Finding the perfect ground cover
planted ‘Happy Hour Lime’ and ‘Alabama Sunrise’ (pictured right) in tall blue pots. The burgundy-leafed maple matches the veins of Alabama’s leaves which will apparently change colour with the seasons. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Ray Garnet’s easy courgette pickle Ingredients:
1 kg small courgettes
2 medium onions
1⁄4 cup plain salt
21⁄4 cups white vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard powder 1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground tumeric 1 teaspoon of one of the following seeds: dill, caraway, mustard or celery.
Wash and trim courgettes and slice thinly. Chop onions and put them and the courgettes into a large glass or china bowl and cover with water. Add the salt, stir and allow to stand for one hour. Then rinse and drain. Meanwhile, bring the remaining ingredients to the boil. Pour over the drained vegetables, stir and let the mixture stand for another hour. Then bring to the boil for just three minutes before packing into hot sterilised jars. Seal immediately or store in the fridge to eat straight away. control many sap-sucking insects and as a fungicide to target powdery mildew. The withholding period is nil which is essential for courgettes as harvesting is a daily event.
Everyone who grows courgettes needs a selection of glut-buster recipes. This pickle is a new favourite. It is delicious with cheese and crackers – in fact it is so delicious that I caught someone (you know who you are!) standing by the open fridge eating it by the spoonful straight out of the jar.
Use baby courgettes so you get neat little circular slices in the finished pickle. Don’t overdo the soaking and standing time as the veges lose their crunch.
MEMORY BANK TO CURE A MEMORY BLANK
When a friend visited my garden last month we did a slow tour, inspecting every plant. Often when she asked the names I’d have a brain fade and have to say, ‘‘I’ll look up the label – I think I’ve got it somewhere.’’
I record what I plant in my garden diary and sometimes staple in the label too. It’s not a great system because I have to remember when I planted something in order to find the name. After 13 years here, that’s a lot of pages to flick through. I don’t like the look of tags on every plant and some labels have a lot of information I want to keep.
This column is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get growing, from New Zealand Gardener magazine. For gardening advice delivered to your inbox every Friday, sign up for Get Growing at: getgrowing.co.nz
Time for a new strategy. I’m going to staple labels onto loose pages in a ringbinder and use dividers to group the pages according to where the plant is in the garden. Loose pages will allow me to move the record from place to place if the plant gets moved or dies – both regular occurrences with a multitude of pots. A record of flowering times and when things were last pruned and fertilised would be handy too. I’d love to know how other memory -challenged gardeners cope. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your systems and ideas.