by sarowen via flickr
Most of us wait anxiously for that first delicious zucchini from the garden, only to find ourselves overrun with them within a few weeks. I'm not quite at that point, yet - but I suspect gardeners in southern Maine are.
If you are looking for ideas for using up your zucchini, try these recipes.
My favorite, of course is Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash. I won't repeat the recipe here, but if you are in the mood for zucchini and summer squash with tomato sauce and seasonings, go ahead and check out my recipe.
Another great way to use up zucchini is by making Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles. These taste remarkably like cucumber pickles, but are easier to make because one or two zucchini are all it takes to make a quick batch of pickles.
For those who are into canning and preserving, Zucchini Relish is another great way to use up excess zucchini and tastes great on burgers and hot dogs - just don't tell the kids and they'll never know they are actually eating zucchini.
I may not be ready for pickles or relish, yet - but I see a fresh zucchini and summer squash in my near future.
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
If you are anything like me, you probably get a little tired of trying new garden products only to discover that they don't work as advertised or they simply don't meet your needs.
In an effort to assist gardeners in making good choices when purchasing gardening products, I am designing a sister site for Maine Garden Ideas devoted to garden product reviews.
I'd love to hear from you about products you love - or hate - and a brief description of your experience with the product to include on the site. Don't worry. You don't have to be a writer - I'll put your experience into words for you.
If you are a writer and have published reviews of garden products elsewhere on the Internet, I'd love to include a brief intro to your article and link it to the site. I cannot pay for reviews at this time, but who knows what may happen in the future.
Some Anticipated Topics
Bird Related Products
If you would like to share your experience, please drop me a line so I can share your experience with other gardeners and make choosing gardening products a little easier for everyone!
Until Next time ... HAPPY GARDENING!
Please pass this along to anyone you know who may be interested in sharing their experiences.
Drop me a line on the ASK A GARDENER page.
There is something about cheery rudbeckia that lifts the spirits. This year has been a bumper crop for me but I'm not complaining. These beauties from my garden are the focal point of the bed, right now.
These delightful flowers grow wild along the roadsides throughout Maine - but don't contain the variation in color you see here. Our wild rudbeckia is a bit smaller and is often referred to as "Black Eyed Susan." My father liked to call them "Bull's Eyes" or "Yella Daisies." Whatever you call them, these flowers make a colorful addition to the flowerbed.
You can, of course, purchase seeds and plant rudbeckia in the garden - but if you prefer the wildflower, consider digging up a clump or two and replanting them in your flowerbed.
by Emma Richford
One of the most common complaints I hear from new gardeners is "My cucumbers are blossoming , but no cucumbers are setting on!" They, of course, think they have done something wrong, or there is something wrong with their cucumbers. The truth is their cucumbers are growing exactly as they should.
You see, cucumbers - like zucchini and squash - produce both male and female blooms. The male blooms grow on a long slender stem and do not grow into cucumbers. They bloom a week or so before the female blooms to attract bees to the garden. Their job is to provide pollen for pollinating the female blooms when they open.
Female cucumber blossoms have a tiny swollen ovary at the base that looks like a miniature cucumber. The blooms to the left are female blooms. Note the tiny cucumber at the base of the blossom.
When bees carry pollen from the male blooms to the female blooms - yes we are talking about the birds and bees here - the flower is pollinated and the tiny cucumber begins to grow.
If the blossom is not pollinated due to a lack of bees, extremely hot dry weather or prolonged rainy weather, the tiny cucumber will shrivel and die. Unless you are observing these miniature cucumbers dying on the vine, you don't have anything to worry about. An occasional shriveled cucumber is normal.
Give your cucumbers a week or two and before you know it your vines will be covered with miniature cucumbers.
I have my eye on these, as they are my first cucumbers of the season. They won't make it to the dinner table - but they will make a delicious snack someday soon!
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