Zucchini Hotcakes
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 T. mayonnaise
½ tsp dried oregano
1 T butter or oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in skillet. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons batter into skillet for each cake.  Flatten with spatula. 

Cook over medium heat until browned on both sides. 

Serve plain or top with tomato sauce, grated cheese, or sour cream and chives.

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How to Plant an Acorn
Start gathering acorns in the fall. Look for large, heavy acorns with a cap that is missing or readily falls off when you put pressure on it. If you see tiny round holes in the shell, the nut inside has probably been destroyed by weevils, which bore into acorns. Discard any affected nuts.

Put the collected acorns in a bucket of water. Remove any that float, an indication they are dead or damaged. Those that float have airspace within and are likely to contain weevil grubs or other interesting bugs. Acorns that sink in water are usually intact and unlikely to be infested by weevils. Let the rest soak for a day or two, until the shells look saturated, and again remove any that are floating.

Strain the acorns and put them into plastic freezer bags partially filled with dampened vermiculite and store them over winter in the refrigerator.

Check the acorns throughout the winter and make sure they stay barely moist. White oak species group (white oak, bur oak, swamp white oak, post oak, Chinkapin oak,) acorns root in fall, so you may see roots forming in the bag over winter. They should be okay, protected by the vermiculite. Red oak species group (northern red oak, pin oak, northern pin oak, scarlet oak, shingle oak, Shumard oak, black oak) need a minimum of 42 days of chilling at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Plant the nuts in spring. Plant each pre-chilled, germinating acorn in a sterilized, one-gallon container with drainage holes. Plant the acorns on their side in a soil medium comprised of two parts peat-based seed-starting potting mix and one part coarse perlite. To sterilize containers, soak them overnight in a household bleach solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach, then rinse thoroughly. Cover with 1 to 2 inches of soil medium.

Place the containers in light shade, gradually moving them into more sun after a few weeks. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Do not allow the oak's taproot to growth through the bottom of the container. This will damage the plant. If you need to repot, gently lift the entire root ball out of the container and place it into a deeper pot.

Acorns from the easier-rooting white oak species group do not require cold stratification and can be planted directly outside in fall. However, they must be covered with some type of wire mesh to prevent being dug up by deer, squirrels, and other rodents. It is a good idea to "dome" the mesh over the planting bed so the delicate seedlings don't emerge and get tangled in the mesh.

The first step is to simply go outdoors to your favorite oak and collect a batch of acorns.

An acorn and leaves from a red oak. Red oaks leave have pointed lobes. White oaks have rounded lobes.

On close inspection this acorn has a tiny perfectly circular hole on the hull. This is the work of the acorn weevil.

For more information on how to plant acorns
Prairie Grass Companion
Prairies are some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, with the tallgrass prairie being the most endangered. Only 1-4% of tallgrass prairie still exists. Prairies are critically important, not only for the unique biodiversity they possess, but for their effect on climate. The ability to store carbon is a valuable ecological service in today's changing climate. Most of the prairie's carbon sequestration happens below ground, where prairie roots can dig into the soil to depths up to 15 feet and more. Prairies can store much more carbon below ground than a forest can store above ground. In fact, the prairie was once the largest carbon sink in the world-much bigger than the Amazon rainforest .

When grasses die back in the winter, the leaves and roots remain. This is like mulching a garden, and generates soils very rich in organic matter and materials. The vast temperate grasslands have soils that are rich and deep.  Because of this, prairie soils are the breadbasket of the world. They produce a majority of the wheat, corn, and soybean crops in the US.

Any parcel of land that gets full sun can be converted to prairie. Start with bare soil. Seed with short-grass or long-grass prairie mix. Mow or weed whip to the ground once per year in the fall, around first frost. Remove clippings. Mowing is important as this prevents weed trees from growing. Areas such as hillsides, boulevards, or abandoned lots can easily be made into prairie. 

On the left, the deeper roots of wheatgrass are displayed, while the more shallow roots of wheat are visible on the right. The bulk of a prairie grass plant, exists out of sight, with anywhere from eight to fourteen feet of roots extending down into the earth.

Black eye susans dominate on a steep, hard to mow slope of a residential lot. This picture was taken a few months after seeding with short-grass prairie mix.

Oak savana and tall grass prairie restored on the grounds of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin.

For more information on prairie grass and seed mixes.

Thanks for reading.  
Happy Planting!    


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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