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Diggers Rest – Searching, searching; Eco gardening tips; Spinach & Ricotta Veg Stuffing
April 08, 2013

April 2013 Issue #92


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

1) Searching, searching...
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Spinach & Ricotta Veg Stuffing

Advice from a tree
Credit: Elephant Journal

Searching, searching...

I get emails asking me for information on gardening topics... anything from strawbale gardening or children's garden crafts to ladybugs and compost.

My site covers thousands of gardening and nature topics from boring to weird. So I do have the information but cannot put EVERY subject on the main navigation menu. There is a Search box on every page in the top right column.

If for example you’re looking for how to grow broccoli, repel deer, dig a tree stump out or what to do with an x@#!... type it in the search box and go clickity click.

A warm welcome to spring for gardeners in the northern hemisphere. For those of us digging out their warm sockies and hotties in the southern parts, here's a timely question from a reader: What to plant in a new garden?

Eco gardening tips

  • Basil basics:
    Basil can do a quirky thing on you once picked, like turn black with oxidization where it's been bruised or cut, so treat it gently.

    For a quick way to keep picked basil, simply put the leaves and flowers in a plastic bag and freeze. Add more anytime. To use, just toss the still frozen leaves into curries, casseroles or pesto. Don't thaw before use or else you'll get sludge.

  • Quick picks:
    If spring is on your doorstep in Northern Hemisphere regions, what about some quick picks on your doorstep too? You can be picking leaves in 1-2 months for most varieties.

    I'm talking about salad leaves like baby spinach, lettuce, rocket, mizuna and other mustard greens. Scatter some seeds in a pot, see Container vegetables, or in a sheltered sunny garden spot, or start your green babies off indoors, see Vegetable seedlings

  • Rhubarb leaves:
    Rhubarb leaves won't kill you, but they do contain more concentrated amounts of toxic oxalic acid than most veggies.

    Most green leafy veggies contain oxalic acid in differing amounts. Don't worry, there are usually other substances that counterbalance any poisonous effects, and you'd have to eat platefuls of the same vegetable every day to over indulge.

    It is nevertheless a good idea to alternate your veggies each day or every few days.

    The oxalic acid in rhubarb leaves and other greens breaks down when composted, so cannot be absorbed by other edible plants.

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!"
Online Garden Planning Tool

Ricotta stuffed tomatoes

Spinach & Ricotta Veg Stuffing

Tasty stuffing for red peppers or tomatoes.


  • Vegetable of choice, either 1 pepper or 2 tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • Handful of young spinach (approximately 100gms)
  • 1 Tbln olive oil
  • 1/4 tspn nutmeg
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Halve pepper lengthwise and remove seeds, or cut top off tomatoes, scoop out seeds and some flesh and keep lids.
  • Gently heat oil in frypan, stir in spinach and cook for 30 seconds or until limp.
  • Mix ricotta, nutmeg, lemon juice and salt & pepper in with the spinach, then fill pepper halves or tomatoes with this mix.
  • Put on oven tray, keeping tomato lids separate, 210°C for 10-12 minutes.
  • Put tomato lids on and serve whilst still hot.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 12 minutes
Serves: 1-2 for lunch or as a side dish with mains

Happy gardening

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