January 2011 Issue #64
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) Vegetarian caterpillars
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Spinach and Potato Galette
I feed the soil.
The soil feeds the plants.
The plants feed me.
My friend Helen was proudly showing me her garden. I reached out to squash a green caterpillar on a broccoli and she said, "Don't worry, Anna (her daughter) is coming to stay, and being a vegetarian it will be good to get some protein into her." Truely!
The children's gardening pages have mostly been updated recently. Still a lot to add, but there are some wonderful ideas, activities and crafts to inspire and occupy kids in the garden. Click Gardening for Kids
Eco gardening tips
- Back to basics
Visting friends recently, (No, not Helen above, who nutures her bugs) I noticed holes in their cabbage leaves so I showed them how to pick the obvious caterpillars off. "Oh, so that's what you do, they said... we were thinking we need to buy or mix up something and spray". Ready for this... they only had FIVE cabbages.
I've got more cabbages than they have, plus other caterpillar delights, but I still pick off caterpillars more often than not. I still run my fingers over aphids on new growing tips, I still pull out the odd weed each time I go into the garden. So remember the old fashioned way still works well.
- Be alert (the world needs more lerts... sorry old joke):
What I mean is be alert and prepared actually, because when or if you discover a big invasion of something that will reduce your plants to bacterial slime, or a grey powder, or leafless stalks, you need the remedy fast.
So have your organic mix in your spray bottles ready to squirt, or your hose handy to blast, or your netting already cut to throw over. Same with frost or sun protection, be alert to the weather and prepare ahead.
Otherwise you can be caught out... "Oh no, look 100's of caterpillars, and I've got to... "(insert reason here, such as: feed the baby, catch a train, meet the queen, take a class).
- Freezing avocadosSome of us have heaps of avocados at the moment. They are dropping at my feet in fact on footpaths or only 2 for a dollar to buy. Stunning as they are to quaff, don't let any go to waste.
Mash each one with 1 dessertspoon of lemon or lime juice and seal as airtight as possible in containers or freezer bags and they'll keep for up to 6 months in freezer. Use as dips, dressings, spreads or fillings.
Spinach and Potato Galette
This is a good-looking and tasting dish; fit for a special occasion even. Everyone loves it. Here it is exactly from my friend Chrissy. Bon appetit!
- 900g large potatoes
- 450g fresh spinach
- 2 large free range eggs
- 400g cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs eg chives, parsley, basil
- salt and ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Line a deep 23cm cake tin with baking paper.
- Cook the halved potatoes in a large saucepan for ten minutes at a rolling boil.
- Drain and cool slightly before slicing thinly.
- Wash spinach and place in a large saucepan with only the water that is clinging to the leaves.
- Cover and cook until spinach is just wilted, then drain well and squeeze out excess moisture before chopping finely.
- Beat the eggs with the cream cheese and mustard then stir in the spinach and herbs.
- Place a layer of potatoes in concentric circles in the lined tin then cover with a spoonful of the cheese mixture and spread it out. Continue layering, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go, until all the mixture is used up.
- Cover the tin tightly with foil and place in a roasting tin filled with enough boiling water to come half way up the tin.
- Bake for 45 - 50 minutes. Serve warm or cold with salad.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: Approximately 1 hour total