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Diggers Rest, Issue #011 -Gift giving for gardeners, prune & chestnut stuffing
December 14, 2005

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December 14, 2005 Issue #11


The no dig garden website is a venture into publishing on a topic I love. Thanks for joining me on the adventure! I'd love to have your feedback.
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In this issue:

1) Gift giving for gardeners
2) In the garden this month
3) Recipe: Prune & celery stuffing

Merry Christmas Gifts

I have changed the style of Diggers Rest for this special Christmas edition. This month we rest from the gardening tips and concentrate on the season at hand.

Christmas is traditionally a time of gift giving but the true meaning of it all seems to get lost in the marketing messages that are everywhere.

So this year, plan to return to some of the simple, inexpensive gifts that are so much more personal. Here are a few ideas...

  • Prepare a small basket of vegetables or preserves you have grown or canned yourself. It's so gorgeous to receive something hand made and prepared with love.
  • Give a live plant, particularly a native flowering plant that will live on in the garden and provide protection and food for local wildlife.
  • Prepare some favourite cookies or herb vinegars and package with cellophane and ribbon. Check out our Making Herb Vinegars page.
  • Share your passion by putting some seed packets with a short stack of small terracotta pots to get them started. The seeds can be either vegetables or herbs. If you have the time, paint the pots with colourful acrylic paint designs. Inspirational!
  • Supply your favourite gardener with some good quality hand tools for the garden. A good pair of secateurs are worth their weight in gold!
  • Purchase a magazine subscription to the vast range of organic gardening magazines available. "Mother Earth", "Earth Garden" and "Organic Gardening" are a few of my favourites. Try to get something written for your conditions to ensure it is relevant for your reader. It's the gift that keeps on giving and will be greatly appreciated.
  • These simple personal gifts won't end up in a cupboard or drawer forgotten. They will remind the receiver of your love and goodwill every time they look at them. That's what the gift giving is all about, isn't it?

    In the Garden This Month

    Northern Hemisphere:

    You're resting. Enjoy your family and friends over the holidays!

    Southern Hemisphere:

    Water, water, water. It's hot out there, so make sure your garden is getting a good soaking every now and again. Water infrequently but deeply to make the roots go deep.

    Harvest rainwater and use that. You WILL notice the difference in the flavour of your vegetables.

    Water under your mulch using a drip system. Never mulch a dry garden. Soak it first.

    Never fertilise a dry garden. Soak it first then apply the fertiliser.

    See the site for more watering tips

    Relax and enjoy your summer holidays. The garden needs time to mature now.

    Feature Recipe: Prune, Chestnut and Celery Stuffing

    We cannot go into the holiday season without a traditional recipe.

    I was never very keen on turkey stuffing until I found this recipe. It is from "The Complete Margaret Fulton Cookbook" first published in 1974. I believe it is out of print now. My copy is dog-eared and worn as it has been my companion on every important eating occasion we have ever had in this household. This is just one of the truly great recipes in it.

    12 large dessert prunes
    1/2C red wine mixed with 1/2C water
    30g butter
    1 1/2C finely chopped celery
    1 large onion finely chopped
    1 x 290g can sliced chestnuts
    1 tablespoon herbs finely chopped (parsley, thyme, sage)
    grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    1/2 beaten egg

    Soak the prunes in the wine and water overnight and next day. Simmer gently in this liquid until tender. Drain and reserve the juice. Stone and cut each prune into quarters.

    Melt the butter in a large pan and cook the celery and onion very gently until softened. Drain chestnuts.

    Mix all the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper. Bind the mixture with a beaten egg adding a little of the prune juice if necessary. Stuff your turkey and sew it up.

    This is a beautiful moist, crisp, flavourful addition to your turkey meal.

    Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!

    Judy Williams

    Copyright J.L. Williams 2005

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