Tuesday, June 29, 2010

country living...

I have just picked myself up a copy of country living let me just say this the 800+ pages is very intimidating but this is a great book so far you just have to pick and choose. This author really goes back to the bare roots. Making your own clothing, building you own shelters, using washboards to wash clothes, hunting and gathering for your own food, using a wood burning stove and candles instead of electric...

I mean I can go on and on, but this is what I'm taking from it so far.
We can easily make our own candles and use less electric if its the middle of the day instead of flipping on a switch open a shade and use sunlight.

- The best wax for hand dipping is 1254 ( this info came from aztec candle making )
- and don't ever but wax directly on a heat source use a double boiler method

Instead of using your drying machine all the time on sunny days hand dry your laundry out side.

Plant your own garden of crops instead on relying on over proccesed pesticide sprayed trucked across america veggies and fruits.
- make sure you look into proper growing times and varities for your zone.. for example the southern states need a shortday onion since we don't have a long cold season like the north
- plant broccoli early in the south as it needs a long growing season and heat will cause it to flower and seed
- rubarb tends to be a northern plant and is hard to go down south

If your land premits even raise a few chickens for fresh eggs and meat.
- please research city codes before buying hens
- please make sure you read into rasing chickens and are well prepaired

Instead of driving 2 blocks over for something walk or ride a bike.

Instead of filling landfills with disposiable baby diapers start using cloth with the flushable liners. Start learning to love the earth a little more then we do now.

This book seems great so far in its teaching ways.

It also has a great herb section and made me so excited about my herbs I went outside and harvested a bunch and tied into bundles and hung them from our kitchen pass through. I know have marjarom. Sage, lemon balm, stevia, rosemary, and basil drying. also made fresh basil cubes that I froze and bagged. : )

To make basil cubes:
- first take 1 or 2 cups of fresh packed basil
- chop by hand or a food processor
- pack basil into ice cube trays
- fill basil stuffed cubes with water or olive oil
- freeze like ice
- take cubes out of tray when fully frozen and place into freezer bags that are marked with name and date of creation
- use within 6 months
You can drop these into stews, roasts, sauces, make a pesto with them and use as you would like fresh basil

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My books reviews

Well as everyone knows there are tons of books on gardening may it be flowers, fruits, or veggies everyone has something to write about.

Well here's my review of the books I have had the pleasure or not of reading. (This list will be updated anytime I get my dirt covered hands on a new book)

- The backyard homestead: a good book with a look on things like how to make the most of the land you have, small sections on storing veggies, and fruits. Also has a section on raising animals which really brought my mood down as I would love to raise chickens but my city forbids farm animals in urban settings. Has a really small section on types of vegies and how to grow and harvest them I wish this section was a little bigger with more detail. This book also has sections on wine making, beer making, wheat growing, cheese making, and other useful stuff it you have the tools or money to spend on needed tools. This is a decent book for home sustainablity but has many sections I (being a urban mom on a budget) don't find useful. --- B-

- The vegetables gardeners bible: A fantastic book and really has become my bible and go to. there are all sorts of hints stashed in this book. I found the deep digger wide rows theory useful and now I use it instead of the oldschool rows. It teachs you how you can get double or triple the veggies out of the same amount or space. Thick very useful book and a must for anyone. --- A

- Carrots love tomatoes: great book for organic growers trying the compaion planting as a way to help with pests and diseases. Has almost every plant you could want what to grow it by and what not to grow it by. Some veggies don't like others and some love others. But as it seems no veggie likes fennel. Get this book for a fun learning experince and a new look at organic planting. --- B+

- You grow girl: a fun look at growing everything in anyplace you can stick soil and a plant. Great book for turning trash to treasure making your own gardening projects and learning to love gardening. Also has recipes for fun garden gifts like herbal hand rubs shampoos and lotions. Great fun book that you can just sit down and read without getting bored. --- A-

- Gardening in small spaces: interesting book but is mostly about flowers,trees, and shrubs. Has many types of gardens and how to achieve them. Not much to say about this book. Great learning book but don't spend your money on it unless you are a flower grower or want a lush backyard space without much kitchen use. --- C

- The ediable landscape: a great story book which follows families who decide to convert their front lawn into a ediable landscape. Very interesting 1 or 2 time read. Not useful if your looking for a fact or information book. Does cause you to think about why we think we need green grassed yards with flowers, instead of pathways leading through a front yard or herbs and veggies. Rent this book at the library or ask a friend to let you borrow it, its a good read. --- C

The all new illustrated guide to gardening: great picture books if you live in a cold area and all that's outside in snow. But that midwinter crave for green veggie, and bright flower pictures is all its worth. Don't get me wrong its a huge book that has sections on lots of flowers, trees, shrubs and even some fruits and veggies but their is nothing their that hasn't been printed before. Has a small section towards the back that has plant proplems like wilt or bug infestations but pictures are drawn and therefore harder to tell if that's what's happening in your garden. Seems more dedicated towards non useful plants such as flowers and grass then veggies and fruits. A good flip through book but don't waste your money --- D-

The new self sufficent gardener: a good look at storing fruits and veggies types of plants and how to raise them / harvest them. The books pictures are drawn and only a few in color. Seems to go very organized not like the out of control plants that seem to grow every garden season. A good basc book but nothing amazing. Wouldn't be a bad book to add to a collection and I would prob read again. As it does have some good advice and pointers for a garden. Seems like they made their whole yard a veggie fruit patch which I would love to do but with a child that's near impossiable as she needs room to run around and get out her mounds of energy. --- B

The art of south florida gardening: do not buy this book!!! Ok now that I'm done with that this book is plain and does not hold attention at all. Boring and bland this book is best suited shredded and for the compost pile. I was hoping for a book that would help us understand weather patterns best times of the year to plant, best varieties of plants for the heat of florida but nothing like that. This book focas is on trees (palm trees) and grasses and even some flowers. If it was for this book we would allvhave boring typical grass and tree lots. --- F

A slice of organic life: I had high hopes for this book but it did not live up to what I was expecting. Its pretty much a coffee table book filled with ideas that have no detail and sometimes just plain bad advice. For example canning it does not really talk about making sure everything is sterile, the author says instead of flying to take a cruise/ and makes raising animals seem like its no big deal and is easy as pie. I really wish this book was expanded on maybe follow thoughts through do some reasearch on the topics mentioned, something. Well this has been very disapointing for me the only nice thing about this book is its recipes and colorful pictures. I will not be buying this book unless it has major work done on it for a updated version. --- D+

To be continued.....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bakers creek seed company

This company is amazing when it comes to seeds. They have only heirloom organic non-gmo seeds and have fruits and veggies from all over the world.

I ordered seeds on monday and had them wednesday. This company goes above and behond every time. They hand sign all the order forms in your package and almost always include a free seed packet. I,ve gotten free pink tomatoes and free purple broccoli.
Not to mention they have a extensive beautiful catalog that looks more like a softcover book then a catalog. A huge plus is seed packets range from $1 - $3 compaired to other company's $5 seed packets. For example a lettuce seed packet has 300+ seeds for $2.50 and with almost a 100% germ. Rate this is a great deal.

I highly suggest if you have not tried this company that you go to www.rareseeds.com and order your catalog or just browse their online selections. I have already pre ordered my 2011 catalog which begins shipping in december. Bakers creek heirloom seeds I love you guys!!!

Disasters in the summer garden

Normally down here in zone 9 we can get a after winter warm season crop, but this year after the deep freezes we had all winter and a winter that was longer then normal and now the super hot summer sun has prevented that.

I had squashs, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, bush and pole beans, eggplants, cucumbers, okra, cantalope, watermelons, calendula (flower petals can be eaten), and borage (cucumber tasting herb with beautiful purple and pink flowers, leaves contain jucies that can be placed in the bottom of a cup for a cooling effect for summer drinks).

The first to go were the calendula who when in bloom has wonderful reddish orange and yellow petals they turned balck and wilted to the ground after about 2 weeks of intense florida sun.
The next to go was the borage who's hollow stems broke and wilted after about 3 weeks (plant did manage to go to seed first however, these can be collected or left on the plant so it reseeds itself).
The next were the tomatoes who first got infested with weird looking green spiders, and 1 huge tomato hornworm. I also have a animal who sems to enjoy the taste of almost ripe tomatoes and would eat only half of each tomato it saw. The sun wasn't a huge factor in the death of the tomato besides some yellowing leaves and brown spotting. (Tomatoes were burbank red, martian giants, and red romas)
The beans did not take well to the florida heat and full sun, leaves spotted brown and yellow, bean pods were small with large beans and a tough flavor ( beans were tenderpick, and kentuky wonder pole).
Eggplant is green with it fuzzy leathery leaves but is not producing at all (florida market variety),
sweet peppers broke in the last heavy rain, hot peppers (serrano, long thin cayanne, and jalopeno) all seem to be doing well and are producing,
okra is huge standing about 2 feet tall and is producing like crazy,
cucumbers have completly died back and the trellis is now covered with its brown remains (straight 8) after giving us only 1 cucumber.

Well that's my sad story of my garden disasters in june so its back to the drawing board to figure out augusts / septembers garden plans and types of seeds to get

First post- June 23rd 2010

Hello and welcome. My name is brittany otherwise known as the organic momma. I love to garden its my passion. My daughter shares the same passion for the outdoors and that I am thankful. I get all my seeds from known organic non gmo heirloom farmers. I believe that if we work with nature instead of against nature we will reap the benefits. I never use any type of pesticide or non organic fertilizer. I grow in mostly compost and am trying seaweed fertilizer I'm planning to make myself. I am only 20 years old but a proud mother and friend of nature. Raised by my wonderful mother who taught me the values I hold dear about being at one with the earth respecting all living things and so on.
I hold my mom dear to me for I would not be the young lady I am today without her. We live in very diffrent gardening zones but both share the same passions and love to go through seed catalogs over the phone together. I will try to keep you all up to date with her zone in illinois as well as my zone here in florida (9). Subscribe to my blog and keep updated on the gardening adventures of a organic momma. Of course I will also answer questions anyone might have please feel free to email me at bjaukett@gmail.com. : ) peace be with you