The Organic Gardener

Full article at Dr Mercola

Using wood chips as ground cover, not compost, is a highly cost-effective strategy that will help radically improve your ability to effortlessly grow nutrient-dense food
  • A few short months after putting down a deep layer of wood chips, you will end up with lush fertile soil beneath the chips that will support whatever you choose to grow
  • Using wood chips has many benefits, from promoting soil fertility and earthworms that create vermicompost, to eliminating the need for irrigation and the use of fertilizer
  • Most tree cutting companies will drop a truck load (or more) of wood chips right on your property, for free
  • It’s important to avoid tilling your soil, as 70 percent of the soil microbes responsible for plant health and plant communication are fungi, and tilling will disrupt these mycorrhizal fungal filaments

  • Zucchini in the raw

    Zucchini Hummus


    • 1 large or 2 small zucchini (peeled and coarsely chopped)
    • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt (to taste)
    • 1 large clove of garlic
    • pinch of cayenne
    • sprinkle of paprika 


    Place all ingredients in food processor with "S" blade and blend till creamy. Add some distilled water to thin if needed for use as a spread or dip. Keep refrigerated and enjoy it at leisure!

    Quick and Healthy Zucchini and Spinach Pesto with Raw Zucchini Noodles


    * 3 Tablespoons olive oil
    * 1 bunch basil
    * 2 cloves garlic
    * small zucchini, cut into large chunks
    * 1/4 cup water
    * handful baby spinach
    * salt and pepper
    * 2-3 zucchini (or substitute regular or gluten-free pasta)
    * cherry tomatoes
    * crumbled goat cheese or grated Parmesan



    Combine the olive oil, basil, garlic, zucchini and water in the base of a blender. Process until nearly smooth, adding additional water if necessary, and then add the baby spinach. Continue to process until smooth and creamy. Add plenty of salt and pepper- you'll know you've added enough when the flavors pop.
    Drag a vegetable peeler along the zucchini to create long, spaghetti-like noodles. Rotate around the zucchini, and continue to peel into noodles until you hit the seeds. Repeat with the remaining zucchini. Place noodles in a large bowl and pour in desired about of pesto. Toss to coat the noodles.
    Transfer to individual bowls and top with tomatoes and goat cheese or Parmesan.
    Note: You'll end up with more pesto than you'll need for these two servings, so you'll have plenty of extra sauce leftover for fish or pasta.

    YIELD: 2 servings

    Slow Cooker Banana Bread


    1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    Pinch of salt
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
    1 large egg yolk
    1/2 cup mashed banana
    1 tablespoon milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


    1. Place a cookie cutter, Mason jar ring, or a ring made from aluminum foil inside the slow cooker. Butter a 5-inch mini loaf pan and set aside.
    2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Add oil, brown sugar, egg yolk, banana, milk, and vanilla, stirring just until flour mixture is incorporated. Fold in nuts.
    3. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Transfer loaf pan to sit on top of ring in slow cooker.
    4. Place paper towels, still attached together, folded as necessary, over the top of the slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 2 hours. When a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, the bread is cooked. If it does not emerge clean, continue cooking an additional 30 minutes.
    5. Carefully remove the loaf pan from the slow cooker. Run a knife around the inside of the loaf pan and turn the loaf out onto a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    The paper towels prevent the natural build-up of steam from potentially dripping on the loaf and making the bread soggy