A free monthly resource from the wonderful world of gardening; giving you tips, recipes and reminders to make your garden grow!
Aug 2009 Issue #47
What fun that you and I both love the topic of gardening. Thanks for joining me on this adventure. For any questions or feedback, just click on reply on the top toolbar of this email.
1) Noisy vegetables
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Vegetable Pakoras
~ Gardens of Friendship ~
Scatter seeds of kindness
Everywhere you go;
Scatter plants of courtesy -
Watch them grow and grow,
Gather buds of friendship;
Keep them till full-blown;
You will harvest lots of happiness
More than you've ever known.
~ From an old book, author unknown ~
Hack, slash, squelch!
Vegetables are indispensible for movie sound effects, especially for those wild video games of mayhem and gore. Yes they really do use vegetables, such as the neck breaking sounds celery makes when snapped; the bone cracking of breaking crisp cabbage; the squelching thuds a full velocity hammer makes as it rips through oranges; explosions by smashing melons, and the perfect punching sound effect from thumping a watermelon.
I can't prove it, but I think Luke Skywalker in ‘Star Wars’ zoomed through space to the sound of corn leaves being peeled off...
Q & A
I'm getting some interesting questions on the Gardening Questions & Answers page. It's great so many readers share their knowledge and post answers, and I invite more of you to join in. For example Milton from Uruguay asks for pictures and help about black mustard. Anyone growing this?
Want some help about growing carrots in containers? Check out the question and answer: Planting carrots in a container here. Maybe you can add to the answer there too.
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Eco gardening tips
- Saving seeds:
Of course you dry your seeds absolutely don't you, before you put them in envelopes, plastic bags, or something you can seal or fold over very well? Good, and of course you then probably put the seed packets in a tin, box or bag and store them in a place where the temperature is pretty constant, such as fridge or shelf away from sunlight or dampness? OK, now sometimes you need to go in and get some seeds, and if there's moisture around, it might get in the packet? To the rescue comes those little silica gel packets that come with your vitamins, pills, shoes or leatherwear. Save these and pop a few into your seed storage container and Bob's your uncle.
- Sweet start for cuttings:
Raw honey is a good substitute for rooting hormone powder, in fact many people reckon it's better. When taking cuttings for propagating plants, dip the cut surface in the honey and it speeds up root formation and hinders fungal growth.
- Root veggies, space and water:
Research in Oregon, US, growing carrots in fertile soil with NO water all summer, produced sweet, huge carrots averaging 12.5cm (5") diameter, weighing over 450gm (1lb). The secret was to start in deep fertile soil and space each carrot 30cm (1ft) apart, with between-row spacing of 1.5m (5ft). Also the cultivars 'Royal Chantenay,' Fakkel Mix', and 'Topweight' were used instead of the more common Nantes varieties. The "incredible sweetness" is believed to have come from accumulating sunshine all summer. These, low-work, dry-farmed carrots did produce a lower yield overall than conventional intensive cultivation of carrots with frequent fertilising and watering. Source: Robert Kouric's, Roots Demystified: Gardening Books
Pakoras are always jumped upon, always grabbed. Options abound… make them gluten free; use broccoli florets only; serve with salsa and salad; you choose... here's a delicious Indian version:
- 1 large (about 350gm) kumara or other sweet potatoes
- 250gm cauliflower
- 1 medium onion
- 1½ cups chickpea flour (or wheat flour or mix of flours)
- 2 tspns curry powder
- 1 tspn bicarb soda
- 1 cup icy cold water
- ½ cup chopped mint
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 garlic clove crushed and chopped fine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Scrub kumara, dice into 1cm pieces and steam for 4 minutes.
- Chop cauliflower and onion into approximately 1 cm pieces and put in bowl with slightly tender cooked kumara and half (¼ cup) of the finely chopped mint.
- In separate bowl, sift flour, curry powder and bi-carb soda together, then slowly add the cold water and mix batter which should be a thick cream consistency.
- Add vegetable mix to batter and mix through.
- Fry spoonfuls in oil until golden brown. It's best to deep fry, but it can still be done in shallow oil, turning the pakoras often.
- Drain on paper and eat dipped in yogurt sauce.
Yogurt SauceMix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and ¼ cup chopped mint together and serve in small bowl.
Preparation and cooking: 45 minutes