by Charlene Burgi
Years ago when we had the nursery in Novato, our retired neighbor Danny, who owned and sold the most incredible fuchsias, would visit us on a daily basis. He would sometimes offer a helping hand, and we could always count on him sharing his Nebraska gardening wisdoms with customers. On occasion customers would come in spouting new or creative ideas to us. After they left, Danny would quip, “They’ve been reading too many books.”
I have found in retirement that I, too, am reading too many books and articles with creative, time-saving ideas for gardening and canning. Some ideas have been a flop—like the zucchini apple pie. In my defense, sheer desperation to do something with the over-abundance of zucchini made me willing to try anything! While the taste was okay, the texture was a far cry from what one would expect from apple pie. The compost bin was on the receiving end of that experiment.
Not to be dissuaded, I continued to peruse literature that crossed my path for tips to help me beat the upcoming changes in the weather. For example, composting always slows way down in the winter months due to the lack of heat. One idea I read suggested freezing all kitchen compost scraps to break down the molecular cells faster than placing the scraps in the compost, and then layering this mix with a top-dressing of brown vegetation. The same article also suggested putting all food scraps in the blender to further speed the composting process and mixing the “slush” with wood shavings.
Wading through the soon-to-be-snow-covered landscape to deposit anything into the compost bins did not sound appealing since I moved the bins to the south 40. My mind shifted to the possibility of starting a worm bin in the garage. Vermicomposting—or composting with worms—is an excellent method for quickly composting kitchen scrapes. The garage will maintain a temperature sustainable for the red worms, and I can avoid daily composting treks in inclement weather. The byproduct of worm castings and organic liquid manure will supply the greenhouse and kitchen herb garden all winter long. As you would guess, I started reading all I could about vermiculture, and it is placed high on my to-do list with the intent of blogging about it in the future.
Meanwhile, there have been some successes with testing out new recipes, and I wanted to share this winner with you. I must admit there were several attempts before finding …
The REAL Pesto Zucchini Soup
3 pounds of zucchini
2 medium onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup prepared pesto
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Basil leaves for garnish
Cut one zucchini into matchstick size for garnish. Cook onions until soft. Slice remaining zucchini into rounds. Add zucchini and 1 cup of broth to onions. Boil covered until zucchini is very tender. Blend these cooked ingredients until smooth in a food processor or blender. Place blended ingredients back into the pot and add remaining broth. Add pesto and cheese. You can refrigerate for two days, or freeze for a winter treat. The rating thus far has been five stars! Bon appetite.
And now onto new reading!
Join Us for These Upcoming Gardening Events
MMWD will be at these upcoming events to answer questions about rebates and our other water conservation programs. Drop by our table to say hello!
September 28: A Garden for All Seasons – Edibles
Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross
This all-day, information-packed event includes UC Marin Master Gardener talks, demonstrations, consultations, gardening vendors, food and refreshments. Learn how to create your own edible paradise. Tickets are $25 for an all-day pass including keynote speakers, or $10 for day pass only. Learn more.
September 29: Lose Your Lawn the Bay-Friendly Way
Sloat Garden Center, 700 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Kentfield
October 5: Lose Your Lawn the Bay-Friendly Way
Sloat Garden Center, 401 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley
Learn how to tear out your lawn without tearing out your lawn! Free how-to talk by Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscape Professionals at 10:30 a.m., followed by tabling noon to 1:00 p.m., where you can get one-on-one advice from garden experts. Learn more.
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