February 2013 Issue #90
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) Principle 33
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Ricotta Cauliflower & Leek Cheese
"Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll."
~ Author Unknown
Eco living with green principles, including Principle 33
Have you heard of Principle 33? I was reminded of it when visiting a friend and her trowel broke. Tossing it out, she said this has happened before. Read more, in the first article on this page here
Flower show Bloemencorso
I've seen a lot of parades, but NEVER seen anything so stunning with flowers as this... breathtaking and gravity defying! Click to see
Here's a bit of background: What began in 1936 as a flower parade has become the oldest and most celebrated ode to blooms in Europe. Ever since its inception, Zundert in the Netherlands has hosted annual flower show Bloemencorso, with an average 50,000 visitors descending on the town to look at the brilliant displays.
Many thanks to reader Satish for sending this link.
Eco gardening tips
- Power to pests, climate and soil:
Sometimes you have to accept that you are not the boss. Hard I know, but in our gardens we may find we are spending too much angst to control something uncontrollable. I see it often especially with lawns (eyes roll upwards).
It could be the soil, weather or pests that defeat us. Take a break and accept that it's perhaps not worth the continuous fight... we can't grow every plant we'd like to, so sit back and appreciate the ones we can.
- When fewer roots are best:
When buying seedlings, check underneath the pots and don't buy any where there are roots poking out. It's false economy if they're cheap because if they are root-bound, there's precious little soil clinging to them.
Believe me, trying to hydrate these plants is near impossible, even if you soak the root ball in water well before planting out. The water just seems to get sucked away by the surrounding garden soil and it takes a long time, if ever, for the plants to become established and flourishing.
- Help it's hot in here:
Bottle cloches are popular for small gardens. Use large plastic drink bottles that you'll always find, even if you don't drink the stuff yourself. Peel off label, cut off top or bottom and slip over seedling to protect them, especially at nights from frosts and slugs and snails.
But if the sun comes out in the day, even winter sun, it can fry your little plants, so don't forget to lift the bottles off each morning.
I love and use this garden planner; it's one of those things that you don't know what you've been missing until you've got it. Feedback from readers is the same... "How did I garden without it before, thanks for putting me onto this!"
Ricotta Cauliflower & Leek Cheese
Easy and delicious alternative to making the usual white sauce for this dish.
- 1 whole cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 leek, washed and sliced into 1cm rings
- 500gms (17½oz) ricotta
- 1 cup milk, or your substitute, eg: soy, rice milk
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp mustard powder (optional)
- 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200c (400F).
- Steam the cauliflower florets and sliced leeks until barely tender (about 5-8 minutes). Alternatively, gently stir-fry them in a little oil. Tip veggies into oven dish.
- Blend ricotta, ½ the milk, seasonings and spices, adding the rest of the milk until it is a creamy mixture.
- Pour over veggies and sprinkle Parmesan on top.
- Bake 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 45-50 minutes.