Garden Advice: Keep Molasses in the Kitchen

Gingerbread man_Erie_LAH_6072There has been a sudden flurry of articles and ads all promoting molasses as a valuable garden fertilizer/weed killer/pesticide. I find the latter use particularly humorous. Molasses is sweet. Won’t that attract critters? I bet our resident bunnies would adore molasses-coated shrubs.

I have two bits of advice about using molasses in the garden. My first recommendation is to invest in Grandma’s Molasses stock. If my Pinterest feed is any indication, molasses should sell well in the near future.


Two Pestos You’ll Love

Basil @DBG LAH 175Summer is ending. For the past month, my potted basil plants have been doing their best to flower. I know that if I let them go to seed, they would die, so I’ve been pinching off the buds. However, now our nights are dipping into the 40s—too cold for these tropical annuals. Even if they don’t freeze, the chill turns the leaves black—not very appetizing. I’ve hauled the plants inside, but I can’t postpone the inevitable. It’s time to make pesto.

There’s no aroma quite like that of freshly made pesto, and that’s exactly what my kitchen smells like right now. I have two favorite pesto recipes, and I’d like to share them with you so your kitchen can smell this amazing too.


Too Much Zucchini 2.0

_20140820_154412.jpgOne of our daughters lives north of Seattle, where plants like to grow. She just called, all excited to tell me about her veggie garden. It seems that last year she planted six zucchini seeds, and none of them survived. She was a novice gardener and planted the seeds too deeply. Then, the  local rabbit population gnawed off the two sprouts that managed to reach daylight.

_20140820_154644.jpgThis year, a bit wiser, she decided to try again. There were a dozen seeds left in the packet. Assuming that she would get a similar germination rate as the previous summer—after all, these were old seeds, right?—she went ahead and planted all twelve seeds. Yes, twelve. Even better, she planted them six inches apart along the 4-foot wide end of her raised bed!

You guessed it. Ten of the twelve seeds sprouted and rapidly grew into vigorous, prolific squash plants. Did I mention that she only has a small, 4 x 8 foot raised bed? You can see her monster zucchini plants in these photos. (That is one huge zucchini leaf, and her hand for comparison!)


Too Much Zucchini?

  • Zucchini - large @DBG LAH 355Are you growing zucchini in your garden?
  • Are your plants… prolific?
  • Do your neighbors hide when they see you coming?
  • Do you sneak over at midnight to leave it on their porch?

You might be showing signs of zucchini overabundance! Luckily for you, I have some suggestions for dealing with an onslaught of squash. (And if you don’t have too many zucchinis, check out my post on squash pollination.)

If you’re going to use up zucchini, you have to prepare it in appetizing ways. No one wants to stare at a mess of soggy, overcooked squash day after day after day. For best results, vary your recipes enough that no one notices the main ingredient stays the same. Here are some suggestions to get you started…


Feeding Hummers

broad-tailed-hummingbird_redrocksranch-hwy115-co_lah_3795Right on schedule, I hear the shrill whistle of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird’s wings. I’m writing this on May 1, and I just had my first tiny visitor of the season—on the exact same date as last year. I’d hung the feeder a few days ago, just in case, but not one bird stopped by until today. Amazing.

I’ve had a feeder outside my kitchen window every summer for about eight years now. One year, May 1 brought a heavy snowfall, with temperatures in the 20s and the wind whistling about the eaves. Surely the birds were snuggled somewhere safe and warm, I thought. Maybe most birds were, but at least one Broad-tail braved the storm to get to my feeder. If the hummingbirds are that eager (desperate?) to have a sugar water snack, the least I can do is offer what they expect.


Beautiful Edibles

733-lunch-1I love salads. Wash and tear some crisp, homegrown lettuce. Add a few sprouts, some mizuna leaves (mizuna grows exceptionally well in my garden) and other greens. Slice up some green onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, throw in a few flowers, and whisk together a light vinaigrette to pour over the top. Toss it all together, and yum!

Wait, you say. Flowers? You put flowers in your salads?