Category Archives: Sustainable Gardening

Savoring The First Strawberries

Although nothing beats eating sun-warm strawberries straight from the garden, these enticing fruits lend themselves to a wide range of treatments, from sweet to savory. After eating a few day’s worth of naked berries, I’m ready for a few classics. For many years, my family has celebrated the start of local strawberry season by enjoying strawberry shortcake for dinner. There are, of course, many versions to try, but after a fair amount of playful experimentation, I’ve plumped for these light, flaky, slimmed down shortcakes, which gain flavor, fragrance, and a tender crumb from whole wheat pastry flour.

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

Berries:
6 cups strawberries, hulled & quartered
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup

Combine in a bowl and set aside to macerate for at least 15 minutes.

Cream:
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1-2 teaspoons sugar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Whip cream to soft peaks, add sugar and vanilla and whip for 10-15 seconds more. Set aside.

Shortcakes:
2 cups whole wheat (or any) pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon cardamom or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR coconut oil
3/4 cup milk (almond if not cow)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and blend for 5 seconds. Add butter and process for 10 seconds or until evenly distributed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in milk, starting with 1/2 cup, adding just enough for the dough to form a ball (not too sticky). Pat into four rounds 1/2 inch high and bake at 450 until golden (12-15 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes, then split in half like a bun, using a fork, and fill with berries and cream. Serves at least one. Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Gardening With Children, Growing Berry Crops, Planting & Transplanting, preserving food, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Return Of Human Compost

Another reason for my rumination is that, at the last obit writing session, I learned that a “new” way of dealing with empty bodies has become possible. Until now, human bodies in Washington had to be embalmed or cremated. Last week, the Washington State Legislature passed SB 5001, legalizing both alkaline hydrolysis (“water cremation”) and human composting. The impetus for this bill came from research done at Washington State University using bodies donated for this purpose by green burial proponents. The research team developed technology has been developed that involves burying a body in a box filled with wood chips and straw. Treated just like any compost, the mixture eventually becomes about a cubic yard of soil that can be used in home gardens. An eco-conscious company called ReCompose hopes to be in the human composting business by 2020. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Filling A Tiny Garden

Though the old wood fence is sagging and rotting, I love the weathered look. Indeed, I’m considering lifting the panels off the ground and hanging them in sturdy frames like artwork, so they help screen our space from the neighbors but aren’t rotting from soil contact. One section is already gone; when I was discussing ideas with my clever house contractor (the uncle of my long-time garden guy), my neighbor popped her head over the fence and said her elderly mother loved to grow tomatoes but this section of fence blocked her light. In response, Jorge simply lifted the 8-foot panel away. Poof! We’ll replace that section with stockade wire and build out a bed to hold my three-way espalier apple tree, which I’ll train on the wire. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Drainage, Garden Design, Health & Wellbeing, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Tax On Plants

Print PDF Manipulating Deer Today is tax day and the local deer seem to have figured that out. The deer tax is paid in foliage and flowers, sometimes fruit, but as with all taxes, it would be easier to bear … Continue reading

Posted in Garden Design, Health & Wellbeing, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , | 2 Comments