Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May crops and more...

It's zucchini season. I planted various types of squash
 at the beginning of March. The zucchinis
 win the race with fruit on the table by the end of April.

It's zucchini season!

I planted Green Tiger Zucchini Hybrid seeds by Burpee at the beginning of March along with 3 other types of squash—butternut, summer, and one called Delicata, which is white with green stripes on the outside, but orange on the inside. The others are just beginning to form fruit, while the zucchini harvest began at the end of April.

I used less than 1/4 of one in a stir fry, but since more are on the way, I decided to grate the rest of these 2 zucchinis for bread and for freezing. This produced 8 cups of zucchini strings—4 for bread and 4 for freezing in two 2-cup packages.

I combined 2 different recipes for the zucchini bread and it was delicious, so here's the combined recipe...
I froze 4 cups of grated zucchini in 2 packages for later use.  Yummy zucchini bread, hot from the oven...

Zucchini bread recipe

Ingredients: (for one 9" x 5" loaf)
Dry ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
(or 1 cup all purpose & 1 cup whole wheat)
1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins or currents (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
(or sunflower seeds)
Powered sugar for dusting

Wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups grated zucchini
Grate the zucchini first and let it sit in a
colander in the sink to drain for 15 minutes
or so. Squeeze out the excess moisture before using.

Mix the dry ingredients (except for the sugar) in a large bowl.

Beat the eggs with the olive oil with fork in
a small bowl. When the zucchini is ready, add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and then stir in the zucchini. Don't over-mix.

Scoop the mixture into a greased pan and
spread it out evenly in the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until
the top of the bread is firm. Dust with
powdered sugar to taste.
Best served warm with butter.

Elsewhere in the edible gardens

A black swallowtail cat has slim pickings on the almost dead dill, while the parsley below is lush. Blueberries!
Black swallowtail butterflies seek out members of the carrot family for their larvae, but these days they seem to prefer our crops, such as dill or parsley, to the native species. Once the egg has been laid, though, the cats will not move from dill to parsley no matter how much more food is available. I did push over a slightly less dead dill plant next to the one with the most caterpillars. Maybe they found it, but all the cats were gone the next day. When food is short, the adult butterflies will be smaller.

We have a great crop of blueberries this year and for some reason the birds are not eating them. All the more for us! Read my article on our Florida blueberries. I planted them back in 2009 and they've been a good gardening investment requiring very little maintenance over the years.

A tabbouleh harvest: parsley, a small zucchini, cutting celery, garlic chives, and some tender cabbage leaves. I'd planted a different type of marigold back at the beginning of March, but I didn't know it would be so tall. Half of them are chopped off for use in preparing my okra swales.
Speaking of parsley, here's a harvest for a tabbouleh, which my husband made for us. So good and good for us, as well. Here's a link to his tabbouleh recipe.

The marigolds I planted back at the beginning of March were a tall variety, which turned out to be a good thing—I cut off the tops to help reduce root knot nematodes in the bed where I'll plant my okra. See my post Results: the nematode experiment for the details of the how and why.
Getting ready for okra includes burying marigolds to eliminate the root knot nematodes.  Swales are ready to go. After patting them in place, I wet them down and mulched with pine needles.
I prepared the okra bed by digging down about 8" on 1/2 of the bed, laying in kitchen scraps, bunches of marigold tops, a 3"-layer of freshly dug compost filled with worms, and then covering it with the soil that I'd dug out. I repeated the process for the other half of the bed.

This bed is about 4.5' square and I'll plant 2 seeds at each connection point in the swales and trim them back so I'll end up with 9 okra plants. This will produce enough for us and to share with neighbors. Read my post Okra swales to find out why I plant them in this arrangement.
A downspout rain garden collects rain water
so it has a chance to soak in to the ground.

Special appearance on May 21

I will be giving a presentation on rain gardens at the Florida Native Plant Society's conference in Daytona Beach. Here is a link to the FNPS blog article on rain gardens. The last day to register online is May 11th, but you may register in person onsite after that.

I hope to see you at the conference.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt


  1. Where did you buy your blueberries?

    1. I don't think the place I bought my plants from is in business, but here are 3 links for Florida blueberries specifically:

      Buy at least 3 bushes and have at least 3 different varieties. Good luck!