Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to email@example.com.
By Carol Clark
Sunday, August 15, 2010
"August... the month when everybody drives with their windows up for fear someone will sneak a zucchini in" — Amy Stewart,"From the Ground Up"
The word "holiday" actually derives from the words "Holy Day's" — days to mark special religious celebrations. Well, as Americans, we will use any excuse to celebrate. Did you know there's a national holiday for zucchini? August 8th was "National Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbor's Porch Night." I knew I was forgetting something.
Truth be known, I actually don't grow zucchini. Not because I don't like it, but because we're always given so much. I have already received enough zucchini this summer to make four loaves of zucchini bread and I have frozen shredded zucchini to bake several more for winter. Why should I go to all the trouble and take up precious space in my garden to grow something I know I am going to get anyway?
I appreciate all of you zucchini benefactors out there and would like to share my favorite zucchini bread recipe with you. What's your favorite way to use zucchini? (Email the Let's Get Dirty bloggers at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oh, anybody need summer squash?
Carol's Zucchini Bread
3/4 C vegetable oil (you can substitute half of the oil with applesauce)
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup coconut
Beat eggs, add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla, stir. Blend in flour, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir in nuts and coconut. Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake at 325 for one hour.
By Carol Clark
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I don't want to hear it anymore. All of you out there who say you don't have room for a garden, check this out. Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis of Brooklyn, NY converted a 1986 Dodge pickup into a garden on wheels.
When people started taking notice of their sprouting plants they decided to take their fast food to local schools to show kids you can plant a garden almost anywhere.
Think of the advantages — No more packing your lunch!
For more information, go to: truck-farm.com
"If you would be a happy for a week, take a wife. If you would be happy for a month, kill your pig. But, it you would be happy all your life - plant a garden." — Chinese Proverb.
By Penny Stine
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I wrote about potager gardening (pronounced more like protégé than pot o’ germs) in the home improvement section that came out in March of this year. The word "potager" is a French term for an English kitchen garden or an American annual/perennial flower/herb/vegetable garden with pathways. No wonder the French say potager.
To help customers understand this type of gardening, Bookcliff Gardens created a demonstration potager garden this season. Ann from Bookcliff invited me out recently to see their garden, which is absolutely gorgeous and worth visiting, if you haven’t been out there recently.
Here’s a few shots of Bookcliff’s potager:
I have also been busy this year trying to turn my old garden into a potager garden and started a brand new potager garden in another area of my lawn.
My pathways aren’t as pristine (and in some areas, aren’t even visible!), my tomatillos are adding to the overall jungle-like atmosphere, and while some of my planting beds are overcrowded, some are sparse, since either the bugs decimated plants as soon as they poked their leaves above ground or the shade is stunting their growth. Overall, though, I’m tickled with my potager experiment and will do it again next year.
Bookcliff had a garden visitor while I was there; I was happy to take the pic, but equally happy that he’s visiting the Bookcliff potager and not mine.
And, it was with a small degree of consolation that I took this photo: this is a shady area in the Bookcliff demo garden. I somehow felt better that even the pros can’t seem to grow much in the shade.
By Melinda Mawdsley
Friday, August 6, 2010
Weekends are a good time to experiment in the kitchen with local produce. This weekend, my kitchen-loving husband (I'm serious) and I, are making tomato-based sauce from scratch to experiment with what herbs and tomatos we like best.
I think we can afford to make mistakes.
With so many vegetables and fruits running a bit behind schedule this year, we are now into the start of the prime weeks of harvesting season. Harvesting, for me, means going to the Downtown Farmers' Market on Thursdays to pick up my standard share box at the Cameron Place CSA stand. I've been a member at the Palisade CSA for several years now.
Harvesting, for others, means picking from their own gardens, or shopping at area produce stands and farmers' markets. Honestly, the flavor of produce picked on the day you eat it can't be beat. Even grocery stores have better produce right now. Seriously, just go eat peaches and corn on the cob.
Anyway, a couple of coworkers asked me what I'm getting from my CSA right now, so I thought I'd throw up a quick blog entry to fill everyone in. Keep in mind, I'm only halfway through the season.
For those at home, that's, from left, lettuce, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, garlic, peaches and tomatoes. I let my coworker take the beets, turnip and watermelon this week. I just realized I forgot to put the cucumbers in the picutre. Sorry.
That's a haerty meal. It's all organic. It's low in calories and high in nutrients. And it will be tasty. Want to know why?
By Carol Clark
Thursday, August 5, 2010
That first tomato of the year! Always hard to leave it until it fully ripens. The day finally comes and you grab that beauty and pull the perfect fat tomato from the vine. Turn it over and ugh! Blossom End Rot!
Top of tomato:
And now the bottom:
This is the first time I have experienced this disheartening problem. Researching, I discovered either my dirt does not have enough calcium or the plant is stressed and cannot process the calcium. I thought calcium was for bones! Apparently boneless tomatoes need it too.
You can help prevent this from happening by watering evenly. Periods of drought followed by a lot of water definitely stresses out the plant. Mulch your plants when it is hot and it will help keep moisture in and make sure not to overwater.
Other things you can do to prevent the rot — put eggshells in your compost, powdered milk in your bed (garden bed, not your sleeping bed) or, my favorite, TUMS. You have heard of TUMS for your tummy. Well, now the makers of TUMS can have a new advertising campaign, "TUMS for Tomatoes." You just crush the tablet and work it into the dirt. It didn't say whether to use sugar-free or fast-acting, so I chose fast-acting.
Since this ailment appears less frequently as the summer wears on, anything you do will make you look like a gardening genius.