May 2012 Issue #80
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) I am gardener, hear me roar
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Cake for Special People
"Where are the snowdrops?" said the sun.
"Dead!" said the frost, buried and lost
"A foolish answer," said the sun:
"They did not die. Asleep they lie
"And I will wake them, I, the sun,
Into the light, all clad in white
~ Annie Matheson
I am gardener, hear me roar
Sorry Ray! That's Ray Burton who wrote the song "I am woman, hear me roar. In numbers too big to ignore..."
In my younger days, my sister and I used to belt out this song sung by Helen Reddy... still love it. Ray not only writes song hits, he's a learned container gardener and avid permaculturist.
Here's more about Ray, and his tip Weeding containers
More stories and tips from readers include Annie a no dig gardener, who says in Malaysia where she lives, "no dig" means no idea!
Latest website update
Everything you need to successfully save, store and sow seeds. Growing your own seedlings gives you tingles of joy up your spine... as well as saving you money Vegetable seeds and seedlings
Eco gardening tips
- Hot hands:
I'm about to dig up my horseradish now in New Zealand. If you're doing likewise, here's a tip to wear gloves when you process it.
Just like if you eat too much horseradish it will take your nose off and send it swirling around the room, so too it can take the skin off your hands as you scrub & grate the roots.
To one amount of grated horseradish, add half amounts each of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Store in jar in fridge; will keep for over a year.
- Birds and windows:
Those of you who have seen or heard the thud as a bird hits a window, will know how awful it is. And, oh no, they keep repeating this crazy action!
According to Rebecca Christoffel, Iowa wildlife specialist, many birds including robins, cardinals, goldfinches and sparrows think their reflection is another bird invading their territory. It only occurs during the breeding season—which is now in the Northern Hemisphere. So here are some solutions:
- Cover the outside of the window or glass door with an opaque substance such as brown paper bags, or a soapy film.
- Put random patterns of colored tape pieces or flagging on the inside of windows.
- Less obtrusive is to buy decals of raptor silhouettes (try bird feed suppliers or home shop). These decals silhouetted in a window will be seen as a potential predator, to be avoided.
- Better still are raptor silhouettes that are only visible in the UV light spectrum—these are almost invisible to human eyes but clearly visible to birds.
- Putting a non-reflective screen outside the window, about 2-3 inches from the glass. This will deter birds and prevent them from reaching the glass.
- Smashing garlic:
I thought everyone knew this trick, but I still see many people struggling with peeling garlic.
Simply smash your garlic clove with the wide, flat part of a reasonable sized knife, pushing down with other hand to really crush it. Heyho, the skin falls off and all you need to do is finish crushing it and chop finely. It's recommended to leave it 5 minutes to bring out its healthy chemicals before cooking or mixing with salad dressings.
Cake for Special People
Easy, moist and delicious. Originally made for a 2 year old's birthday, and consumed with gusto by kids and adults alike. This cake is dairy and egg-free, and can be gluten-free if made with gluten-free flour. It is also low in sugar, only 1/3 cup in the whole cake, thus good for children. (You could try substituting sugar with 1 rounded Tbsp honey or 1 tsp xylitol or stevia—these are approximate guesses, so check taste before baking cake.)
- 1½ cups flour (wheat, spelt or gluten-free)
- 3 Tbsp cocoa (or carob)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp white or cider vinegar
- 5 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup water
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1/3 cup finely grated beetroot, carrot or zucchini
- Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease a 22cm cake tin.
- Combine flour, cocoa, sugar and baking soda in large bowl.
- Mix liquids and pour over dry ingredients, stirring gently to combine.
- Fold in mashed banana and grated vegetables.
- Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
Variation: This recipe makes a smallish cake so if you are feeding many mouths, make a double-decker cake by doubling the recipe and bake in two tins. Once cooked and cooled spread one of the cakes with jam and whipped cream and carefully place the other cake on top. Drizzle with chocolate.
Recipe from Feeding little tummies
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Serves: Small crowd