April 2014 Issue #104
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) Handy compost idea
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Vegetables with Blue Cheese
Credit: Marion Owen Photo
"People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us."
~ Iris Murdoch
Hear the call; Plant victory gardens not lawns! There's a lot
written about this big push to eliminate lawns. Fine and dandy, and it's nice to do your bit and grow vegetables, BUT... a patch of lawn is good for pets to romp through; children to play on; good to lie on and look at the clouds or to set up table and chairs for brunch... and so on.
Avoid spraying your lawn with environmentally damaging broadleaf weedkiller (dig out those dandelions if you really can't bear them, or pay kids per plant). You can also substitute grass for toughies like clover, chamomile, spreading thyme, dichondra or blue star creeper.
Eco gardening tips
- Handy compost idea:
If you can't or don't want to have a compost pile or bin, don't waste those kitchen fruit and veggie scraps. Dig holes and bury them. Dig
amongst your flowers, around clumps of perennials, such as rhubarb. Dig around the drip line of fruit trees.
Although decomposition will take longer than normal composting methods, it won't be long before your plants take off.
Depending on which pests roam your garden, especially at night, you may have to bury your scraps up to 30-60cm (1-2ft) deep. At 2 feet deep you can even bury fat, bones, bread etc that would normally not belong in a compost pile.
- Zucchini party:
Is your garden like mine? Got zucchinis, or even melons of all sorts, still growing but in danger of succumbing to the cold and rotting? No shortage of recipes abound, but if it's the compost heap for them, here's a fun way to get a bit of mileage first...
Get your kids and friends, or if no kids, invite a few adult friends over, and have a carving session.
- Guests bring their own knives; ordinary dinner knives are
fine and safer for children.
- Put newspaper or sheet over table or floor, especially if carpet underneath.
- Make it a competition, have some ideas for subjects, eg: boats, happy or monster face, animal, etc.
- Supply accessories such as toothpicks, pipecleaners, buttons, string or anything that takes your imagination.
- Great for a lazy, rainy weekend afternoon, and a casual potluck dinner goes down well afterwards.
- Sandy soil:
Sandy soils erode easily and don't hold enough nutrients for good growth. They need building up with plant matter. This can take a bit of time and effort, and what if you want to plant plants in the meantime?
Simply dig a hole, deeper and wider than normal, line it with several layers of damp newspaper then some straw, cut grass or leaves. Plant your tree, bush, perennials like rhubarb, or even large veggie seedling and fill in rest of hole with a mix of compost
and sandy soil. The roots will now have some structure for stability and better nutrients.
Some things you just have to have!
If you'd like to simplify your gardening by knowing when, what and how to plant, I'm willing to bet this garden planner will be a hit with you, like it is with me.
"All signed up and so excited. Wife and I didn't wait for end of freebie trial, we could see how perfect it was for us and we
wanted to plan the whole year and convert another lawn area into production!"
Vegetables with Blue Cheese
The blending of blue cheese with the cooking juices of the vegetables makes for a delicious sauce.
- 200g waxy or new potatoes
- 400g mix of vegetables such as leeks, carrots and courgettes (baby or spring vegetables are good)
- 2 bunches pak choi, or other suitable greens
- 35g blue cheese
- 15g butter
- About 100-150ml hot stock or water
- Squeeze lemon juice
- 1 Tbln chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut vegetables into large pieces or leave whole if small.
- Use a large shallow pan, cook potatoes in the stock or water
about 10-15 minutes or until just tender.
- Add rest of vegetables except greens, Try and keep in one layer or overlapping two layers.
- If necessary add more stock or water to come barely half way up vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and simmer rapidly for 4 minutes, uncover and add greens and simmer for another 2 minutes. Drain off any surplus liquid leaving 3 Tblns in pan.
- Mash butter and blue cheese together and stir through vegetables in pan.
- Squeeze lemon juice over and sprinkle with parsley.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 people