Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, July 5, 2015


You know how zucchini is a bit of a garden joke?  Hear stories of how people leave anonymous packages of zucchini on their neighbor's doorsteps, on a coworker's desk, or in a stranger's car?  (Of course, if you have that much, donate it to a food bank!).  I love zucchini and, until now, have never had enough.  And here is the reason:

Dehydrator Zucchini Chips

These amazing chips are crunchy, though their crisp will not last as long as commercial potato chips.  We love them!

3 medium zucchini, stem and bottom removed 
A few T's oil
1 t smoked paprika 
1 t chipotle chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt OR
equivalent amount of chili powder and salt OR
whatever strikes your fancy!

Using a food processor (I used my 1/4 inch slicing blade) or mandolin, slice the zucchini.  Put it in a bowl and drizzle in 1 T of oil.  
Using your hands, gently separate the zucchini slices and rub the oil on.
Load up your food processor trays.
Mix the spices, and sprinkle it on the zucchini slices.
Dehydrate for three hours (will need more time if they are thicker than mine) and gobble 'em up!

Why do I have so much zucchini now?  First, the raised beds filled with soil, compost and mushroom compost, i.e., plant rocket fuel, created healthy growth.  And, the vine borers have been stymied, until now, by frequent applications of Surround (trademarked kaolin clay that is mixed with water, sprayed on and acts as an irritant  barrier to pests).  
Happy Gardening!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Arms Race Escalates

It is me, armed with recipes, versus....the ZUCCHINI!
Today's harvest for this family of two:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Today in the Garden: June 15, 2015

Top, left to right: tropical hibiscus, squash blossoms, castor bean plant in flower.
Middle row: butterfly weed, snow-on-the-mountain white pine, "Spider-Man" day lily.
Bottom row: a white calpogon orchid amidst the pitcher plants, "Jester" ornamental millet, 
volunteer Black-eyed Susans.
Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tonight's Salad

We have salad for dinner a couple of nights per week.  The stars of tonight's salad?
Frisée and the young leaves of amaranth, a nutrition-packed red "green!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Today in My Garden, June 2, 2015

A little hard to see, but this is what's blooming here today:
Left, Dracunculus vulgaris, common name Voodoo Lily or Little Dragon.  A fly-
pollinated plant, it is meat colored and smells bad (for about one day) and
I love it!  See the fly on it?
Center and right rows, left to right: Wild Aztec Tobacco (to draw, not smoke); common
Tiger lily; autumn sage, a hummingbird plant; castor bean (also grown to draw);
red hot poker (kniphofia) with old fashioned rose campion and: banana 
palms under the dogwood.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saving Butterflies? Now Save the Bees

I just posted a bit about planting milkweeds to help support monarch butterflies.  What about specialist bees?  These bees, often native, are like some butterflies, in that they need specific host plants.  Virginia has a high proportion of specialist bees.  For more information, read this:  http://vnps.org/specialist-bees-need-special-plants/

and go here for a list of plants to support these bees:  http://vnps.org/plants-for-specialist-bees/

Why support bees?  We need all the bees we can get for food production and for the very existence of many plants!