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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vertical Gardening & Squash Blossoms

Short on garden space, I decided to start growing more veggies vertically this year by training tomatoes to climb a trellis, growing pole instead of bush beans and training Trombetta di Albenga (see April 9, 2011 post) squash to grow up and over a fence.  For the tomatoes and squash I used existing fencing but for the beans I constructed a trellis from livestock fencing as recommended by the Beekman Boys. In January I planted sweet peas next to this fence, followed  this month by a planting of Kentucky Wonder pole beans next to the sweet peas.  The beans are only 4 inches high at present but by the time the sweet peas are finished flowering the beans should be well on their way.  
To learn more about vertical gardening, I attended a lecture by Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet, authors of “Gardening Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.”  Their book has great ideas for getting the most out of a small space with edibles as well as ornamentals. 

Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces
Tonight I am using some of the zucchini squash blossoms to prepare this dish adapted from “Vegetable Harvest” by Patricia Wells.
Trombetta di Albenga squash  blossom
Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed With Goat Cheese
8 ounces herbed goat's milk cheese
1 dozen zucchini blossoms with immature squash attached if possible
1/4 cup of fresh herbs (thyme, basil and/or parsley) minced
Sea salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place a tablespoon of the olive oil in a ceramic baking dish.  Slit the side of each blossom and pipe or spoon in the goat cheese mixture.  Gently press the blossoms closed and place in the ceramic baking dish.  Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with olive oil and cover with foil.  Bake for 20+/- minutes, sprinkle with the fresh herbs & serve. 
Vegetable Harvest: Vegetables at the Center of the Plate

P.S.  NPR has a terrific segment “Gather Ye Squash Blossoms While Ye May” with more recipes at this link.  

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