Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Gardening Tip

"To avoid using insecticides, both on indoor and outdoor plants, spray them with a strong, steady stream of water."—Connie Staples, Business Women's Garden Club, Des Moines

page 121 and 118, Gardening in Iowa and Surrounding Areas by Veronica Lorson Fowler

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The World Beneath Your Feet: Glaciers in Iowa

Above: The Front edge of a glacier

The formation of most of Iowa's soils was influenced directly or indirectly by glacial events. Glaciers slowly plowed across Iowa several times thousands of years ago. As they advanced from the north they dragged frozen soils and rocks with them. Some of this mixture of sand, clay, gravel, and boulders was pressed into the ground by the immense weight of the glaciers. These deposits made directly by the glaciers are referred to as glacial till. When glaciers melt, vast amounts of glacial meltwater wash out even more unsorted deposits. Together, the till and deposits are called glacial drift. Glacial drift in varying depths blankets nearly all of Iowa's limestone bedrock. Northeast Iowa has virtually no drift but it is over 600 feet thick in west central Iowa. Most of northern Iowa's soils were formed from glacial till.

From Mark Muller's "The World Beneath Your Feet: A Closer Look at Soil and Roots," Funded by the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund

Monday, December 17, 2012

Always Put in a Recipe

Fried Green Tomatoes 
34 green tomatoes
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
Vegetable oil
Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper together. Add enough milk to create a thick batter. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet. Coat each tomato slice with batter, then wipe off excess. Carefully place in hot oil, browning on both sides. (A slice may or may not need turning, depending on the amount of oil.) To cool and keep the tomatoes from becoming soggy, drain in a colander or on a wire rack. Salt to taste.

Evelyn Birkby is the author of Always Put in a Recipe and Other Tips for Living from Iowa's Best-Known Homemaker, as well as Up a Country Lane Cookbook and Neighboring on the Air.