Vegetables are taking a more prominent place on the table of health conscious people and they are gaining more respect in the gardening world.  

 Vegetables are taking a more prominent place on the table of health conscious people and they are gaining more respect in the gardening world.   Once you start eating vegetables picked from your own yard, it is hard to be satisfied with anything less.   Some of us are still enjoying vegetables from our fall gardens.  
A reader, and devoted gardener, gave me a recipe that she developed using some things from her garden.  She calls it Vegetable Medley.  She sautés the following chopped ingredients in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter: Collard greens, (other kinds of greens could be used); ½ onion; 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and mashed; handful of mushrooms; 2 stalks bok choy (include green leaves); fennel (include green parts).  Add 3 turnips, diced thin and 1 orange (1/2 juiced and ½ chopped).  Season with 2 Tablespoons garlic essence (from Ozark Country Market); ½ teaspoon Garlic pepper; ½ teaspoon hot curry powder; Salt to taste.  Sauté till cooked to your taste.   Salt to taste.   You can vary this recipe to suit yourself.
A reader told me about roasting the few turnips I have left in my garden.  They are delicious sliced, coated with olive oil, salted and baked at 410 degrees for about 15 minutes.  A little balsamic vinegar added before roasting also adds a tasty twist.
If you have not had a garden, visiting with a few people who are gardening enthusiasts can make you want one.  Last September I decided I would grow  vegetables.  Since I have never gardened, on my own, even though I grew up on a farm, I know little about gardening.  However, I am meeting people that are setting me on an interesting path of growing vegetables.  The computer has endless information on different methods of gardening.  Just last night, I learned on how to make my own little seedling pots for free—out of newspapers.  
Ruth Stout, who wrote several books, including How to have a Green Thumb without and Aching Back, is one of my favorite authors.  She is known as the mother of the mulching method of gardening.  Since I don’t enjoy an aching back, she is my gardening guide.  By the way, if you are interested in buying Ruth’s books, they have been out of print for a long time.  However has them from sellers.  A new copy of the hardback edition sells for as high as $399.55.  Some other authors have written similar books and they are reasonably priced.  Weedless Gardening by Lee Teich looks promising.  One reviewer said, “The half in which I tried these techniques has tidy beds with the intended plants growing in them.  The other half is a field of weeds.”
Words of wisdom from Ruth Stout, taken from a back issue of Mother Earth News:  “My no-work gardening method is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both my vegetable and flower garden all year round. As it decays and enriches the soil, I add more. The labor-saving part of my system is that I never plow, spade, sow a cover crop, harrow, hoe, cultivate, weed, water or spray. I use just one fertilizer (cottonseed or soybean meal), and I don’t go through that tortuous business of building a compost pile.
I beg everyone to start with a mulch 8 inches deep; otherwise, weeds may come through, and it would be a pity to be discouraged at the very start. But when I am asked how many bales (or tons) of hay are necessary to cover any given area, I can’t answer from my own experience, for I gardened in this way for years before I had any idea of writing about it, and therefore didn’t keep track of such details.
However, I now have some information on this from Dick Clemence, my A-Number-One adviser. He says, “I should think of 25 50-pound bales as about the minimum for 50 feet by 50 feet, or about a half-ton of loose hay. That should give a fair starting cover, but an equal quantity in reserve would be desirable.” That is a better answer than the one I have been giving, which is: You need at least twice as much as you would think.  What should I use for mulch?  Spoiled or regular hay, straw, leaves, pine needles, sawdust, weeds, garbage — any vegetable matter that rots.  Don’t some leaves decay too slowly?  No, they just remain mulch longer, which cuts down on labor. Don’t they mat down? If so, it doesn’t matter because they are between the rows of growing things and not on top of them. Can one use leaves without hay? Yes, but a combination of the two is better, I think.”
There you have it.  I’m off to make my newspaper planting pots.  I want an early watermelon!

(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, taught home economics, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, has taught numerous health and nutrition classes, and wrote a weekly newspaper column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at