Tag Archives: garden

Baby Potatoes

Look at these adorable little potatoes. I accidentally pulled them out when I was weeding the other day, so I cooked them up with some shrimp and homemade tomato sauce (from the tomatoes I got at the market and herbs from my garden). Pretty tasty!

Homegrown Lettuce from My First Garden!

This is the biggest platter I own and it's piled high with fresh, homegrown lettuce straight from my first garden!

100% natural, no pesticides, insecticides, or chemicals of any kind…grown with organic cow compost, water and sunlight!

I had my first salad from my first garden tonight! It was great! The garden’s doing pretty well. I was able to give the neighbors a big bag of fresh lettuce and I have 2 big containers of it left in the fridge. I may need to give more away in a couple days! At least the lettuce is doing well. Can we say salad for lunch tomorrow?!

The spinach never took off. A couple of the heads of lettuce died shortly after planting, but I had about 10 heads that just exploded over the weekend (thanks to Jan watering them while I was on my weekend getaway to Ohio). 🙂 The cauliflower has little heads and I can’t wait to harvest and eat that! The broccoli has lots of big leaves, but very little broccoli as of yet. The potatoes are growing like crazy! The herb garden is beautiful and I’m enjoying using it! The cabbage, though…I’m pretty sure Country Boys gave me the wrong plant. It’s a very tall, thin stalk with little yellow flowers on the top. The leaves kind of resemble miniature cabbage leaves, but there’s only about 6 leaves on each tall stem. Very strange. Oh, and the compost pile has sprouted too. Not sure what it’s sprouted, but it’s alive for sure!

Yardwork and Garden Progress

This week has been a work in progress. Almost every night, we worked on the front flower beds. First step was to move the herb garden from the flower beds to the front porch (I think they’ll like a little less direct sunlight). Then we had to weed, plant, and mulch. I planted the blueberry plants on one side of the front porch (hopefully we’ll have a nice hedge of them and be able to pick them from the porch for breakfast in a year or so). They had to planted in a combination of the dirt that was already there, top soil, compost, sand, and peat moss. Then we planted several azaleas, a couple viburnum, and one other bush that I can’t remember the name of. Goal: easy yard maintenance since life is going to become hectic soon. Bryan also trimmed the bushes on the side of the house and mowed the lawn. The garden is coming along quite nicely. Potatoes and Cabbage are sprouting and starting to flower. The lettuce is doing well. The spinach is not doing so well. Maybe it needs to come to the front porch with the herbs. We’ll see. Broccoli and Cauliflower is getting leafy. Can’t wait for it to start shooting up the actual veggie! Here are some pictures…

Book Review: The Herb Book, A Complete Guide to Growing and Using Herbs by Jennie Harding

256 pages. Absolutely beautiful! This book gives a wonderful history of herbs, guide to soil sampling and growing herbs, a full display of recipes using herbs. It also gives many examples of herbs used medicinally or to improve your healthy lifestyle, which herbs affect which body system, and how to make herbal waters and herb-infused essential oils. The last section of the book is an alphabetical list of herbs with pictures, which part to use, and how, culinary and medicinal uses.

Unfortunately, I can’t find this book anywhere online. However, the author has another book with a very similar ISBN, called The Herb Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing and Using Herbs. Since the second half of the title is the same as the book I reviewed, my assumption is that it’s just an updated version. I got my copy at T.J. Maxx for $5. Amazon has The Herb Bible available for $8. It’s also available in Spanish!

My First Garden (Mar. 15, 2010)

Well, this Saturday was supposed to rain, but instead, it was a beautiful day! A few weeks ago, I built two 4′ square raised boxes. I bought 8 – 8′ x 2″ x 6″ decking boards and cut each one in half (making sure they were the same lengths, as the boards aren’t exactly 8′ even). Yes, I used a power saw and drill all by myself (after Bryan showed me where the safety on the saw was, that is)! I also bought 2 fence stakes and cut each one in 4 pieces to secure the corners of the boxes. After I finished the boxes, I called my mom to tell her what I was working on. Her first question was, “You didn’t use pressure treated lumber, did you?” My response (after my heart sank a little): “Uh, yeah, I think so, why?” She told me she didn’t think you were supposed to use pressure treated wood because it affected the soil, leaching chemicals into your plants. Well, I did a little research and turns out she was right, up until 2005! In 2005, they passed a law that removed one of three chemicals from the pressure treating process. That chemical: arsenic! So, now it’s safe to use pressure treated lumber around your garden. Phew! I was not looking forward to starting over.

Here’s a picture of one of the boxes:

I placed them in a sunny spot in my backyard. I dug out the grass and drug it to a spot that needed filled in. Then I mixed in several bags of topsoil and organic compost. I let that sit for a couple weeks, and then planted potatoes, leeks, 4 types of lettuce, spinach, cabbage, thyme, parsley, broccoli and cauliflower. I told my nephew Isaac it was a salad in the ground.

Here’s the finished product:

I still need to dig out the grass in the second box for my summer vegetables. I plan on planting tomatoes, squash, carrots, and maybe a few other things. I gave them a good watering today. Can’t wait till I eat a full salad out of nothing but my own garden vegetables.

Mar. 23, 2010: From the Inside Out said…”YUMMMM!! 😀 I actually am looking into square foot gardening….but of course since we’re renting, I have to make them moveable….http://www.squarefootgardening.com/”

Going Green in the Kitchen (Feb. 26, 2010)

Here are some helpful articles from SparkPeople.com (the online health management tool I use to track calories, exercise, etc.). It has tons of helpful healthy lifestyle tips and articles. Overall, it’s just a great resource! And it’s completely free!

8 Ways to “Green” Your Kitchen by Liza Barnes, Health Educator (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=928)

Buying Organic Food on a Budget by Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=740)

Why Go Organic? by Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=682)

Farmers Market Food Finds by Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=478)

I love this chart from the above link:

Color – Phytonutrients – Health Benefits – Food Sources

Red – Lycopene, Anthocyanin – Prevents certain cancers. Strengthens collagen proteins. – strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, cherries
Orange – Beta-Carotene, Liminoids – Protects against bronchitis, asthma, cataracts, and lung cancer. Can decrease cholesterol levels. – carrots, squash, melons
Yellow – Liminoids, Beta-carotene, Zeaxanthin – Protects vision. Prevents colon and breast cancers. – yellow peppers, corn
Green – Lutein, Saponins, Glucosinolates – Protects eyesight. Heart and skin maintenance. Prevents cancer. Lowers lipid levels. –
spinach, collard greens, broccoli, tomatillos
Blue – Anthocyanin – Prevents colon, cervical and prostate cancers. – blueberries, grapes, plums
Purple – Anthocyanin – Prevents cancer. Anti-inflammatory. – grapes, raspberries, blackberries, eggplant

To find a local farmer’s market near you, check out LocalHarvest.org.

Backyard Gardening Lifestyle Center (list of articles and helpful tips for growing your own garden), one of the ways I’m going to try to “go green” in my kitchen this year. Along with this, I’m going to try to start composting to eliminate a lot of unnecessary waste while helping my new garden grow.