Can you believe it is August already? The summer has been warm and pleasant, not the string of 90-plus degree days we had last summer! It is perfect weather for just about everything. The garden is loving it, we can enjoy outdoor activities without suffering from too much sun and heat, it is wonderful. Just because it isn’t really hot, we want to remind you to keep yourself hydrated. There is still a lot of summer left, so get out and enjoy it.
This week we featured...
Vine to Table – Zucchini
It is zucchini season and that means lots of tasty zucchini for everyone. However, most people usually only enjoy this prolific vegetable on the grill or in zucchini bread. Judy recently found a new cookbook written by a friend of hers called From Vine to Table: The Unexpected Joy of Zucchini Magic. A very interesting title, but it rings true. The cookbook is loaded with tons of great zucchini recipes, covering from breakfast to dessert! We met with the author, Christina Cavallaro Edick, at the Standard TV and Appliance location in Beaverton to try one of the recipes from the book. The recipe was called ‘Sicilian Caponata Marries Pasta’. This dish had a story behind it. Christina and her husband were visiting relatives in Italy and, due to a mix-up, arrived a week early! Her aunt whipped up this dish with a few other ingredients she had in her kitchen in a few minutes. The secret ingredient in the recipe, sardines! Before you make a face and turn away, listen to how it is made.
She started with a 16 oz. package of angel hair pasta. That was cooked and set aside. Then in a pan she sautéed in olive oil, ½ a chopped medium onion, 1 medium chopped red pepper, and 1 medium zucchini chopped into small cubes. These were cooked until they were softened. Then she added 2 tablespoons of raisins, 2 of pine nuts and 2 of capers and an entire can of sardines that had been chopped up. Then she added the precooked pasta and stirred it all together and served it. It was wonderful! The sardine flavor added the right amount of zest to the dish.
This is just one of the many dishes that she has in the cookbook. In fact, in just looking through the book, producer Jeff marked nearly a dozen recipes he wants to try! If you want to pick up this book, you can go to Amazon, or her website ‘Christina’s Food and Travel’. You can also find it at Bauman’s Farm and Garden, and at the Al’s Home and Garden in Sherwood.
We also want to thank Standard TV and Appliance (503-619-0500) for letting us use their great demonstration kitchen at the Beaverton store. It was the Jenn-Air Pro Style range and it was fantastic. We wanted to try the oven, which even has Wi-Fi! Maybe next time.
Loquats and Figs
Growing your own fruit is a big thing these days. A lot of people want to do something ‘easy’ like apples, cherries or pears, but they are not the easiest fruit to start with. To find out a couple of fruits that are very easy to grow, we stopped by One Green World (1-877-353-4028) and talked with Sam. The two unique fruits he wanted to share were the Loquat and the Fig. The loquat is a relative of the apple and pear, and taste like a combination of an apricot, plum and a cherry, but they look much different. They bloom in the winter and are relatively hardy for our area. They produce fruit in clusters and have a very short shelf life, which is why you don’t see them in the stores very often. Still, it is a great fruit to try in your garden.
The second fruit was the fig, which is one of the easiest fruits to grow in our area. They are so easy to grow that you can find them wild in a lot of European countries. Once they are established they are also extremely drought tolerant. A lot of people have only experienced figs in the famous ‘Fig Newtons’, but there are so many different varieties and flavors that you shouldn’t judge the whole fruit on one type or flavor. These are also known to produce a huge amount of fruit, so you definitely will get your money’s worth from this tree!
If you are looking for some cool and unusual fruits, or any other unique plants, check out One Green World.
How Plants Work - Timber Press
We like to think we know everything when it comes to gardening, but there are so many variables in plants and how they grow! We met up with Timber Press author and Washington State University Extension Agent, Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott recently in downtown Portland. She has written the book ‘How Plants Work’. This book answers a lot of garden questions from a science perspective. It is amazing what plants do and how they function. From processing food, to reacting to light and even how they use water, this book gives you the science behind how they grow and thrive, and even the reasons why they don’t thrive!
She told us a couple of stories behind the reasons for writing this great book, but mainly she wanted to arm the gardener with knowledge. That knowledge will help make you a better gardener. You can pick up her book at your local book store of through the Timber Press website. You can also get more great gardening information through her blog and Facebook pages.
Summer is coming and that means it is time to get your irrigation ready for watering your lawn and garden, but there are so many different sprinklers out there, which ones work the best? To get that question answered and to learn more about water wise gardening we stopped and talked to Kevin who works for the City of Lake Oswego and the Regional Water Providers Consortium. We met him at Foothills Park in Lake Oswego where they had a bunch of different kinds of sprinklers in use. We started in a field where we had the old stand-by the oscillating sprinkler. This is the one that just goes back and forth. We also saw a spinner type, which just shoots water up in the air in a round pattern. Then we also saw an impact sprinkler, this one moves in a circular pattern and can be limited some; it can do a half circle or smaller. The benefit to these sprinklers is that they are movable and can be placed anywhere around the garden. The drawback is that they don’t always water evenly and you will always have a hose running across your lawn or garden.
We then moved to another area of the park to look at in-ground systems. The first area had pop-up sprays. These simply pop-up when the system is on and water a pre-determined pattern or area. They usually put out a fine mist which can be blown around on a windy day. They can also drift over time and end up watering sidewalks and driveways if you don’t keep an eye on them. Kevin recommended that you fire up your system at the beginning of the season and see if they need to be redirected. Another sprinkler in this area was the rotor sprinkler. These pop up like the spray type, but they move back and forth over an area and deliver a heavier stream of water. They too can drift and get out of alignment and should be checked at the beginning of the season.
Finally we moved to our final area of the park. In this area we found the ‘Multi-stream rotators’. These are the newest in sprinklers for the garden. They move streams of water across the lawn or garden and deliver it as a low-flow sprinkler so you get less run-off. To prove how much better it was than the other sprinklers we set out some measuring cups in the lawn and let the system run for about 5 minutes. It was dramatic. The system delivered the water evenly and at a rate where the lawn was well watered and not saturated. We also did the same measurements with some of the older sprinklers and saw a lot of waste. In fact, Kevin told us that by simply replacing the older pop-ups with these newer multi-stream rotators you could save up to 30 percent on your water use in the garden. If you would like to learn how you can save water, and money, in the garden you can get tips like these at the Regional Water Providers Consortium website at www.Conserveh2o.org.