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Diggers Rest, Issue #012 -Vegetable nutrition issues, February gardening tips, Tuna Panzanella
February 10, 2006

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February 10, 2006 Issue #12


The no dig garden website is a venture into publishing on a topic I love. Thanks for joining me on the adventure! I'd love to have your feedback.
Just reply to this newletter.

In this issue:

1) Mineral content of vegetables falling
2) In the garden this month
3) Recipe: Tuna Panzanella

Vegetable Nutrition

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and is heading into a great New Year!

I took the month of January off and what a difference it's made. I'm back fully energised for the year ahead! There are massive plans for the website, so keep watching.

Over the break I was contacted by Matthew Adams from the Good Gardeners Association in the UK. Now that's turned into an interesting exchange!

Matthew forwarded a reprinted copy of what he believes is the first published work on no dig vegetable gardening written in 1948 by A. Guest. It's a slim volume, just 46 pages but is a well documented account of a gifted and very observant (award winning) amateur gardener.

He also sent me to a research paper pointing to a dramatic drop in the mineral content of vegetables. The evidence to hand shows a drop of approximately 40% in store bought vegetables between the 1930's and the 1990's. The study was conducted by the UK government and studies done in the US show the same result.

It seems an alarming enough statistic in it's own right, but there are two questions that have to be asked. Why has the mineral content dropped so dramatically and what does it mean for people (i.e. most of the population) eating them?

It would be easy to assume that modern farming methods are the culprits, but it's not yet proven.

To read the exchange we've had on this topic, go to Vegetable Nutrition

Bottom line? Grow your own vegetables organically using heritage seeds and KNOW what is and isn't in the food you are eating.

In the Garden This Month

Northern Hemisphere:

You know what you have to do, so stop putting it off. Get out the graph paper, go through your seed catalogues and start drawing! Make up the timetables for starting your seeds or ordering seedlings.

Do not be tempted with inexpensive seeds. You should purchase the best you can afford from a specialist nursery for two reasons. Firstly, you don't want to be wasting your time with inferior seed that may not grow and second, this is FOOD. It's important that it is good quality and not just any old thing to hand.

Consider the timing of the harvest when planning your garden layout. For those plants that will be there for several seasons such as asparagus and rhubarb, put them at one end, or in their own patch.

For those that will be there all season, like carrots and onions, put them out of the way or down one side. The rest of the garden area will have things coming and going if your planning is on target so you will need ready access to harvest and plant.

Southern Hemisphere:

Your first harvest is about done and you should be well on your way with a second planting or preparing for your winter vegetables.

It's hot out there so water, water, water. A drip line underneath your mulch is the best solution for keeping things moist.

When planting new plants, top up your compost, refresh your mulch and rotate your crops. You shouldn't have much of a pest problem in your garden, but rotating will stop one from developing.

Remember food=life. Put another way, build it and they will come. You just have to move it every now and again so they don't settle and stay.

Feature Recipe: Tuna Panzanella

170g croutons
170g red onion, sliced
120g carrot, julienned
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 celery sticks, chopped
425g can tuna, drained and flaked
1/4c of fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/4c of Italian salad dressing

Preparation is the key here. Cut up all ingredients and mix in a large bowl. Dress and serve!

Happy gardening!

Judy Williams

Copyright J.L. Williams 2006

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