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Onions on my mind; Eco gardening tips; Chocolate Zucchini Cake
July 07, 2012

July 2012 Issue #82


What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.

1) Onions on my mind
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Little birdies fly so high,
drop little parcels from the sky.
Said the farmer-wiping his eye,
"Tis a real good job that cows don't fly."

(Thanks to reader, John Adams, in response to last month's poem on boides.)

Onion stops flu and colds

Onions on my mind

As you know the FAQ section is the place where the beautiful people hang out... earthy, beautiful and raring to grow. On one forum, the onion has captured the hearts, minds, and even socks and beds of many readers... there are over 243 comments, and new life keeps springing up there!

Got an onion opinion? Join others, including Brian with his funny onion poetry, and Jean with several great recipes: Onions, flu, colds and viruses

Eco gardening tips

  • Thick onions:
    Notwithstanding Jean's weight-loss soup in the above onion forum, I personally find that I don't enjoy too many half-cooked onion bits in meals. I either like them raw on top, or very well cooked. I've discovered that long, slow cooking of 4 hours or more, turns onions into a delicious thickener for the soup or stew they're in.

  • The fine art of water saving:
    Keep a large jug or bowl handy to catch the water from taps before it gets hot. Also stand in, or have near, a flat basin when showering. Tip this water on the soil, not the leaves of your plants, except occasionally to deter pests. Only do this if you use un-perfumed, natural soap.

    Too much soap on us is not good apparently, so go easy on the soap anyway... and when you can, mix the soapy shower water with the plain tap water or rain water before adding to garden.

    This all involves a bit of effort, but it's worth it to keep your garden alive. The soil can cope with natural soap residues, and in fact low amounts of phosphates are beneficial for plants.

  • Tons of toms:
    There are many confused tomato gardeners out there going by the emails I receive... so Confucius say, go read here, to get unconfused. Should you pinch out suckers? Yes if indeterminate, definitely not if determinate… but do find out more on the easy website guide.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Thanks to Jean from the Onion forum for this recipe… not an onion in sight.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Add the eggs and oil, mix well.
  5. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake completely before frosting with your favorite frosting.

Note: I haven't tried Jean's cake yet, I will likely use less sugar and even replace it with a honey/stevia/xylitol mix. I might also try some wholemeal and/or gluten-free flour too. Messing up recipes is my habit… but things seem to turn out edible!

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Serves: A crowd

Happy gardening,

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