how does your garden grow?

square-foot-gardening 3Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock and am very late to this party, but similar to folks buying and installing “microwave drawers” in new kitchens (oh, that’s a whole other conversation) this gardening idea is a whole new concept for me.

Boy Howdy, after reading only 31 glorious pages, I’ve strapped on my party shoes (read that as cute gardening boots) and ready to get planting.

Okay, this book has sold over 2.5 million copies.  Really?  Seriously, people, I must really have enjoyed living in the dark. Where have I been?  Why didn’t I spy it while at the library?  Why hasn’t someone shared this amazing concept with me?  Why isn’t this being talked about?  Do I need to find new friends who want to talk about growing food?

I am excited (to the point of wanting to take out some of my garden beds and start over), fascinated and can’t wait to get started even this late in the growing season.   

20180513_175724_resizedMel Bartholomew’s innovative grid-based method is explained so simply (I wish I had the common sense to think of this myself, drats), All New Square Foot Gardening.  “The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space”. 

***By the way, I took the picture of the book laying in our lush, thick, feels amazing to walk on (grounding, is real and it is something we all need to do)  backyard grass.  If you get a chance might I suggest you ask Mr. Right what his secret is?  I’ll give you a hint:  it’s white, it’s granulated, it’s sweet and you purchase it in the baking aisle of the grocery store.

Goodbye, weekends of weeding.  Goodbye buying fertilizers.   Goodbye digging.  Goodbye, remembering to turn on and off the sprinkler to water everything. 

Hello beautiful, productive garden with an amount that I can handle, throughout the growingsquare foot gardening 2 season.  

This book is for sale everywhere, heck it is in its second edition.  For $15.89 through Amazon, you can be reading in a day or two!  

I highly recommend this book.  Need a gift idea?  Need a new homeowner gift suggestion? Give it to the seasoned gardener in your life.  BETTER YET, give it to someone who is toying with the idea of gardening but is hesitant because they think it is too much work, takes too much time and the list goes on.   Best part?  No matter where you are reading in the country or world, everyone can enjoy & use this system.

squarefoot0011This solves the issues of gardening is hard, it takes too much time, I can’t garden because we have poor soil, we don’t have a large enough area, the list goes on.

However, would you like to know what hooked me? 

I loved that when asking people why they planted gardens in rows with so much room between and using fertilizer………….and the answer was always, “because that is how we’ve always done it”  “because that is how my grandfather did it”.  You KNOW that was a reason for me to like it. 

As my own public service announcement, I highly recommend this book.  Please for the sake of people living under big rocks everywhere, do them and yourself a favor…………at least read the description & review on Amazon.  If you don’t want to part with $15.00, please consider checking it out of the library. 

If you are still thinking this is silly, there is no way this will help feed people.  There is no way this could be a remarkable thing to teach………just ask anyone in the Utah School system or homeschooling programs or world Mission programs……. 

Or for the love of anyone living under a rock, buy the book, slip it gently under the rock to them.  At least they will have something fascinating and interesting to read. 

In this together folks, 

Chat soon. 

tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.

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Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)

 

or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.

 

 

Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

Chat soon.

we struck GOLD

Oh, glory be!  After months of remembering to water and fuss and crossing of fingers…….the time had come to get a little dirt under those finger nails.

The great backyard potato harvest of 2017.

We struck Gold! Yukon Gold that is.

I will let pictures tell the story.  I am off to start the water to boiling.  I foresee glorious mashed taters on my dinner plate tonight!!!

 

 

Just a little potato humor.  You’re welcome.  🙂

On with the show!

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I predict a whole bunch of crispy, wonderful home-made potato chips in our future!

How did your garden grow this year?

Chat soon.

 

 

How does your garden grow?

20170602_074942-1_resized_1Mary, Mary………………My name is Daleen and I try not to be contrary (pigheaded, obstinate, defiant, unhelpful, difficult)

When a girlfriend comes to visit…………..don’t you just love to get out two mugs, pour cups of dark coffee, slosh in oodles of thick coconut cream and take them out back to wonder around the garden?  You hold the mug with two hands.  One to keep the chill at bay and two you have no hand to hold your phone.  It’s just you and your friend, meandering.

Come on, here, you might need this sweater.  It’s a bit cool out this morning and the rain is trying hard to do more than drizzle.

Raspberries, Grapes and Rosemary

 

Jasmine and Mint

 

Blueberries and   Yukon Gold Potatoes

 

Swiss Chard, Radishes, Pole Beans and Tomatoes

 

Fig tree, Cilantro and Chives

 

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Spinach

 

Let’s sit here under the Wisteria Covered Pergola and drink the rest of our coffee?

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Thanks for visiting my garden.  I loved chatting and meandering.

I would love to see what grows in your garden.

In this together, friends.

Happy Friday!

Chat soon.

 

 

 

weed

Hi Kids,

20170525_154245_000_resizedThere is no denying it, we ALL know by now, that the chemicals used to kill weeds is bad news.  

By bad news I mean, those nasty chemicals cause cancer.

period  

The chemicals are carcinogenic to kids, adults, dogs and cats.  

So, when you go to visit your sweet, Great Aunt in a memory care facility and you are sitting in a beautiful manicured lawn area……………….

When you let your dog run free around your beautifully landscaped, gated community……….

When you let your grand kids roll on the ground and play t.v. tag (do kids still play that?) on the lawn that is beautifully weed free…………..

This is serious and this is real.  I AM NOT KIDDING.

“that won’t happen to me” isn’t going to cut it any longer!  News flash!  It is happening all around you.  The chem in “Chem-Lawn” is bad mojo.

Yes, we have all driven by someone using one of those plastic containers with hose & spray nozzle………….spraying for weeds.  Who doesn’t want the weeds to “magically” disappear?

Let’s face it, none of us enjoy pulling weeds.  No one likes to spend their beautiful, sunny, Saturday on their knees pulling weeds………. only to have them pop up again in 10-14 days.

SOLUTION time!!!!!!!! 

We all have seen recipes for “natural” this or that.  Not all of them work as well as the down and dirty, cancer (and many other nasty problems) causing chemicals.  Just being real here.

I am sharing because this recipe worked for me and I have a sneaky suspicion that it will work for you.  Such a simple, inexpensive solution that really works!!!!

Okay you were already going to spend money on that jug of Round Up weed killer.  How about this……..spend a bit less and buy your supplies at the grocery store instead of the hardware store?  Same result, minus the nasty chemicals.

20170525_154125_resizedPurchase (or use the one you have) a container with a hose and spray nozzle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the recipe:

Boil 2 cups of water with 2 cups of salt, let cool 

1 tablespoon liquid dish soap

1 gallon jug of white vinegar

Pour it all into your container and start spraying.  No, you won’t need to wear a mask and white coveralls.  

Two days later, go look at the weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk.  Look at the weeds beside your backyard shed.

Dead as a door nail.  (what?)

Yep, easy application.  Very inexpensive.

Holy Guacamole!  It works. 

Let’s review:  2 cups salt water, 1 Tablespoon liquid dish soap, 1 gallon white vinegar…done.

In this together, friends.

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just checking

20170423_174116-1-1_resized_1A friend sent me a message.

“Hey, you still there?  Just checking.”

I proceeded to answer with 4 long paragraphs.

Oh dear, I think the salutation was meant just as a “hi, how ya doin’ ” kind of thing.   Guess, I was over zealous in my response.

Lately, it seems to be a weird season in my world.  I feel like I am moving along quietly, making things to give, studying………oh, I don’t know, keeping my head down and moving forward.

When someone gently taps me on the shoulder and asks if I am still here, the dam breaks and I gush about this and that.

I rambled on about my gardening.  One entire raised bed is planted with potatoes. Before you know it, I will be sharing pictures of deep verdant green leaves of my growing Yukon Gold taters!   I also mentioned that I crushed all my saved up egg shells and worked them into the bed that will be lush to overflowing with tomatoes!

20170415_165650_resizedI was excited to announce that I finally bought a fig tree.  Oh, I dream of the day when I am complaining about what other recipe I could find to use up all the figs I grow!  Waiting for the soaking rain to lighten up just a bit so “we” (read that as Mr. Right) can dig a hole and plant my new tree.

I blathered on about crafting and sewing. During my yucky medicine time during lunch, I like to concentrate on a new crochet stitch to learn.  By the end of lunch time, I have figured out the stitch and then find pockets of time here and there to finish another hat to donate.   (Good news, I think I have a line on another place to donate baby hats instead of just the hospital and that makes me happy.)

I am still here.

I am on the last coat of white paint for a baseboard project.  I am toying with the idea of painting the back of the front door.  Two outdoor, humongous flower pots are emptied, cleaned and drying…just waiting for a non rain day, so I can paint them.   I purchased a new bar stool that is working very well.   Bought new sheets. Spent 16 plus hours learning and studying The Truth about Vaccines with Ty Bollinger.  (Excellent documentary 5 STAR rating)   Watched Hockey playoffs.  Then out of the blue, last week, I made the best crepes I think I have ever, ever made.

Oh, and I wanted to share one last thing.  I made a silly, goofy, happy Jelly Fish finger puppet.  Then I put it into an envelope and mailed it to a certain grandson.  Everyone loves snail mail.  Hey, funny….. I sent a jelly fish using snail mail! We were thrilled goofy grandparents watching a video of him being happy with his new creature.  heehee. Certainly, time well spent.  I think he really likes it.

Made him giggle.  SOOOOO worth it. 20170420_160714-1_resized

THANKS for checking in on me. Even if you didn’t want an entire run down of life in my neck of the woods, it sure felt nice to have someone ask.  Thanks for listening to my long-winded answer.

When I asked how life was in your neck of the woods, I really meant it.  I am interested in what you are reading or planting.  I want to know that for some weird reason you splurged and went out and got frozen yogurt with toppings. I will be happy to hear you too are waiting for the heavy rains to pass so you can plant your garden.

Makes me smile & feel safe knowing there are other humans out there that are kind enough to check in and see how life is tumbling along.

Gotta Swish Jellyfish……….I am headed into the kitchen to do a little baking.  Also into the sewing room to frame a just finished counted cross stitch piece.  I have 3.5 miles of biking to do and going to spend some time jumping on the rebounder. Fingers crossed the mail man comes to deliver a new vacuum ( you KNOW I will have something to say about that!)

Gotta tell ya, it feels mighty nice to have a friend check in on you.

Let’s make that happen today!  Just send this brief message to someone in your world today.

“Hey, you still there?  Just checking.”

In this together, chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

winter’s coming

Years ago, our youngest was listening to a librarian read a story during children’s time.  I was wondering around, just enjoying my “alone” time.  I came across this half cut view of an ant hill.  Like a doll house only it was an ant hill?  It was amazingly detailed work and while hilarious, funny thing, I remember much about it 28 years later.

There were little ants gathering wood, packing in food, making miniature beds with micro mini pillows, the tiniest washer and dryer with stacks of clean laundry    (haha, still makes me giggle)   and the smallest jars I ever did see…..filled with all sorts of food storage for the winter.  There was a string, strung across a keeping room with all sorts of herbs drying.

The hanging sign was a warning:  Winter’s Coming!  Be prepared.  Only the foolish folks and apparently ants, would not prepare for the cold, dark months ahead.

My herb garden is overflowing and full and ripe for the pickin’.  I am mighty grateful for the bountiful harvest.  I want to capture it and savor it all winter long.  I want to feed my family and offer rich, deep flavors all through the dark months ahead.

Today, is day 3 of drying herbs. 20160913_102501-1_resized

Two days ago, I filled the dehydrator with parsley.  I mean filled to overflowing.  I ended up with one 6 inch spice jar.

20160912_112906-1_resizedYesterday, I filled to overflowing the dehydrator with Sage.  Once dry, its yield was one 6 inch spice jar. 20160912_143409_resized

I am guessing today’s Rosemary yield will be similar.

I plan on keeping this process up for another couple weeks.  Pick, wash, dehydrate, store, repeat.

Oh, the aroma in our home is out of this world amazing.  So rich, earthy, deep it makes me want to bake, cook, roast …….I think this is what kitchens are supposed to smell like.

Here’s how I go about it:

I pick the herbs in the early morning.  I wash well and remove stems.  Load up the dehydrator and turn it on.  3 -6 hours later, I remove, crush or rub onto a piece of wax paper and then scoop up and place in a jar.  I share or store.

Something tells me, on a dreary, cold, uninspired late day in January, I will be thrilled to 20160913_103602_resizedadd some of my own herbs to a warm pot of soup.  Or will be tickled to smell these wonderful herbs releasing their aroma in some of my home-made tomato sauce.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health and wellness this winter!20160912_143139-1_resized

Chat soon.