Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kohlrabi Hotsticks

This has to be one of the simplest ferment recipes ever; perfect for newbies!  It only has 4 ingredients: kohlrabi, water, salt, and red pepper flakes.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Leftover Turkey Nachos

Confession: On Thanksgiving, I don't really love eating turkey.

It's true! Leftovers, though? I am all over those!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Reading Corner-- Two Old Potatoes and Me

Even though the potatoes are harvested, we keep coming back to this book. I think we have read it at least a hundred times! We have enjoyed it before, during, and now after our potato planting experiment--out of the hundreds of books in our shelves, this one just keeps getting chosen. I renewed it so many times from the library, they demanded it back when I ran out of allowed renewals...and then after I returned it, I went right back the next week and checked it out again with a fresh amount of allowed renewals. Is this a sign that perhaps we ought to just own the dang book?

It's such a sweet story about a girl and her dad planting potatoes in the back yard for the first time. The illustrations are colorful and fun, and the story is so completely relatable. From the moment the girl sees curling 'eyes' on a couple old potatoes and says "GROSS!" and her father suggests that no, they are not gross, they may actually grow new potatoes, we were hooked. After all, we had our own similar situation a year ago (click here to see the old potatoes we decided we'd try to plant).

Monday, November 3, 2014


I introduce, with an admittedly contrived pun, my "fermen-troduction" into the world
 of all foods fermented!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Autumn Beauty: Feeds our Souls and Our Gardens

Ahh, the beauty of it touches our souls. And feeds our gardens. :)

*Scroll down for THREE ways we use autumn leaves for our garden!*

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our First Worm Casting Harvest

We have worm castings! The worm farm has been silently working for months, and we harvested our first batch of castings today.

I have a separate post detailing how we got those castings ready for harvest, but this is a simple journal post to show what we are doing with the castings right now. We used some, and we saved some!

We had planted our garlic a couple weeks ago and thought our castings would be the perfect snack to feed the garlic before winter sets in. We pushed aside the straw and sprinkled castings over the newly planted garlic before putting the straw back into place.

After top-dressing all the garlic, we still had some leftover castings, so we set up

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Garlic and Commitment

Noah helping me make room for garlic.
I think he just wanted to use those bypass loppers.

Garlic, garlic everywhere. Including, in my mailbox!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Foraging: Free Marriage Therapy

My husband and me...

We've been weathering a rough patch lately, as many marriages do. We've bickered, we've fallen silent, we've lost our way, and we've sought therapy. For no tangible reasons and yet lots of silent ones, our marriage was slipping and we have been looking for ways to get our feet back on the path.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Forager's Find: Quince

Is it an apple? A pear? Why does it smell so amazing? What is this unusual fruit with a solid place throughout written history? It is a quince. Chances are, you may not have heard of it--
but I know you'd like to.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Save Marigold Seed

There was a time when I just didn't get marigolds. I saw them being sold at plant centers by the thousands and wondered "who on earth buys these boring flowers?"

Then, I started gardening.

Specifically, I began organic gardening. One of the first things I learned as I began growing food is that marigolds are a must-have. The marigold is described as a workhorse in the garden, driving away pests like aphids and cabbage worms and rabbits. Though some will claim that the miracles of the marigold are overstated, I know many gardeners who have sworn by these beauties for years. I no longer see them as boring, I see them as incredible in their simple beauty, and I'll include them for as long as I garden.

Marigolds rock because:

  • They are very easy to grow, either transplanted or from seed.
  • They come in a stunning variety of shapes and colors, adding gorgeous splashes of red, yellow, and orange to the garden.
  • They release compounds that destroy nematodes that feast on and destroy root systems.
  • Their pungent odor has been said to keep deer and bunnies at bay.
  • Some people swear that planting them by tomatoes improves the flavor of the tomatoes. My grandma planted a marigold by each of her tomato plants religiously.
  • They are edible! Some varieties taste better than others; Lemon Gem, other Gem varieties, Mexican, and Signet are popular edible choices. Grow those and you can pick off  a flower or two for your salad or chopped and cooked into rice.
  • They bloom continuously. All spring, summer, and into fall, marigolds put out new blooms. You'll have beautiful swatches of color all season long.
  • They are wonderful for bees and other pollinators.

Once you realize how simple it is to save marigold seeds, you will never buy another packet again (unless you want to add another variety to your stash, of course!).

It's so simple, there is no reason NOT to. You'll have thousands of seeds with very little effort, and will have ample marigolds every single year.

Saving Marigold Seed

  • Throughout the season, but mostly in the fall, the marigold flower heads will shrivel up and dry out while still on the plant.
  • Simply pull off these dead head and allow them to completely dry indoors.
  • Toss them all in a jar to store through the winter, and in the spring you'll have more marigold seeds than you could possibly use.
  • I take the dried flower heads out in the spring when the threat of frost is gone, and I sprinkle them generously all over where I want marigolds. Not all of them will germinate, but a ton of them will!

Repurposed plastic relish container holding 16 marigold dead heads;
this will give me hundreds of seeds for the next season.

When ready to plant, it's simple.
Peel away any of the dead petals and you will see the seeds.

The seeds pull out easily.
Start marigolds indoors, or do what I do; in the spring,
I simply scatter them all over the beds I want marigolds to grow.
Enjoy your marigolds! Leave a comment if you have a new-found (or old and long-standing) love for marigolds. :)

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. I'm eligible to receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through these links. Click Here for my full disclosure!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Earth Bucket Success!

A few months ago I showed you how I got down and dirty with some simple power tools to make 'Earth Buckets', which is just a fun and fancy name for 'self-watering bucket planters.' These buckets have proven themselves nicely successful with my first experiment: sweet peppers.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Glut Sauce: The Easiest Tomato Sauce You'll Ever Make

It seems I always turn to this method because it is such a tasty and SIMPLE way to preserve tomatoes. Very little mess, no peeling tomatoes, and you'll use the sauce for so many things.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Must. Find. Apples.

This is it, all that is left from last year's applesauce making. I'm actually impressed we have three whole quarts left (one of which I broke into yesterday), because we tend to eat a lot of applesauce, whether plain, baked into recipes, or

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Meaty Meatless Burgers

Let me start out by saying: I am not a vegetarian. But, I'm pretty darn close.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Potato Towers-The Harvest

Our tiny harvest. Those left in the container had been chewed up
by some little critter before we dug them up.
The critter certainly appreciated our potato growing efforts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Forager's Find: Cornelian Cherry

The end of August brought with it a thrilling discovery, one that has been under my nose (or above my head, if we are being literal) for years.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

When Life Mows it Down

The vacant house down the block became a source of wonder for us this summer. While other neighbors shook their heads with mild annoyance, we watched the

Monday, August 18, 2014

Invisible Zucchini Tuna Salad

If you garden--or if someone who loves you, likes you, or barely knows you gardens--then you probably have one of these sitting on your counter right about now. Or four of them. The infamous gargantuan zucchini that has grown past its prime.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Short Absence, Big Changes

Finally some yellow! The first of our dozens of sunflowers
have bloomed. I can't figure out the variety of this one!
Still waiting on these sunflowers to bloom,
but in my 4 day absence, they grew to be taller than me.
We planted 4 different varieties, and several came up as volunteers...
we're itching to see what all blooms.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Refrigerator Tea

During the summer, my kids crave sweet drinks.
At a certain point, after pushing ice water all day, I give in to
their urgent pleas--but not with kool-aid!

Friday, July 25, 2014

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

(inspired by Soulemama)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Controlling Mites in Your Worm Bin

These simple tips will work in any indoor worm bin--homemade or commercial. While encouraging your worms to reproduce, flourish, and continuously devour the food scraps you put in the bin, you also want to keep other critters at bay.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stop to Smell Mom's Flowers

What are flowers good for?

Ever since I caught the gardening bug, it seems I've focused heavily only on the veggies. When you are working with a small yard, flowers can sometimes be dismissed as a space-devouring luxury. Not to mention, I tend to be practical to a fault, and for the longest time (well, my whole life, really), I have thought flowers were kind of a waste. Pretty, yes. But what do they do?

Plus, my mom grows flowers. That's her thing. That last little echo of daughter rebellion states that "I do not want to become my mother."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Purslane Tacos

It's everywhere right now; hiding in the herb garden, crouching beneath the peppers, tiptoeing around the marigolds and tomatoes. A pretty little plant that I always disregarded as a never-ending weed, purslane is really quite a wonder.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jam Without Pectin

*Scroll to end of post for a jam recipe that doesn't use pectin!*

Let's just get this out of the way: I have a real thing for my mulberries.

We have spent a good part of the last week up and down and around the mulberry tree, collecting close to 4 pounds of berries. This tree just keeps giving us fistfuls of berries every day. The birds are kindly

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Today In the Garden- Father's Day

Things are definitely greening up out in our 'nook and cranny' urban garden, and we have several projects that are still in the works. I wanted to share a photo tour of what all we have going on at the moment. Camera in hand, I walked my usual path through the side and back yards earlier today. Slowly working my way through and looking at all the different parts of the garden is something I do several times a day if I can, not only to check up on how everything is doing, but to gain an often much-needed sense of peace, calm, and security.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How To Make an Earth Bucket

If you have any nooks and crannies on your patio or in your garden, and would love to utilize that space, you might consider making a self-watering, or "Earth Bucket."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Growing Potatoes in Small Spaces--4 Experiments

Potatoes are something I assumed I could not grow with my limited space. I always thought that one needed a large open dirt area, or long trenches in a huge garden, in order to grow much. However, I'm not the only one with a small growing space, and after I looked around a bit, I began to see just how many methods there are.

This is a picture of the simple potato towers I made; I will show the the step-by-step further down in the post.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Planting Tomatoes Sideways

Here are two photos from last year, one at planting time (yes, they look dead and horrible!), and one just weeks later, as the kids admired them with me. Planting them sideways is one of the ways these tomato behemoths not only survived, but flourished.