May 2010 Issue #56
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) A Starbucks' story
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Delicious Stuffed Strawberries
The temple bell stops,
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.
~ Zen Master Matsuo Basho
Higher thoughts on compost
Last month's notes on 'Compost piles are like people' brought forth replies...
The main theme is that yes, we do go back into the brown crumbly earth, but unlike compost we have souls. Also, like all things of this world, our bodies get older from the beginning... not 'old'... just older.
Thank you thoughtful gardeners for your views; whether deep, spiritual, earthy, new age or old age.
Starbucks' door to door service
A story for you: Paul had the flu and couldn't meet Megan for lunch. Megan goes into town on her own and on the way back picks up 2 bags of Starbucks spent coffee grounds which are left by the counter for people to take. Starbucks even puts a helpful label on about how to use for gardens and compost.
Megan had talked Paul into starting a compost and thought it would be nice to give him a bag of these coffee grounds to encourage him to have good compost and help his new veggie garden so he could have healthy veggies and less flues. Megan goes past Paul's on way home and leaves bag inside gate rather than disturb the sick one.
The next week, Paul says cheerily, "Amazing isn't it that Starbucks have this service to drive around and drop off their used coffee grounds to householders!"
Eco gardening tips
- Hanging jumpers:
Old woolly jumpers make great linings for hanging baskets — the thicker the better and my old Carlisle patterned one looks very effective. Save's you buying the coir or moss linings.
- Plastic fantastic:
I saw such a clever idea recently and right in line with re-cycling passed-used-by-date. Those plastic coated wire clothes racks make bonza climbing frames for plants like beans, peas, vines and anything that needs staking or a wind break. No matter that you find one in the local charity shop or put out for rubbish collecting that has broken or gone rusty — all the better to blend in.
- A smidgen a day keeps the massives away — I say:
I bet you all know at least one person who thinks that plants look after themselves. Even a cactus will die in a few years without SOME water. Some people say they don't have time to look after plants.
Goodness, how hard is it to tip a mug of water on a plant each day; spend 1 minute pulling out a weed on your way out and do the same on the way home. Enjoyment is the name of the game with a garden... do a little bit each day or so and you'll keep in control.
Rise up from the computer, TV, or your daily tasks and nip outside to clear the cobwebs from your mind, clear the whitefly off with the hose, and clear a patch of new garden too... oh... and poke a stake in here, and plant some seeds in there.
Little and often is such fun in a garden, as you discover new things each time, and it's so much better than letting it all become a confronting, massive task.
Delicious Stuffed Strawberries
I hate to use that overused word, but really these are truly AWESOME. Courtesy of Creative Baby Shower Ideas Click to see a pictorial step-by-step guide, plus other great recipes.
- 400-500gm strawberries approximately (or 2 containers of strawberries)
- 1 tspn vanilla
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 8oz of softened cream cheese
- shaved chocolate — optional
- A pastry bag with a large star tip would be handy also, otherwise use plastic bag with corner cut out, or teaspoon.
- Wash strawberries and pat dry.
- Cut stem and base of each strawberry to make a flat surface.
- Stand each strawberry upright and cut a criss cross or X on the top of the strawberry, going ¾ down. (This allows for the strawberry to open up when you add the filling.)
Making the cream cheese filling
- In a bowl, add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and blend with a hand blender until well mixed. You can add shaved chocolate if you would like.
- Place mixture in pastry bag.
- Open a strawberry and push the star tip down into it and fill the strawberry with mixture.
- Repeat process with each strawberry until all strawberries have been filled.
- Arrange strawberries on a platter to serve. You can drizzle the platter with chocolate for a nice effect. And even drizzle the strawberries for a yummier effect!
Preparation: 25 minutes
Serves: 6-20 people