Category Archives: Sustainable Living

Ready For Fall, Y’all?

As my early beets are fattening up, we’re eating them almost daily, boiled, roasted, or raw. In my book, few summer treats are as delicious as a raw beet salad lively with spunky sweet onions and the lush sweetness of ripe fruit. Naturally, along with the usual autumn crops I’m planting youngster beets to bring me more bounty this fall. Golden and tender, Boldor keeps its pretty color when cooked, and youngsters taste sweet enough to use raw in salads, grated or sliced thinly and tossed with bitter greens. Sliced crosswise, Chioggia, the classic Italian striped beet, displays concentric circles of red and white that look beautiful on the plate. The pattern is most dramatic on smaller beets, so harvest them when they’re about 2 inches across if you want to wow your friends with a stunning raw salad. Like what? So glad you asked! Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plants That Feel Like Home

Print PDFPlanting must harmonize with neighbor’s cars and backdrop shrubs, of course. Comfort And Joy Whenever we move to a new home, there’s always a period of adjustment as dreamy ideas start to mesh with reality. When I first realized … Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Garden Design, Hardy Herbs, Planting & Transplanting, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Savory Ways With Ubiquitous Veg

Since squash are so very prolific, you can harvest squash blossoms freely, especially if you stick to the males, found on slender stems. Females grow on thicker stems and often have a tiny squash already forming while the flower still looks fresh. Squash blossoms must be picked and used as soon as possible; to keep them for a few hours, remove the stamens from each flower, rinse blossoms well and gently spin dry in a salad spinner lined with paper towels. Add raw squash blossoms to salads, use them to garnish soup, or stuff them with ricotta blended with chopped olives, or goat cheese, salsa, and green onions. Both zucchini or straight neck squash and flowers work well in this zippy raw salad, which I make with Kosmic Kale, an especially tender perennial variety with lovely variegated leaves. Continue reading

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Singing With the Bees

As I thinned the vigorous stems, I found tomatoes ripening on every plant. As always, I interplanted annuals and a few perennials with my edibles and am happy to see them alive with bees and other pollinators. While tomatoes are self-fertile and pollinated mainly by wind or vibration, it turns out that fruit set is greatly increased by the presence of certain bees, who vibrate their wings to the tone of middle C. In this case, the beneficial bees are not European honeybees but native bumbles and mud bees as well as various other native pollinators. To encourage the bees, I’m planting lots of annuals, and to encourage great tomato set, I’m humming favorite songs. Fortunately, the key of C is nearly universal; you can sing almost anything in C, as lots of folk songs demonstrate. Can’t sing? Use a middle C tuning fork to help tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and blueberries shed way more pollen by vibration, aka buzz pollination. Isn’t that so amazingly marvelous? Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Care & Feeding, Early Crops, Grafted Plants, Pollinators, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment