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From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - June 29, 2023

From the Garden this Week… Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Red & Green Onions, Carrots, Beets, Potatoes, Salanova Green or Red or Butter Lettuce, Basil, One Sprig of Anise Hyssop, Zinnias, Lavender, Lemons, Bing Cherries, Plums, Pluots, & Donut Peaches

Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno

Our late spring vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, are available right now along with the green onions, while our squash, cucumbers, and green beans are just getting started. I have a recipe this week for a salad that has a combination of both. Using carrots for crunch and the sweet cucumbers caring the spicy dressing. If you don’t have a hot pepper, you can substitute with red pepper flakes or even omit the pepper, if you don’t like spicy food. The combination of basil and cilantro gives the salad a distinct Asian flavor. The avocado isn’t authentic, but the fat helps to carry the flavors to coat your pallet.

Thai Style Cucumber Carrot Salad

1 lime

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar or honey

1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped

or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup oil

1 head lettuce, chopped and washed

2 cucumbers, chopped

2-3 carrots, shredded

3 green onions, sliced

1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed

½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

½ cup basil leaves, chopped

* Finely grate zest from lime. Cut the lime crosswise in half and squeeze juice from the lime. Place zest and juice in a large bowl and add vinegar, sugar, pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper, mix well, then add the oil and combine. Add to the dressing the lettuce, cucumber, carrots, green onions and mix well. Add the avocado, cilantro, and basil, stir gently to combine. Eat right away.

Celebrating Freedom

Happy Fourth of July to all! Let us celebrate the birth of our nation and rejoice in our freedom. Let us also remember that freedom cannot remain where truth is denied, for the denial of truth empowers tyranny.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word,

you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will

set you free.’ They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have

never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become

free’?” Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who

practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house

forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be

free indeed.’" John 8:31-37

Summer Squash…

Zucchini is one member of the summer squash family. The others come in diverse shapes and sizes, but they mostly cook the same. I do think that the patty-pan, or flying saucer shaped squash, can be firmer, so they need a minute more in the pan. Try this quick cooking recipe with our fresh basil.

Sautéed Summer Squash and Basil

2-3 medium pieces of summer squash, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup chopped basil leaves

salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the oil, squash, and garlic. Sauté the squash for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat, toss with the basil, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Eat right away.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul…

PH Balance

by Ronda May Melendez

& Keith F Martin

Soil and pH fluctuations are on my mind today. Healthy soil is the foundation of a fruitful garden. Soil pH (potential of Hydrogen, a measure of soil’s alkalinity or acidity) fluctuates naturally during a year, but last year was no normal year. We had glorious, extraordinary amounts of rain, so pH levels require our attention. They tell the story of the soil’s impact on plant growth via availability and absorption of nutrients plants need to thrive.

PH levels fall during dryer seasons and rise in wetter seasons. Parch or flood soil and it becomes inhospitable. Dry soil has diminished hydrogen levels, so the soil becomes acidic, or sour, and vital nutrients become less soluble. Phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium remain bound to the soil and resist absorption through the plant’s roots. Deprived, the underdeveloped root system cannot sustain healthy stalk and leaf growth that support fruit production. Wet soil increases pH levels, so the soil becomes less acidic, or sweeter, making other vital nutrients – iron, manganese, zinc, copper - less soluble and available to the plant. Excess moisture also transfers increased amounts of potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium from the soil into the plant. These otherwise healthy nutrients overwhelm and poison the plant. Leaves yellow, turn brown, and then curl, harming the plant’s ability transform sunlight into oxygen and sugars for energy. Balanced pH is essential to healthy growth. Garden plants like soil pH level to sit between 6-6.5, which is not overly sour or excessively sweet. Balanced soil releases the right amounts of vital nutrients plants need to thrive. Soil experts recommend pH tests be done every three years, unless there have been extraordinary climate events or the generous application of soil amendments. Conscientious gardeners test every fall to assess the soil condition for the coming growing season. Knowing soil pH conditions and their impact on plant growth requires assiduous attention to detail. That makes me think the Lord wants us to be mindful of the environments where we plant ourselves. We will be deprived or overwhelmed by environments that are too acidic or alkaline, too sour or too sweet. Like Goldie Locks, we need conditions that are ‘just right’ – not too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft, too big or too small – so we can feed, digest, rest, and grow. Thank God, He empowers us to assess conditions for balance and amend our soil as needed, just as careful gardeners do.


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