Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ah Sunday

Sundays used to be a day of rest but with February 7th fast approaching and the News people coming to see the "farm", house, and us we didn't rest at all. From the moment we woke up there were chores to be done. Picking up the bathroom I had redone just the day before, picking up scraps of whatever "art" project our little one was working on, wiping down the counters from the crumbles of a good meal, trying to clean up our life and make it seem organized and perfect. Its actually far from it. The heat steadily climbed and for midwinter we were just about sweating, the house wasn't perfect and looked.. well lived in.. there is still laundry undone sitting in piles, the table is cluttered with items that have no place, and books are laying around with bookmarks or torn pieces of paper sticking out like jagged teeth.. but none of that matters I felt like we have had a very productive weekend and still have one to go before the big appearance! With the joy and frustration of waiting for our tax refund to come in and the news segment to be done its been hard on my sleep cycle but after this weekend of busy busy bee work I know I will sleep well tonight!

Outdoors horse manure has been dumped into a pile for spreading, blueberries dug up and moved into containers, bulbs about to be planted, plans taking form from brain to paper.. Ah yes... Sunday

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spring

Well I think it is mid winter but feels like spring! Daily temps in the upper 80's nights in the 60's. I am not sure how I feel about this. My cold season plants are HATING it but the tomatoes that made it through the freezes have re-sprouted wonderfully bright green shoots and some are even blooming again.

I got some bulbs that will grow here in Central FL, I got Canna and Gladioli. Both are beautiful flowers and I love the idea of mixing flowers and edibles!! I cannot wait to get them into the ground and watch them grow and bloom!

I also got some rose bush plants (3 types).. Fairy, Gold Medal, and John Hancock. They all look quite beautiful and after watching many gardeners post pictures of beautiful roes blooms i must join the party!

My bunching onions have sprouted, as well as my 3 types of basil, and fennel!

The house is under going a heavy spring cleaning which also brings in a redoing of the house. So far we have painted the bathroom and removed the medicine cabinet and replaced with a beautiful mirror and shelves (all this was done today, by me) its a blue and brown theme which I think is cute retro type feel. The kitchen has been updated but needs a good paint which is the final step for completing the kitchen I am thinking a rusty orange. The next room we are working on is the bedroom, Brooke's room was recently done is a tinkerbell/princess type room mixing pinks and purple with more natural elements including a new overhead light that looks like a sun that we put in today. So its our room that in next to be under construction, then the living room, laundry room and finally ending with the dining room. Wheew.. and thats just the inside.

Outside spring cleaning plans are to continue to work on and expand food forest, remove blueberries and replant into containers, expand the blackberry patch towards the fence, finish off the pond with some rocks, plant a couple more fruit trees, clean up areas and maximize planting space, mulch out fire pit area.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Transform the Phone Book into little seed pots

Its that time of year again you walk out your front door and there at your feet is a bag with a heavy phone book in it. Many people just toss them out but instead do something awesome with it.. make little seed pots!!!

What you need:
~ 1 phone book
~ 1 short and fat shot glass, or a spice shaker


What you do:
~ Start by taking a sheet of phone book, fold it in half (long ways)
~ Wrap it tightly around your shot glass leaving a overhang on the bottom
~ Fold in the overhang around the bottom of the glass creating a bottom
~ Press the shot lass onto a hard surface and twist
~ Slowly pull up glass leaving a little pot
~ Push up the bottom just a little
~ Fill with potting mix and plant seed
~ When ready to plant into garden, plant whole thing (it will decompose)

To see what others are up to in their gardens click here

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What we are up to

So in prep of the upcoming season we are fixing up the backyard..

Marking plants and beds √
Prep garden beds for planting
Planting another round of cold season plants
Start warm season seeds
Removing trash √
Chopping the remaining wood and stacking near back door √
Fixing blown over structures
Paint shed like a old red barn
Plant flower bulbs like canna
Organize and sweep out back porch
Dig up blueberries and replant in containers
Spread compost in garden beds
Refresh container gardens with a dose of soil and compost
Getting a outdoor (in the shade) vermiculture compost going
Finish boxing the pathways and mulching them in
Finish making the chicken area higher to keep jumping chickens
Work on adding more plants and expanding the food forest

RE-Growing Celery

I learned something really cool I just had to share.. From what it says you can re grow celery from the bottom of a cut one..

Here is the website

Im very interested to try this and will post my results!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Canning Class

Canning Class~ Learn to make and can strawberry jam
Date: Saturday, February 4th
Time: 1-3pm
Cost: $20 per student and a pack of strawberries
Why: Everyone should know how to make and preserve their harvest or in season foods
Where: 9509 N Dartmouth Ave Tampa, FL 33612
Contact to RSVP: bjaukett@gmail.com or find me on facebook: Brittany Aukett

Bring yourself and a open mind to soak up all the knowledge, also each student will go home with a jar of just made and canned strawberry jam, and a copy of the recipe we will be using. Please feel free to bring a notepad and pen but this will be hands on as I think humans learn better that way!

https://www.facebook.com/events/214237842002921/

Chicken siblings

There is nothing cuter then little chicks but they grow up and fast!! At the start of the year we added to our flock 2 little ameraucana chicks. Both have their own personalities... Charlotte is very laid back (and likes to lay on her back)while Happy who is the smaller of the 2 makes up for it in spunk, always trying to peck at Charlotte or jump on her.. but they are no longer the small little chicks we first got and in just the 20 days we have had them they have almost completely feathered out and have at least tripled in size!!!!

Happy and Charlotte were already the little sisters to the big girls out back (as of right now the big girls hate the little girls) but now we have thrown in a curve ball.. a brand new 3 day old chick.. YIKES!!!!!

So the little sisters are now also big sisters and they do not like the little fluffball on bit!!! Charlotte seems to be more relaxed about it, even allowing the little fluffball to sleep under her wing but Happy will not leave her alone, always pecking and chasing.. and when Happy starts Charlotte starts, and I feel so bad! :( I know they will get used to each other and it takes time but the new chick is just so small I feel like my heart is being torn when I hear her peeps of concern! Last night was the first night of them being together so I could hardly sleep, worried they would smother her, or peck her to death. I swear I had a dream where I woke up went to check on her and the older chicks had grown to monster size and there was blood everywhere and I just knew they had killed the little fluffball like some kind of horror movie scene. But when I woke this morning she was fine, relaxing under her heat lamp while the other 2 cuddled in the opposite corner. I do hope they hurry up and bond or I might just go crazy!!!!

I refer to the new buff orpington chick as the little fluffball because she is one, and as of yet we have not named her!




Update: January 22nd... Little Fluffball didnt make it :(

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Deodorant

Ingredients:

~ 1/4 cup baking soda
~ 1/4 cup corn starch
~ 6 Tblsp. coconut oil
~ A old empty deodorant container or/ a toilet paper cardboard roll

Directions:
~ Heat up coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch in a pot
~ Add a few drops of an essential oil into the mixture. *optional*
~ Once the ingredients are melted together, place the cardboard roll or old deodorant container vertically on a flexible cutting board or small plate, and pour a small part of the mixture in. Allow it to solidify and then add the rest. You may leave it out to solidify, as long as its cool in the house otherwise stick in fridge!!
~ USE!!!!

Why store deodorant is scary..

British researchers have found traces of chemicals called parabens in tissue taken from women with breast cancer.
While there is no evidence they cause cancer, the scientists have called for the use of parabens to be reviewed.

Dr Philippa Darbre and colleagues at the University of Reading carried out tests on samples of 20 different human breast tumours.
Writing in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, they say they found traces of parabens in every sample.
Their tests suggested the chemicals had seeped into the tissue after being applied to the skin.
"This is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues," said Dr Darbre.
"It demonstrates that if people are exposed to these chemicals, then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies."

In 1995, the Archives of Toxicology published the results of
a study by French scientists from the Toxicology Laboratory at
Bordeaux University: when aluminum chloride (once commonly used in
antiperspirants) was applied to the shaved skin of lab mice, the
aluminum in their brains doubled. This seems to suggest that the metal
may be absorbed by the skin, a concern that has only been compounded
by the recent appearance on the market of aluminum free
antiperspirants. A number of studies have suggested a possible link between
Alzheimer and aluminum says Prof. Jim Edwardson, Director Of the Medical
Research Council Neurochemical Pathology Unit at Newcastle General
Hospital.

Take a ride on the barn hop HERE

Homemade Garden Markers

I made these awesome little markers by scavenging a large plastic outdoor sign from my works trash and cutting into 3x6 inch rectangles.. I painted them and waited for them to dry then marked my veggie and fruit names onto them. Simple and cute!!

Now I will find little twigs or large Popsicle sticks and staple them on!

Cute way to mark your garden!!!

Grow Potatoes in ANYTHING!

You can pretty much grow potatoes in anything that will hold soil...

Here is a couple methods:

Potatoes in a bag..

~ Prepare the Bag
Use a pair of scissors to cut several drainage holes in the bottom of a 30-gallon black plastic trash bag. Roll down the sides of the bag and fill about one-third of the way up with potting soil. Place the bag in an area of the garden that receives full sun.
roll down sides of bag and fill with soil

~ Plant the Potatoes
Dust the seed potatoes with agricultural sulfur to protect against fungal diseases. Plant the seed potatoes by burying them, eyes pointed up, about 2" deep in the soil. Water well.

~ Add More Soil
When the potato plants get about 6" to 8" tall, it is time to add more soil and straw to the bag. Add enough soil so that just the top few leaves poke through the dirt. As the potato plants grow, continue to unroll the bag and add more soil. Keep the potatoes well watered but not soggy.

~ Harvest the Potatoes
One clue that the potatoes are almost ready to harvest is that the leaves will yellow and the foliage will die back. At this point stop watering and leave the potatoes alone for two or three weeks so that their skins toughen up. To harvest, slit open the side of the bag to release the potatoes.

Potatoes In Tires..

~ Get yourself some old tires
Try a add on craigslist or freecycle!!

~ Paint them or leave them plain

~ Find a sunny Spot
Potatoes love full sun so find them a wonderful sunny spot and set down your first layer of tires

~ Fill with good rich soil and compost
Fill up the first tire completely full of soil mix

~ Plant your potato
Dust the seed potatoes with agricultural sulfur to protect against fungal diseases. Plant the seed potatoes by burying them, eyes pointed up, about 2" deep in the soil. Water well.


~ Add More Soil and Stack
When the potato plants get about 6" to 8" tall, it is time to add another tire and add more soil and/or straw to the bag. Add enough soil so that just the top few leaves poke through the dirt. As the potato plants grow, continue to stack more tires and add more soil. Keep the potatoes well watered but not soggy.

~ Harvest the Potatoes
One clue that the potatoes are almost ready to harvest is that the leaves will yellow and the foliage will die back. At this point stop watering and leave the potatoes alone for two or three weeks so that their skins toughen up. To harvest, unstack the tires!!

Grow Potatoes in a Container..


Here are the simple steps:

~ Poke or drill several holes in bottom of garbage can.
~ Fill with one foot of soil
~ Push five whole seed potatoes into the soil, spread apart evenly.
~ Make sure the potatoes are completely covered by about two inches of soil.
~ Water the seed potatoes.
~ Once the plants have grown to 6-7 inches in height… add more soil into the container.
~ Water the plants as needed. Keep moist but not wet!
~ As soon as the plants begin to flower, be sure to water generously and consistently.
~ Each time the plants reach 6-7 inches above the soil level, add more soil!
~ When the plant turns yellow and dies back, Dump out your container..
Dig all around the dumped out soil and gather potatoes.

Mid-Winter Rain

Florida winters are dry and chilly.. this year though has been pretty mild.. we had 3 days of freezing temps her at Sunny Spot Gardens which fried a lot of my plants like the figs, moringa, and bananas but that has been it so far!

Most days are in the 60's with nights in the upper 40's or low 50's. It seems like perfection except for the dry dry dry weather!

Luckily today we got a nice rain! It seems it dropped a little less then a inch of water but it was a great relief since I recently planted a lot of new goodies!

I got 7 bananas from a local man (4 went around the pond, 3 in the food forest), I transplanted some strawberry runners into the food forest, I planted nasturtium seeds, sowed another round of cosmic purple carrots into a large plastic container turned garden pot, sowed basil, fennel and chive seeds.. as well as some perennial bunching onions, and artichokes. I also got 6~ 2 year old crowns of Mary Washington asparagus planted.

This rain gave everything a decent soaking in and for that I am thankful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Classes

So I know many gardeners help raise money for their gardens/homes by hosting classes.

Ive been thinking a lot about that recently.

With it being strawberry season I was thinking about having a class where we make and can a batch of strawberry jam. Would anyone be interested in doing a class like this?

Do you have ideas about other types of classes?

News Channel 8

Today Leigh Spann contacted me to do a tour of my gardens and a interview!!!

Feb 7th is the day! :)

Im very excited!

Gotta get the freeze damaged garden going again!!!

WOOOOOOOO

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seed Organizer

Since I ALWAYS have many packs of seeds (I like my variety's) I have to keep them organized or they would be all over the house.. So after about 6 months of having them in a basket I created my seed binder and have kept them this way ever since.. :)

Below is a look at my closed binder.. I got one with a clear sleeve on front so i could slip my seed order papers in front so I always havea record of what I have ordered and from where..


Below.. we have a open look at my seed binder

As you can see I took those nifty little sports card plastic binder holders and placed my folded seed packs into a slot.. each page holds 9 packs.. I organize mine this way.... warm season/ cold season/ herbs/ flowers/ perennials

I think this is a great way to organize and stay compact.. I slip my binder into the fridge door and it takes up almost no space..

Hope this helps! :)

Click HERE to check out other peoples homesteads!

Avocados.. Bad for you?

This is FALSE! Avocados are not "bad" for you!!

One whole avocado is 245 calories (usually).. Do you eat a whole avocado in a sitting? Prob not.. but anyways there are 194 in a small bottle of coke so just cut one out for the day (average American drinks at least 2 a day)** ;)

There are active compounds in avocados that might help prevent cancer. One recent study found that those compounds can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. While conducting the study, these researchers found avocados are loaded with a variety of antioxidants, including familiar disease-fighting compounds such as lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. And with over 1,200 milligrams of potassium per fruit, contain more than two-and-a-half times as much potassium as a banana.

Avocados Crush cholesterol- The avocado is high in fat - 30 grams per fruit, but it's mostly monounsaturated fat (which is extremely good for the heart--and for health in general.)This fat helps protect good HDL cholesterol, while wiping out the bad LDL cholesterol that clogs your arteries. That means you not only lower your bad cholesterol, you also improve your ratio of good HDL to total cholesterol.

Another recently discovered benefit is that avocados help the body absorb phytochemicals from other foods.

Eat up!!

Guacamole:

Ingredients
3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

~In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat.
~ Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.
~ Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash.
~ Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.
~ Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice.
~ Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

** Please do not drink 2 bottles of soda a day.. they are empty calories and are really bad for you.. just had to include this

Perennial Veggies for Hot and Humid Areas

Perennial in all of the Hot and Humid zone:

Allium ampeloprasum ~ Perennial sweet leek

Canna edulis ~ Achira

Allium cepa aggregatum ~ Shallot

Allium cepa aggregatum ~ Potato onion

Allium cepa proliferum ~ Walking onion

Allium fistulosum ~ Welsh onion

Allium tuberosum ~ Garlic chives

Apios americana ~ Groundnut

Aralia cordata ~ Udo

Asphodeline lutea ~ Yellow asphodel

Atriplex halimus ~ Saltbush

Beta vulgaris maritima ~ Sea beet

Brassica oleracea acephala ~ Tropical tree kale

Bunias orientalis ~ Turkish rocket

Camassia scillioides ~ Wild hyacinth

Cedrella sinensis ~ Fragrant spring tree

Cnidoscolus spp. ~ Bull nettles

Cynara cardunculus ~ Cardoon

Allium ursinum ~ Ramson

Colocasia esculenta ~ ‘Celery Stem’ taro

Cynara scolymus ~ ‘Purple Sicilian’ globe artichoke

Cyperus esculentus sativa ~ Chufa

Dioscorea opposita ~ Chinese yam

Diplotaxis spp. ~ Sylvetta arugula

Helianthus tuberosa ~ Sunchoke

Cicorium intybus ~ Chicory

Malva moschata ~ Musk mallow

Nasturtium officinale ~ Watercress

Nelumbo nucifera ~ Water lotus

Oenanthe javanica ~ Water celery

Opuntia spp. ~ Spineless nopale cactus

Petasites japonicus ~ Fuki

Phytolacca americana ~ Pokeweed

Polygonatum biflorum canaliculatum ~ Giant Solomon’s seal

Rumex acetosa ~ French sorrel

Rumex acetosa ~ ‘Profusion’ sorrel

Rumex acetosella ~ Sheep sorrel

Rumex scutatus ~ Silver shield sorrel

Sagittaria latifolia ~ Arrowhead

Sagittaria sinensis ~ Chinese arrowhead

Scorzonera hispanica ~ Scorzonera

Stachys sieboldii ~ Chinese artichoke

Taraxacum officinale ~ Sandelion

Tilia spp. ~ Linden

Perennial in colder parts of the Hot and Humid zone:

Allium tricoccum ~ Ramps

Chenopodium bonus-henricus ~ Good king Henry

Cicorium intybus ~ Chicory

Crambe maritima ~ Sea kale

Laportaea canadensis ~ Wood nettle

Levisticum officinale ~ Lovage

Urtica dioica ~ Nettles


Perennial in warmer parts of the Hot and Humid zone, or perennial with protection. Most of these species can also be grown as annuals in the colder parts of this zone.


Abelmoschus manihot ~ Edible hibiscus (as dieback perennial)

Alternanthera sissoo ~ Sissoo spinach

Arracacia xanthorhiza ~ Arracacha

Basella alba ~ Malabar spinach

Brassica oleracea ~ Wild cabbage

Brassica oleracea acephala ~ ‘Western Front’ perennial kale

Brassica oleracea acephala ~ ‘Tree Collards’, ‘Walking Stick Kale’

Brassica oleracea botrytis ~ Perennial broccoli, including ‘9 Star’

Brassica oleracea ramosa ~ Branching bush kale, including ‘Dorbentons’

Carica papaya ~ Papaya

Cnodoscilus chayamansa ~ Chaya (as dieback perennial)

Cucurbita ficifolia ~ Malabar gourd

Dioscorea alata ~ White yam

Dioscorea esculenta asiatic ~ Lesser yam

Dioscorea trifida ~ Cush cush yam

Dolichos lablab ~ Hyacinth bean

Eleocharis dulcis ~ Water chestnut

Gynura crepioides ~ Okinawa spinach

Hibiscus acetosella ~ Cranberry hibiscus

Ipomoea aquatica ~ Water spinach

Ipomoea batatas ~ Sweet potato

Momordica charantia ~ Bitter gourd

Manihot esculenta ~ Cassava

Moringa spp. ~ Moringa (as dieback perennial)

Musa x paradisica ~ ‘Rajapuri’ banana (warmest parts, with long season

protection)

Oxalis tuberosa ~ Oca

Phaseolus coccineus ~ Runner bean

Phaseolus polysantus ~ Cache bean

Physalis pruinosa ~ Ground cherry

Psophocarpus tetragonobolus ~ ‘Day Length Neutral’ winged bean

Psophocarpus tetragonobolus ~ Winged bean

Saccharum edule ~ Pitpit

Sauropus androgynous ~ Katuk (as dieback perennial)

Sechium edule ~ Chayote

Smallianthus sonchifolia ~ Yacon

Tetragonia tetragonioides ~ New Zealand spinach

Trichostigma octandrum ~ Basket vine (as dieback perennial)

Xanthosoma brasiliense ~ Belembe

Xanthosoma saggitifolium ~ Tannier, yautia, malanga (roots need long season)


~ From: http://perennialvegetables.org

Interesting Plant: Perennial Sea Kale

Sea kale (Crambe maritima) is a clump forming perennial growing about 3 feet high and wide. The plants grey-blue foliage is much like true kale (Brassica oleracea), but the flowers are white and produced in large masses.

Hardy from Zone 5-9
Like Full Sun
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Parts that can be eaten:

Spring Shoots: The blanched asparagus-like shoots are cut at 6-9 inches and have a slight hazelnut flavor.

Flowerbuds: Resemble broccoli heads, are not only beautiful and fragrant but also have been said to have a very good flavor.

Leaves: First and second year plants taste like collards. In the fall, after flowering is complete, the leaves of more mature plants can be eaten.

Roots: can be used raw or cooked, usually boiled or steamed like asparagus and served with butter.

These plants can provide good harvests for up to 10 years!!

Normally not grown in FL I'm getting a pack of seeds to see how it will do in my food forest..

And the food forest is under way

My food forest is officially underway.. we laid out the foundation covered with leaves, and branches and are now planting..

It currently has 3 bananas, 1 mulberry, 1 lemon tree, and 3 little strawberries (they were running off my big momma plants in the strawberry beds).. I have some water saver buckets im going to half dig in to the ground (though still removable if need be) and plant in.. and I also got some seeds im going to start to plant there once they are going strong!

I have fennel and evergreen bunching onions, im also ordering a bunch of supposedly perennial veggies like seakale, and good king henry!

Im excited and its already looking good :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Banana Trees.. Round 2

Before I was graciously given about 8 banana trees which were killed off by the freeze but is already shooting green!!

Now for round 2 another kind soul gave us another 8 or so banana trees!!!

2-3 of these will go into the "food forest" that we are building, the rest will go near and around the pond in the back.. we also got some duckweed for the expanding wildlife pond :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sleep..

As I sit here trying to sleep I realize I have a Goldilocks complex.. meaning..

If I have both legs or arms out of the blanket I'm to cold if I have both legs or arms under the blanket I'm to hot... 1 leg and one arm must be out of the blanket and the rest under for me to be perfect... GEEZ!!! Lol

Not to hot not to cold :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our Urban Farm Wishlist:

We take donations anytime and everything is put to good use and MUCH appreciated!

Things we need:

~ Spare wood (building wood)

~ Compost, Manure

~ Trellis

~ Wheelbarrow

~ 5+ Gallon Buckets

~ Re-bar

~ Anything we can plant in

~ Plants
- Fruit trees
- Flowers
- Herbs
- Exotic Veggies and other edibles
- Roses

~ Fencing.. any kind really mostly animal

~ Nails, Screws, Etc

~ Bricks, Pavers, Etc

~ Mulch, hay bales

~ Stones, Rocks

~ Pond Plants:
- duckweed
- watercress
- lily pads
- other edible pond plants

~ A old bathtub

~ Jars, bottles, and storage containers (Glass please)

~ Overabundance of fresh produce, that we will freeze, can, eat, etc

~ Chicken Food, waterers, feeders

You can also donate money via paypal using the sidebar..

Our address: 9509 N Dartmouth Ave Tampa FL

~ Thank you in advance!!!!!

My Green Harvest

I say my green harvest because everything is unripe.. 80% of my heat loving plants died in the 2 nights of hard freezes we hard here in Central Florida!!!

I had to harvest my large tomatoes and black cherry tomatoes.. the only ones that made it were my violet jasper, the eggplant died and we lost 2 eggplants.. this baby eggplant is the only one that made it!!

Now just to figure out what we are going to do.. with batch 1 we made green tomato salsa so I might just make another batch!
My green harvest!

6.6 oz of green unripe black cherry tomatoes

A huge unripe tomato

Batch 1 of green tomatoes.. 5.75 lbs

Batch 2 of green tomatoes.. 5.9 lbs

My Weird Chick

I think my chick Charlotte has taken a lesson from the cat.. she rolled over in my hand and when i started to pet her belly she just closed her eyes and relaxed.. I mean really??? So cute but doesn't seem chicken like LOL!!!

A simple goal

So my goal is to invite people to learn more about their food..
curious passerby's, friends, etc are always asking why I removed the grass in my front yard, why I am building beds, taking people trashed leaves, yard waste, etc...

I want to inform people about what we are working towards, allow them to watch and understand the transition, have them get excited about watching the plants grow..

So I posted a sign explaining what we are doing and I will also label everything I can that I will be growing or have growing out front, hopefully starting a trend and getting more people excited about their food!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Green Tomato Salsa

7 cups chopped cored green tomatoes
5-10 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups finely chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 loosely packed chopped cilantro or parsley
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
water

~ In large stainless steel saucepan combine tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and lime juice and bring to a boil~ stirring constantly, if your green tomatoes were underdeveloped and dry and some water.. about 2 cups water for 7 cups tomato

~ Stir in cilantro/or parsley, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.. reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes stirring frequently

~ Remove from heat and set next on pot holder

~ If you are canning this you will pour into heated and ready jars 8oz jars (this recipe makes about 6 jars) leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.. process for 20 minutes, remove from heat and uncover canner leaving for 5 minutes, remove jars and let sit on counter untouched until you hear that *ding* that tells you they have sealed, cool jars, and store on shelf!!


~ ENJOY!!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wilted Tomatoes~ Freeze

So all my tomatoes even the covered ones wilted.. the ones that were uncovered have wilted and turned dark green with damage. The covered ones are wilted but still green so I am hoping to keep them alive long enough to finish growing all my green tomatoes.. Here is what I am doing..

Saving Tomato Plants From Frost

~ Prune any obviously dead or frozen leaves and stems immediately. They will not regenerate after frost damage, and leaving them on the plant will only make it more difficult for the plant to supply nutrients to the healthy portions.

~ Pull any red fruit from the vine, but leave green tomatoes. Often, young green fruit is able to recover after a mild frost, and in a week or two should begin to develop normally. If no new growth is seen in this time, remove the green tomatoes as well.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Use you Christmas Tree in your garden

Here are some great ideas!!!

~ Use Branches as Pea Brush
Stick branches into the ground wherever you plant your peas. The pea vines will climb the branches. Use a criss-cross fashion, so that one branch helps support the one next to it. You can also tie the branches together where they intersect to help stabilize your pea brush.

~ Cut the branches off and lay them over perennials in your garden. This will provide protection from temperature fluctuations and prevent the plants from heaving out of the soil.

~ Use the trunk to make teepees to grow beans on, rustic fences, and as supports for shade covers and floating row covers.

~ You can cut the branches up into smaller pieces and use them to mulch your beds or garden paths. Snip a few branches into pieces every time you go to the garden so its not such a chore

~ Provide a home for the birds. Once you're done with it indoors, remove the decorations and place your tree, stand and all, out in the yard. Birds will find it and use it as shelter during the winter months. In spring, once the birds don't need it anymore, either chip it up or lay it on its side in a part of your yard where it can serve as a brush pile for other backyard wildlife.

~ Use the trunk of your Christmas tree, you can lay it on the ground to use as a rustic garden bed edging

~ Cut the trunk into little round disks to make small cute "stepping stones"

~ Chop it into firewood and kindling. A typical fir can be turned into 13+ pounds of firewood. Dry branches make great kindling for starting fires. ** Warning: Please use caution while burning this indoors because they contain flammable turpentine oils. Though I have never had a problem in my own house, I advise you to watch your plants and use sparingly **

~ Some people place their used trees in their fish ponds, where they serve as refuge and feeding areas for the fish. **Some experts recommend removing all the needles first, as they’re mildly toxic to the fish.**

~ Cut the branches off and use them at the base of a fresh compost pile. It's a good idea to have coarser materials, like tree branches, at the bottom of the pile because it helps increase air flow to the pile.

What to plant this month~ January (Zone 9)

January:
Plant Seeds of:
Eggplant
Peppers
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Carrots
Celery
Collards
Endive
kale
Leek
Lettuce
Mustard
Parsley
English Peas
Potatoes
Radish
Turnips Beets
Chinese Cabbage
Kohlrabi
Green and Shallot Onions
* Remember to keep mulch around your vegetable plants to conserve moisture and reduce weed problems.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day Harvest!

A strawberry ( i think the birds may have taken a holiday from eating mine), 2 huge gold medal tomatoes, and a violet jasper tomato!




A freeze is coming :(


So I had to prepare and cover my heat loving plants..


the other beds will be covered the day of because they will have towels and sheets and cannot get sunlight.. Heres hoping my tomatoes, peppers and eggplant make it through.. everything else is cold loving so they will LOVE it :)

Canning Time

With strawberry season comes some awesome canning opurtunites!!

So I had great plans and have followed through with 3 of the 4 already..

1. Strawberry Jam
2. Strawberry Wine Jelly
3. Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate
4. Strawberry Lemon Marmalade

So number 1, 3 and number 4 are done and sitting on our shelves

Canning has been a blast and I love knowing I am putting up food for my family!

Making Strawberry Jam:




Strawberry Lemon Marmalade:


Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate: