Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Compost Tea

Today is the day for compost tea training. As a Master Gardener, this will be my second year in experimenting with this amendment. Compost tea is said to strengthen plants and to help them resist disease--especially roses. Here in the Pacific NW, our roses suffer terribly from powdery mildew and black spot disease. It's said that a weekly drenching with compost tea can decrease both diseases substantially. We'll see. Anyway, for volunteering to make and distribute the tea, I get three gallons every two weeks. That's a BIG cost savings, since it's sold around here for up to $10 per gallon. I'll report on my findings as the year goes along. If you are interested in learning more about compost tea, check out the following sites: (the company whose products we use) , (a laboratory specializing in soil testing, etc.) , and ( Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas).

Eternity: Two people and a ham...

I'm making Split Pea Soup today to use up the last of the Easter ham. It's a tried and true recipe from the Farm Journal's Country Cookbook.

1 lb. dried split peas (2 cups)
3 quarts water
1 meaty ham bone, or 1 1/2 lbs. ham hocks
2 ts. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. marjoram leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrot

- Combine peas and water in large kettle. Bring to a boil; simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand one hour.
- Add ham bone, salt, pepper, marjoram, and onions. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
- Add carrots and celery. Continue simmering until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Add more salt if necessary. Serve piping hot with a loaf of crusty bread. Makes 3 1/2 quarts.


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