Monthly Archives: July 2014

Roses love garlic

My aunt doesn’t usually listen when I talk companion planting, but apparently she was listening when I quoted Lois Riotte‘s iconic companion planting book of the same name: roses love garlic. It shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Flowers are her thing, while veggies are mine.

On my last visit in June, she excited told me of how she’d planted a cloves of garlic from the grocery store with her roses and then proceeded to show me where she put them:

Garlic in the balcony planter

Garlic in the balcony planter

And the hanging basket!

And the hanging basket! Makes a nice accent.

It's hard to see here but it's a tiny sliver of green

It’s hard to see here but it’s a tiny sliver of green in the center of the photo, coming up from the soil

The garlic doesn’t seem to be keeping the red lily beetles from devouring the lily leaves to the left, but the flowers in general seem to be doing well.

We think the giant bush in the centre is marigold that I planted from seed.

We’re hoping the giant bush in the center is marigold that I planted from seed.

Incidentally, I knew nothing about the red lily beetle until I started writing this post. The beetle is a beautiful, rich red colour. I’d seen it a few times on the leaves and last weekend when I visited I let one walk across my fingers. I didn’t realize how much damage they do. The organic way of dealing with them seems to be to manually remove, squish and drown or use diatomaceous earth. More on organic control:

Fighting lily leaf beetles organically

City of Calgary Pest Management

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What happens when you leave your garden unattended for 3 weeks…

The garden becomes a jungle

Potatos (flowering),

Potatoes (flowering), and assortment of weeds and mystery plants

Weeds invade

Strawberry plants surrounded by weeds

Strawberry plants surrounded by weeds

Leafminers invade your beet greens

Tasty!

Tasty!

What you thought were beans turn out to be morning glory (for the second 2nd year in a row) – and they’ve taken over

Glorious!

Glorious!

One zucchini plant becomes two

Yep - there are two here

Probably should have noticed this earlier

You miss the last of scape season

No more scapes and the leaves are starting to turn brown. Oh well, soon it will be time for garlic!

No more scapes and the leaves are starting to turn brown. Oh well, soon it will be time for fresh garlic!

 

 

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Such a cool challenge!

A post came up in my Facebook newsfeed this week about a rookie gardener taking up the challenge to live off the products of his garden (and local hunting) for the month of August:

Is It Possible to Survive Off of the Garden?

What a cool idea.

Could you do it?

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Zucchini chips

It’s a drizzly day. Perfect time to try making zucchini chips. Here goes my first attempt: I found this recipe online from the Wishful Chef blog and used the giant zucchini from the garden.

I found an old mandolin of my uncle`s that looked like it was from the 70s.  It took him a while to remember which attachment I was supposed to add, but once we figured it out it was very simple to use.

Attempting to slice as thinly as possible

Attempting to slice as thinly as possible

Luckily the zucchini provided it`s own attachment for preventing me from chopping my fingers off

Luckily the zucchini provided it`s own attachment to prevent me from chopping my fingers off

I`ve found other recipes that said bake them for 2+ hours (and recipes for dehydrators, but I don`t have one). I liked this one because it was simple, with few ingredients, and the cooking time was only 30-45 minutes.

Not every even but it made a lot!

Not very even but it made a lot!

First batch in the oven!

First batch brushed with olive oil and salt in the oven!

Because my slices were uneven, the thinnest parts were brown and crispy while the thicker parts barely changed colour and were soft after 30 minutes. But the taste of the cooked part was unbelieveable! Just like my favorite root chips.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

I would definitely try this recipe again, with other roots too (sweet potato, beets, etc). Perhaps my slices turned out uneven because I used the mandolin on an angle or applied uneven pressure. Maybe using a smaller zucchini would have given me more control.

Big take home messages for zucchini chips:

  • Thinner is better – use a mandolin if you can
  • Even-ness of the slices is important
  • Less salt is better – zucchini shrink and the salt concentrates
  • Less oil is better or they turn out soggy – use a basting brush or cooking spray
  • Watch them closely as oven temps vary
zucchini chips

A little oily and soggy but still yummy. My uncle took my basting brush to season hamburgers for the grill so I had to drizzle using a spoon. Brush is better!

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