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Showing posts from December, 2008

Kid-Friendly Veggie Recipes

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Families who have to cope with a nightly struggle over who won’t eat what vegetable might be interested in the Love Your Veggies™ Campaign (LoveYourVeggies.com). Readers may also want to check out Chef Art Smith’s (photo) commonthreads.orgto read about getting children involved with vegetable gardening and healthy cooking. I’m sure kids are not the only ones falling short of the recommended 2-5 cups of daily fruit and vegetables, so treat yourself to one of Art’s tasty dishes: Moroccan Chicken with Roasted Vegetable Couscous Ingredients: 1 cup whole wheat couscous 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 bay leaves 5 whole cloves, crushed ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon dried, ground turmeric ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped 1 16-oz. can garbanzo beans 1 16-oz. can crushed tomatoes 1 48-oz. can chicken broth 2 carrots cut into ½-inch pieces 1 zucchini cut into ½-inch pieces 1 packet Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing and Seasonin…

Gardening as Process: Planning and Mapping –2

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Once you’ve defined your activity areas, it’s time to take inventory of the plants you already have. At one extreme, a relatively new house will have next to nothing. At the other, your house, like mine, may be in the middle of the woods.On an open lot, you’ll probably want to plot every tree, large or small. In a mature garden, scalloped-edged bubbles can indicate a stand of deciduous trees; spikey-edged bubbles, an evergreen stand. If you have only a few young trees, you’ll need to imagine what they’ll look like when fully grown, for example into a 90-foot tall, three-foot diameter oak, with a canopy 50 feet wide. Your landscape map should indicate the mature size of your plants.Next, it’s time to edit. If you have a small city lot, take out that oak now, while you still can and replace it with a tree that’s more in keeping with the scale of your garden, a service tree (Amelanchier) for example. Other readily available choices are ornamental cherry (Prunus), flowering dogwood (Cornu…

Gardening as Process: Planning and Mapping -1

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The next step in creating a garden is to map out what goes where. This can be as simple or complex as you like. You can purchase a computer-based design program, buy a plastic landscape template, or just make a bubble diagram. I prefer to start with a bubble diagram on 11” x 17” quadrille paper, which allows you to work on the larger scale needed to envision an entire yard. Use pencil and get a big eraser.Next, you need to step outside. Look around. What are your lines of sight? Where is your eye naturally drawn? For better or for worse, these are your existing focal points. It’s important to deal with reality here, because you’re gathering vital information that will make or break your garden design. Don’t shrink from drawing an arrow from your back door to your neighbor’s plastic play set, if that is the dominant element in your garden view. Until you address such 800-pound gorillas, the garden will never look right. Compare where your eye is drawn now to where you would like it to …

Gardening as Process: Dreaming It into Existence

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Gardening is a process. Elements of that process are, in their own way, like the elements of any creative undertaking. You can’t somehow leap to a finished garden without going through all of the steps. Might as well make them fun.

Since the manual labor of fashioning the garden takes place during the growing season, for most of us in the northern hemisphere fall or winter is the best time to take the first step in the process --- dreaming and planning. With a cup of cider to warm your hands, a fire in the fireplace, a fuzzy throw to snuggle under, a pile of books and magazines to stimulate ideas, and notebooks or sketchbooks to capture your thoughts, many a pleasant day can be devoted to what you want your garden to become.
Since you’re just dreaming, you might as well put everything you could possibly want into your vision of the perfect garden (editing things out comes later). Lawn, no lawn, or minimal lawn? Border beds, island beds, or both? Trees, shrubs, annuals, or perennials? Ho…