September 2013 Issue #97
What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.
1) Men, women and garden sheds
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Courgette and Feta Potato Salad.
Reading the results of a study from a gardening mag several years back, it seems women regard the garden shed as little more than a handy place to keep rain off the lawn mower and other garden stuff.
Men, on the other hand, spend roughly one year of their life in theirs or a friend's shed. Blokes just like to hang around in sheds for an average of 3 hours and 20 minutes a week.
What do they do there? Well, the top three answers are; playing around with DIY tools; cleaning things; and working on stuff.
Eco gardening tips
- It's always potato time:
In springtime parts of the world, and for those lucky enough to have the room to grow spuds, you will have planted them or are ready to pop them in... but hold back if there is still a chance of a late frost.
Remember, like most vegetables, growing spuds need around 2-3cm (1") of water per week. This is especially important when the tubers start developing a few months after planting, as inconsistent wet and dry periods can produce hollow, cracked or knobbly spuds.
- Storing potatoes:
40 F (4.5C) is the perfect temperature to store spuds, with humidity around 90 percent. Store in a dark place as they will turn green if exposed to light. Too warm and they may sprout, too cold and they may go sugary. Luckily sugary spuds revert to their natural taste if brought to room temperature for a few days before eating.
Want to learn more useful potato growing information? In fact do you want to know everything about producing abundant, healthy, yummy spuds... every time, and be the envy of your friends? Check out my recommendation for this book How to Grow the Best Potatoes
- Back to sheds:
If you like to mess around in your shed — stay alert and increase productivity by painting the walls yellow. Yellow decreases the sleepy hormone, melatonin (so don't paint your bedroom yellow).
Big windows that let in light; direct sunlight; warm yellow-toned pictures/computer background screens etc, all elevate your mood and help stop you nodding off. Bees will be attracted to your garden too if you paint the outside of your shed walls yellow.
If you'd like to simplify your gardening by knowing when, what and how to plant, I'm willing to bet this GrowVeg.com garden planner will be a hit with you,
like it is with me.
Roasted Courgette and Feta, Greek Inspired Potato Salad
Recipe from a mother who feeds herself and young child for £17 per week (approx. US$27). See 'A Girl called Jack' website.
- 1 medium courgette/zucchini
- 1 tablespoon oil, (coconut is good)
- ½ lemon
- 1 large garlic clove, chopped and crushed
- 50g Greek style cheese (feta or goat's cheese)
- 100ml plain yoghurt
- 1 handful each of parsley and mint
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Dice courgette and toss into a shallow roasting dish.
- Pop the mint and parsley into bowl or large cup and chop finely with kitchen scissors.
- Pour oil over herbs, add garlic, grated zest of the lemon, then squeeze juice in.
- Stir well and pour over the courgette, shaking to coat it in the mixture.
- Pop into oven at 170C, for 30-40 minutes to roast the courgette.
- When cooked, tip into a bowl, pouring in all of the juices from the roasting dish.
- Crumble the cheese over and mash roughly with a fork, then mix in yogurt.
- Can be tossed through diced, cold boiled potatoes until coated – half this mixture is plenty. The rest of the mixture can be kept in fridge and used as a side dish for salad, or popped over cooked vegetables, pasta, rice or meat.
Raw version: If you are short of time or don't want to use the energy roasting it, simply grate the courgette instead of dicing it, and mix raw with the rest of the ingredients. The flavour will be less intense but still utterly delicious.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes