Monthly Archives: September 2018

Zucchini On My Mind

Summer Harvest Goes Out In Style Summer’s end fills our kitchens with tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and summer squash. Most of us have many ways to turn garden abundance into pantry staples, but those over-achieving zucchini have a lot of folks … Continue reading

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Garden Chutneys, Fresh & Cooked

The pest involved is a fungus, Venturia pyrina. Like so many plant enemies, this one nestles into fallen leaves under the trees. Refreshed by rain, it releases floods of spores during peak blossom time, infecting each new crop. Scab affects European pears, notably Bartlett relatives, not Asian pears or apples (different pests involved there). Happily, a few simple steps can control this disfiguring disease and keep future fruit unmarred. They’ll also help build healthier soil and sweeten future crops as soil humus increases. And here’s more good news: go ahead and compost this year’s drops and scabby fruit. An active, hot compost pile is already full of beneficial bacteria and fungi that will eat scab spores alive. Continue reading

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Aiding & Abetting Carbon Draw Down

Clearly, the bigger our property, the better we can help build soil humus levels and improve carbon storage, but even landless apartment dwellers can help. All of us can get involved with local and regional projects where knowledge about soil sequestering may be missing. Community gardens, local farms, land trust use, public land use, school districts and local and regional parks can all benefit the earth through better soil stewardship. Most will need encouragement to do the needful, and that’s where you and I come in. Continue reading

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Smoke House Magic

Peppers aren’t the only game in town, however. Jim agreed to smoke some ripe tomatoes for me, as well as eggplants, green beans and kale. Why not? Smoked eggplant makes fabulous baba ganouj, while smoked tomatoes make the simplest pasta sauce marvelous, with exceptional depth of flavor. Green beans…well, hmm. I thought they might make great snacks but not so much. They’re good in soups and chile, though. Smoked kale is similarly disappointing; oven roasted kale chips are far tastier with way better texture. Smoked corn on the cob is delicious, needing only a little sprinkle of garlic salt to make it magical. Smoked carrots and mushrooms are best in stews, soups, or casseroles, where a small piece can add a lively bass note; potato leek soup with smoked mushrooms becomes mysteriously rich and chicken casserole with smoked carrots gains depth and finish. Continue reading

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