November 2012 Issue #87
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) Sweet vegetables
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Asparagus and Walnut Puffs
The Joy of Gardening
"The joy of gardening is that it allows you to go outside in your favourite corduroys and cardigan and pretend they're just your gardening clothes. To turn normal clothes into gardening clothes, simply mix with compost."
~ Guy Browning
Oh no, there's another supermarket going up in the next suburb, and on a recent drive up the coast, yet another one! Can't stop them, but we can do our little bit to grow our own food.
As well as less chemicals of course, the reason growing your own IS superior is because of BRIX. A very brief description of Brix is that it measures the amounts of dissolved solids in the sap of plants, specifically the edible parts.
A high amount of plant sugars are what makes organic fruit and veggies taste so delicious and sweet. High quality soil gives a dense nutritious plant. This sort of plant has a high Brix which equals high flavour due to high amounts of sugars amongst other things.
Feeding the soil as we organic gardeners do, is different from feeding the plants as commercial, chemical growers do.
The proof is in the pud, and tests show average supermarket Brix scores for veggies are 4, and average organic veggies are 13. An example is a test done on carrots—shop carrots had a Brix of 4 and farmers' market carrots were 18.
Eco gardening tips
- Be cool, be square:
Square foot gardening is the rage... it's cool to be square, if you know what I mean. Kids love their own little square too... or two!
For winter localities, now is a good time to start mulling over plans for next spring. If you have children that you'd like to introduce to gardening, sq footing will spark their imaginations.
What can they grow? What do they like to eat—maybe look through a plant catalogue? Now see what fun and how simple it is to go square foot gardening
- Tomato cuttings:
Gardeners growing tomatoes where it's now spring-summer should have their plants established now. If you've still got a gap or two to fill, plant side shoots from your existing plants.
Removing at least the first few lateral shoots from indeterminate tomato varieties helps build stronger and larger fruiting plants. You can plant these shoots and they'll grow into sturdy fruiting plants, albeit a bit shorter than their parents.
To discover every little growing trick for maximum... and I mean utmost… growth and tomato flavour, follow easy directions from experts. From now on, like me, you'll always grow Healthy Superb Tomatoes
- Love lichens:
Did you know that lichen on trees is good? Yes, because it shows the air is healthy, without atmospheric fumes and smoke pollution.
Lichens on fruit trees or other trees near your garden, not only indicates a clean environment, but also provides homes for beneficial bugs, such as predatory mites. They hide in the lichens during their overwintering stage.
Asparagus and Walnut Puffs
This is a prize winning appetizer. I can vouch that they're very tasty. Credit: Walnuts.org
- 1 sheet puff pastry, 9 - 10 inches square and 1/4-inch thick, thawed if frozen
- 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 16 - 24 asparagus spears (2 or 3 per puff, depending on size)
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Roll pastry into a 10 x 4-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into six (6) 5 x 2-inch rectangles. Place rectangles on prepared baking sheet and set aside.
- In medium bowl mix well together the ricotta, parmesan, basil, walnuts, salt and pepper.
- Leaving a ½ inch border on each side, spread 1/6 of the walnut mixture on each pastry. Place 2 - 3 asparagus spears on each dressed pastry rectangle (the thickness of the asparagus will determine how many spears are needed for each pastry).
- Bake until pastry is puffed and golden and asparagus is soft, about 12 - 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes