Friday, August 17, 2007

Remember when...

"Welcoming Committee" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

So today’s gardening post is going to be a mish-mash of things. Let’s take care of the working aspect of it first, shall we?

It’s finally rolled around... the impending end of summer. Sure, there’s still two weeks left in August but let’s face it, between those last minute summer parties, getting kids ready for school (and what parent can’t wait for that), finishing up summer outdoor renos and just enjoying those last few lazy, hazy days the time will fly by and before we know it the cooler weather will be setting in and all thoughts of gardening will fall by the wayside until next year. What that means is that it’s time to start harvesting those veggies that you can store: potatoes, garlic, onions, etc if you haven’t already started.

For this part I’ll just address the potatoes as they’re a task unto themselves. You’ll need a decent spade/ shovel, a bucket (or several depending on how many potatoes you’ve grown) and a stiff brush. The process of getting the potatoes ready for storing is fairly simple and even if you’ve only grown a few plants just to have some home grown potatoes the process is the same.
Pick a day when it’s cooler and preferably slightly to completely overcast (but no rain). Get your buckets ready and start digging! Make sure to dig about 8-12 inches around the original plant as the potatoes like to spread out a bit and be sure to dig deep, about 1- 1 ½ ft down. Lift the soil and use your hands to shake the potatoes loose from the soil and put them in a bucket. Do this with each plant and if you happen to find any potato seeds be sure to set them aside for use next year.

After you’ve dug out all your potatoes you’ll need to go through and brush all the dirt off with a good stiff brush, taking care not to damage the skin of the potato. Also, if you’ve grown a large crop and find any discoloured, slightly over-ripe potatoes you must get rid of them. If you’ve ever heard the saying “One bad apple spoils the whole damn bunch” I can very much assure you that the same applies to potatoes.
If you’ve grown a very large crop I’m going to assume you have a cool, dry, dark place to store them (like a cold cellar) and if you’ve just grown a small crop storing them in a drawer will suffice. The last part of it? Enjoy those potatoes knowing that you grew them yourself! :)

Now for a little trip down vegetable memory lane. Perhaps you remember waaaay back to Spring to the little tomato seedling I introduced you to. It was small and rinky-dink looking. In fact, it looked like this:

Now, as I mentioned back then, looking at this sorry little thing it could be hard to believe that something that small could produce anything. However, I vowed it would and that I would post what that wee little plant could grow. You can see what sprouted from it below:

Pretty neat, huh? The thing with these tomatoes (they're a beefsteak variety) they're all this big which I find surprising because we really didn't have a lot of rain this summer and I was pretty sparse with my watering. A little TLC with your veggies can go a long way!

Now, last but not least, a recipe. This is the recipe that was supposed to be for last week so instead I'll be sharing it with you now. This will be for a single serving but it can be easily amended for more.

Stuffed Zucchini

1 zucchini
brown rice
1/4 of an onion, diced
3-4 mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup shredded swiss cheese (or mozzarella as a substitute)

Preheat oven to 350

While oven is pre-heating prepare a single serving of brown rice.

While rice is cooking cut the top off of the zucchini and then slice lengthwise and scoop out innards. Place emptied zucchini onto a cookie sheet, open cavity side up, and set the innards aside in a bowl.

Brush the emptied zucchini lightly with olive oil

In fry pan over medium heat cook the onion and mushrooms (I use margarine to cook them but you can use oil as well) until tender, onions should be nicely browned. When done cooking add to the zucchini innards and mix well.

When rice is done, add to the zucchini, onion and mushroom mixture, stirring together well. Divide mixture in half and add to the zucchini "bowls" on the cookie sheet.

Once each "bowl" is filled with mixture, pat down gently and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.


I occasionally add some Italian seasoning as well to the zucchini, onion and mushroom mixture before I add it to the zucchini bowls but you can add any seasoning you like.

So that's the gardening post for today. Later today after the Other Half gets home from work we're off camping for the week-end with some friends. I've been looking forward to this little trip all Summer and just taking a break from the day to day routine. So, on that note I'll sign off for the week-end as I still have some last minute packing and tidying up to do.

Enjoy your week-end!!

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