GARDEN GOURMET--April 2008
If you are inclined to growing your own bedding
plants from scratch, my good (fishing) friend from North Carolina would
like to share his latest modus operandi with you--it’s a final fling for
That’s right, you grow your bedding
plants in an old cooler that once hosted egg-salad sandwiches, deviled
eggs, and pop bottles for picnics.
Terry Shive, my good fishing friend whom I met
several years ago on the on the Avon Fishing Pier, NC, tells me he brainstormed
the idea earlier this year.
Terry says he simply punches a few holes in the
bottom of an old cooler, fills it halfway with good soil (maybe an inch
of sand or gravel In the bottom to aid drainage),) and places his seeds
in the soil. Terry waters often with a very fine spray.
He pulls the cooler out of the garage by day and
opens the cover. On cool nights he closes the cover and pulls the container
back in the garage to keep the fledgling plants warm. Thinning and other
chores may be done at your discretion, fertilizer, too.
Producing bedding plants is undoubtedly less
expensive than buying well-established plants. The store-bought plants
often are sturdier. Still, if you plan to produce your own, this is the
time to do it.
Last summer, with several healthy zucchini plants
producing large numbers of big veggies (I had trouble giving them away),
rather than let them rot away, I developed a loaded, twice-baked zuch dish
that turned out to be very appetizing--so appetizing, in fact that I will
add a couple of plants this year (maybe more).
That recipe, will be found on the “wild recipes”
page of http://bayoubill.com.
But I have later learned the second baking is superfluous. Do both operations
in one baking, if you like, or stick with the recipe.
However, before baking the dish twice, you can
bake it only once. The thing that makes this possible is the fact that
one can first scrape out the seeds of the zuch halves and scrap most of
them (save the little seeds).
Then scrape out some of the “meaty” sides and
bottom of the “canoes" and save it for stuffing.
Mix the zuch meat (you scraped out) with various
meats, fish,berries or fruit. Stuff the little canoes with this mixture
and take it from there with the rest of the recipe.
(Notes: Be very careful when scraping out the
zuch meat so as not to damage the outer skin). The hot zuch, when it is
taken from the oven, is easier to handle if baked on foil pieces. The foil
pieces are merely held by their ends at the middle of the zuch).
The backs of seed packets usually provide a wealth
of information from planting to harvest. In the case of some plants it
will be necessary to get this information from garden shops where the plants