Author Archives: Ann Lovejoy

Healing The Planet Together

Last week I visited several gardens where soils were powder dry after the long baking summer. Watching desiccated soil puff off a shovel like dust in the wind, I was reminded of the dustbowl days when foolish and ignorant farming practices destroyed native plants and soils. One highly productive thing we can do to help repair the ecological damage to our precious world is to amend impoverished soil. Healing treatments include deep mulching with aged compost and/or digested dairy manures, both of which help to renew soil tilth and texture as well as the nutrient balance. This fall, heap weary beds high with fallen foliage, shredding the larger leaves by running over them with a mower. A foot of leaves isn’t too much for empty or new beds, and it’s not too much for empty bays between larger shrubs or areas around trees. Do not till in these amendments; tilling is now considered an ultimately destructive practice. Just layer them on, autumn and spring. Every. Single. Year. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Preserving Fruits And Vegetables

Of course, there’s always some fruit that isn’t quite ripe or is perhaps a bit sub par in flavor. Among the tastiest things to do with such sad stuff is roast it. Roasting awakens the latent sugars hidden in sour fruit and dull vegetables as well. When big fat cherries taste bland, roast them for 20 minutes and prepare to be amazed. Same with peaches and nectarines, or plums and pears. You can then use the gilded, caramelized results in all sorts of dishes, savory or sweet. For starters, try mashing bits of caramelized fruit into soft goat cheese for a marvelous garnish for roast chicken or grilled fish. You can also freeze these roasted gems and use them all fall and winter. Continue reading

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Time To Plant Cool Season Starts

Long considered peasant food, kale boasts dozens of beautiful, tasty forms that can be harvested pretty much year round. Over the past decade, kale won a place in the trendiest of kitchens, especially in gorgeous forms such as Beira, a Portugese Sea Kale with large, tender leaves of jade green ribbed in ivory. The thick ribs are as crisp as celery, while the leaves, sliced into chiffonade, are delicious in soups and stir fries. Brilliant grass green Prizm won awards when introduced in 2016 and no wonder; the almost stemless, super curly, cut-and-come-again leaves are excellent raw or cooked. I also love Oregon-bred Dazzling Blue, partly because I like the song (thanks, Paul Simon) but mostly because it’s amazing; blue-green foliage with bright pink ribs tastes as sweet as its lacinato parents. Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Planting & Transplanting, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Homemade Ice Cream

With many traditional recipes, homemade ice cream of any flavor is best the first day, as it tends to get rock hard over time. That wasn’t a problem in the past, when refrigerators were really ice boxes and freezers were almost unknown. Ice cream was for eating fresh and leftovers simply didn’t happen. To solve the problem, contemporary recipes often include a magic ingredient to keep ice cream silky; usually some form of corn syrup, which I (of course) eschew. However, a little experimentation showed that brown rice syrup is an excellent substitute, resulting in ice cream that’s satisfyingly dense yet not too hard. It also makes for ice cream that’s more creamy and less tooth-achingly sweet, and makes fruit flavors more prominent. Continue reading

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