If you’ve got a hankering for shoofly pie — or simply want to know what it is — we have just the story for you. This week Tim Artz writes about the Pennsylvania Dutch food he grew up with and still loves, and he’s got recipes to try — including that aforementioned pie.

Also this week, Unearthed columnist Tamar Haspel examines monocropping, the risky practice of growing the same crop on the same land, year after year. There are reasons to do it and reasons not to; read all about it here.

And finally, Bonnie S. Benwick takes a spin through “My Paris Kitchen,” the latest from David Lebovitz. Her book report includes terrific recipes; I’m particularly partial to the pound cake.

Artz will join the usual merry band for today’s Free Range chat, our weekly hour of culinary give-and-take. It starts here at noon, so do drop in, and bring questions. (If that’s not a good time for you, remember that you can always stop by early and leave your question or comment, then read the chat transcript at your leisure.)

Everyone up to speed? Let’s kick things off with a leftover question from a recent chat:

I’ve never grown anything, but I have a nice-size balcony and would like to grow herbs this spring. Is there a good place to look for how-to advice on setting this up? I really have no idea but want to give it a try.

You’re in luck: Post gardening guru Adrian Higgins has written a handy guide to growing herbs in pots. “May is the month for assembling your herbs,” he counsels, so you’re right on time. He offers advice about pots and soil as well as what to plant. And there’s a video. Pretty much one-stop shopping.

Almost exactly a year ago, I answered a similar leftover question about essential culinary herbs to plant on a balcony. Seemed like the space in question was smaller than yours — there was just one planter — but some of my suggestions might be helpful.

Whether you’re in a suburban split-level or a 12th-floor condo, there’s nothing like being able to walk outside and snip off herbs you’ve grown yourself. Good luck, and here’s hoping your balcony plantings flourish. Just don’t monocrop your pots.

Recipes: