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From Garden To Glass: Organic Berries Make Sweet Summer Cocktails
lisa3boyz


Long summer evenings, patios softly lit, a grill cooking up dinner, and the plucking of sweet berries and fresh herbs from your organic garden.  To top off a wonderful night, take those berries and herbs and make your organic cocktails straight from the garden!  (Well everything but the alcohol that is.)

Organic gardening is more common than trendy these days.  Some tips on growing healthy organic berries include:

Use raised beds:  It’s easier to maintain and guarantee organic mixes in raised beds.  And for berries in particular, raised beds allow you to really work in root-pleasing organic mixes that help them flourish. Try an organic mix of 2 parts garden soil/2 parts chopped, composted leaves/2 parts coarse builder’s sand (no beach or sandbox sand!)/1 part compost.  Raised beds also allow gardeners to keep a consistent moisture level and berries need good drainage!

Use caffeine:  Coffee grounds in the garden bed help keep berries healthy by keeping the soil on the acidic side.  If you’re not a coffee drinker, tuck tea bags into the soil instead.

Mulching:  Acid loving plants, like berries, will appreciate a thick layer of pine needles.  Apply to your raised beds in the fall and as they decompose, their acid will deposit in the soil.

Keep the birds away:  Not to sound stingy but you don’t want to share too much of your goodies with the birds in your garden. Consider bird-netting if you have a real issue.

Pruning is a must:  Just like our hair grows back healthier after a trim, so will berries grow stronger with regular pruning.  For a single crop, simply cut off all the old canes at ground level when they are done fruiting.

Visit Green Earth News again next week for tips on growing organic herbs!  In the meantime, treat yourself to an organic summer cocktail like Country Thyme:

Ingredients

    1 ½ oz organic vodka
    A handful (10 – 15) fresh blueberries or blackberries
    ½ oz fresh organic lemon, cut into small pieces
    ½ oz organic agave nectar
    3 sprigs fresh thyme

To make

    Place berries and lemon into a mixing cup.  Muddle to juice both.
    Add vodka, agave nectar and ice.
    Shake vigorously for 20 – 30 seconds.
    Take 3 sprigs of thyme and slap between your palms to release the oils.
    Place 2 sprigs in the bottom of a 10-oz highball glass and fill it with ice.
    Strain the cocktail over ice and stick the last thyme sprig in the cocktail as a garnish.

Enjoy!

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