawberries and a large dollop of whipped cream to one side. Place the other biscuit half on top and serve immediately.

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