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.

 

 

life of the party, hello parsley

Parsley.

Yesterday, I shared a picture of one of my herb gardens.  A friend asked, “what on earth are you going to do with all that Parsley?  I answered, ” We are going to eat it.

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You know, that itty bitty piece of sad green on your dinner plate?  That’s parsley.

Hello!  Nice to meet you.

When you went to aGerman Schnitzel with garnish restaurant in the 90’s more often than not you got your meal presented with a flourish.  As a last minute garnish, one cherry tomato or slice of lemon was getting friendly with the 1 inch or smaller piece of limp looking parsley.

Last night, I took a picture of just how much parsley I eat every single day.  I put a pen in the picture for scale.   We pick it fresh and it is put into my daily juice routine.  Beyond daily juice, I also pick and cook with as much as I can.

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The under celebrated herb called Parsley (Latin:  Petroselinum) is filled to overflowing with beneficial nutrients, essential oils, and antioxidants – to the point that it’s often called a superfood.  Along side freshening both you and your dogs’ breath, parsley helps with inflammation, acid reflux & arthritis, this marvelous herb can clean out your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder.

Popeye would have been twice as strong had he known that Parsley has TWICE the iron as Spinach!

Dr. Mercola gently reminds us, eating parsley is an excellent way to detoxify our systems of harmful compounds like mercury.

Do you want strong bones?  If you want to be impressed by parsley, take a look at its vitamin K content – a whopping 574% of the daily recommended value.  This is BIG news, friends!

Parley’s vitamin C content is 3 times more than in oranges, and the vitamin A augments the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, helping to prevent eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Dr. Axe is a smarty pants and here is what he has to say about parsley and the “c” word:

Parsley contains unique elements in its oil known as volatile oil components — myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. These powerful oil components benefit the body’s immune system and help fight cancer-formation, in particular, slowing tumor growth, neutralizing oxidative stress and fighting off carcinogens from harming the body. (7)

Parsley is sometimes called a “chemoprotective” plant because it helps protect DNA from damage, stops cell mutation and helps induce apoptosis, or the death of harmful cells. One of Parsley’s beneficial compounds called apigenin has been found to “inhibit progestin-dependent synthesis of human breast cancer cells, significantly delaying the development of, and decreasing the incidence and multiplicity of mammary tumors”, according to research done in 2013 by the American Association of Cancer. 

There are several good sources (those sources are at your finger tips, people) to learn oodles and oodles more about the glorious plant called Parsley.

Time to add some life to your party!   Tonight when you cook those stunning fresh green beans, toss in a handful of parsley.  Tomorrow when you make a gorgeous vegetable soup, again, toss in some beautiful green.  That Shrimp & Grits you are going to serve?  Freshly chopped parsley will add a little somethin’ somethin’.  That ice cream sundae?  Just toss on…….ha, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  The home school mom came out in me today. haha  Now,  I want us all to do a watercolor painting or chalk drawings of parsley.  I want my chef helper to pick, wash & chop parsley for dinner tonight.  Let’s use parsley in a sentence……

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

woman’s work

Usually two times during the year, my grandma would come to our home for a one week stay.  My grandpa would drive her, spend the night, then leave the next morning.  “leaving the woman folk to their work.”  He would return a week later, stay for a meal, then he would drive them home.

My bedroom was the “guest” room, so, during those times,  I slept in a sleeping bag on the sofa.

She came for canning.  Late August for all the garden bounty and then again in October for all the peaches, pears, apples and so forth.  She didn’t come with presents for us nor did she read stories.  She wasn’t the warm and fuzzy kind of grandma.  She came to work.

During the week, we 3 girls would have to entertain ourselves, outdoors.  We would get to eat lunch in our backyard fort.  Popsicle were offered from the doorway. We drank from the garden hose.  We played tether ball.  Simple dinners were eaten outdoors on the picnic table. We used paper napkins.   If by chance the weather was poor, we had to make camp in the family room and color, play dress up, pretend next door neighbor or play dolls.

We were not allowed in the kitchen.  It was work, hard work and dangerous.  Or so we were told.

Every now and then, I would see my mom and grandma, still wearing their aprons, come outside to hang laundry up on the line or I would see them sitting on the back porch step, talking.

I know now, that when they were sitting on the back porch, sure they were resting their feet, getting some fresh air, maybe a breeze,  however, more importantly, that meant the pressure cooker was doing it’s thing and they never stayed in the kitchen while it was working.  They re-told horror stories of pressure cookers exploding in kitchens across the land.  No one they ever knew personally, just stories passed along.   Good news, I have no such story to share about canning in my family, nor anyone I ever heard of.

While my family had more than enough …things, money, nice homes, cars, stuff…….no one I was ever related to nor knew had air conditioning in their homes.

Picture this, today it will be around 90*.  Add 90 degrees + hot stove + boiling water + pressure cooker…… well, it just doesn’t sound ideal.  It sounds hot and miserable.

20160816_195831_resizedYesterday, I picked a bounty of tomatoes from my garden.  (note:  from this moment on, when I fill out a form that says: Hobbies______________________.  Along with sewing, quilting, cross stitching, embroidery, I am now going to add gardening!)

This morning I cut an X in the bottom of each tomato.20160817_080854-1_resized Boiled them for 45 seconds, plunged into ice 20160817_081516-1_resizedwater, peeled then chopped and tossed into the crock pot.

Wait, no crock pot 60+ years ago?  They cooked sauce all day long on the stove.

I added fresh picked parsley, onions, garlic lots of garlic, herbs and S & P.20160817_082706-1_resized

20160817_085020-1_resizedMarinara sauce is simmering as I type.  I can freeze some for later use. By adding this or that, it will become pizza, spaghetti, egg plant Parmesan, lasagna or Bolognase sauce. Tonight, grilled mushrooms will be added to the mix and it will smoother some homemade pasta.

I dripped a bit of tomato juice on the kitchen floor.  Instead of bending down to wipe it up, I just got out the swifter and made quick work of mopping the floor.  Tossed the wet towel in garbage and went about my day.

I did not have to get out the rope mop, bucket and Spic& Span cleaner.  I did not have to heft that mop, do the floor, then wring it out with my hands, then rinse it clean, then hang it on the line to dry.

Here’s to all the grandma’s/mom’s that came before us and did “woman’s work”.  Read that as hot, heavy duty work,  washing and cutting up vegetables and fruits,  washing and boiling hundreds (and I honestly mean hundreds) of jars and lids all while still watching children, doing laundry, mopping floors and figuring out what to make for meals.

Today, I for one am mighty GRATEFUL for air conditioning, swifter mops, crock pots, 20160817_085551-1_resizedfreezers and a Mr. Right who doesn’t call it “woman’s work”.

I have a pretty good feeling, he would offer to take me out to dinner because I slaved in the air conditioned kitchen this morning for 45 minutes.

In this together, folks.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

beautiful bounty

In direct contrast to my ridiculous computer frustration the past few days…

I give you one picture.

Today’s Bounty.20150812_132801-1

Why yes, thanks for asking.  I can actually accomplish things.  I am gifted.

I did grow the beans and tomatoes!

Yes, yes, I did raise the chickens who gave us those two lovely eggs.

Oh my, I am blushing. Don’t stop me now, I am on a roll!  Look out!!!

Yes, I did weave the basket they are arranged in.

Oh, thank you, yes, I did sew the quilt and hand quilt the little tiny stitches on the piece in the photograph.

We all have talents and gifts.  Sometimes I can’t really see mine over the crying and gnashing of teeth over computer issues.

I have to gently remind myself that crying, stomping my feet and reaching my “cuss quota” for the day all have to do with computer technology not the other 99% of my life.

Do you gently remind yourself of your gifts?  It’s a lovely feeling to remember we each are talented in different genres.

I would love to hear about some of your talents and gifts.  Please share.