Friday, February 28, 2014

Lasagna Gardening Update

Some time has passed since we first put all of our yard waste, leaves, coffee/tea ground, and kitchen scraps. While we didn't get it as high as I wanted we did manage to get a decent amount piled on. Since, I had a day off (and a nice one as well) I snapped some pics of how it currently looks. Some spots have broken down more than the others. Mostly the side of the house. The back I put on last and it has broken down less than the side. The front area is also higher, but when I pushed some back I saw beautiful dark dirt! So very exciting. Here are the few pics I snatched ( didn't get one of the front since it needs a little straightening up and I just didn't have time).

Pic of the Side- see how far down it is!

Picture where the grape plant is- by the way does anyone know of anything that is small and would grow well with the grape?

Picture of the back where it is the highest:

Anyone else doing lasagna gardening? Let us know about it!

-Mom and E

Thursday, February 27, 2014

E's Recipes- Mini Quick Quiche

 A few weeks ago E and I made quiches. E had picked out leeks as his new to try veggie (we do that about once a month or so). We used half in these quiches and I used the rest in a delicious soup (which we will not include since I made it when E wasn't here). Originally, we thought about a big quiche, but realized we wouldn't have time. So, instead we decided to make these, which we put together the recipe from several internet sources (sorry we don't remember which ones).

Here's is what we used:

 Cresent round- (we used 1 1/2  rolls to make 12 so one round per mini quiche you want)

 1 cup half and half (you could use milk if you wanted)
3 eggs ( we used whole eggs, but some people use a combination of 2 whole and 1 egg white)

 Leeks (we used two)
Salt, pepper, parsley, oregano (a pinch or two of each-or another combination of herbs/spices)
Swiss Cheese (though we forgot to get a pic and you could use any cheese you want with however much you like)

and of course... BACON

 You could use any combination of veggies/meat/spices etc. you like


1. Roll out the dough so that it is flat.

2. Place in the muffin pan. Note- you may want to make the edges go up past the muffin pan a little farther to help hold in the quiche mixture later.

3. Cut up leeks and bacon. (see above)

4. Cook leeks and bacon:


 5. Mix together the half and half, eggs, herbs and spices.

6. Place bacon and leeks into the muffin pan.

 7. Pour Mixture into the muffin pan. Note- We made ours too full, which in turn made a mess when we cooked it. We had to cut excess eggs from between the muffin spots- they looked ok when we did that and took them out,  but we had to clean the pan forever and the bottom of the oven. I'd say 3/4th would be better.

8. Take out, let cool then eat and enjoy!

- Mom and E

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wisdom Wednseday

Sometimes, we hold wisdom and hope in our own hearts and souls. 

E's first thoughts about a Spring garden is: A bunch of flowers: Sunflowers, marigolds, daisies, you know those types of flowers.

My first thoughts about a Spring garden is: Earth, fresh veggies, freedom.

What is your first thoughts when you think Spring garden?

- Mom and E

P. S. look forward to some updates coming your way in the next few weeks- lasagna gardening and seed starting as well as a new E's Recipe!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Planting seedlings in a store bought tray

E picked out a seed starting tray that already had dirt in it to do in addition to our wintersow and other starting containers. Usually we just recycle pots and other containers, but not this time. The nice thing is that you don't seem to get as much dirt everywhere. This is just a run of the mill set we picked up at the dollar store, but you can find them anywhere.

First we watered a little bit, and pressed the dirt down some since in some spots the dirt was pretty high and we wanted a well watered start.

Then we used then eraser end of a pencil to poke holes in the soil to place our seeds in.

Then we placed the seeds in the holes. Here is a pic of some sprouted peas we put in since you can see it much better.

Lastly we covered the seeds and watered again.

We will post updates soon, as we did this a couple of weeks ago and some seeds have sprouted. Have you started anything yet?

- Mom and E

Friday, February 21, 2014

Planting with E- Indoor Herb Garden

We were at Wal-Mart the other day to get dirt to winter sow (see previous posts) and we picked up a good sized pot. E just wanted it (ok- he wanted an even bigger one, but I talked him down to a slightly smaller one). We've finally decided what to do with it- make an indoor herb garden!

Since we had some pop bottles left over from winter sowing we decided the best way to sort of separate the herbs would be to use those to our advantage. Since we were afraid of the roots becoming bound we decided to cut the bottom out of them. We meant to get pics, but as you know our intentions of doing this only happen about half the time. We get to into what we are doing to stop and take pics.

  We put a layer of dirt in the pot so that there would be more room for the roots once they grown down below the pop bottles. Also so the pop bottles would line up close to the top, but still have enough room left to conceal them with dirt. Then we set the pop bottles in the pot, and filled them almost all the way up with dirt.

    The hope is that their roots will have room to spread closer to the bottom and the others will have root room closer to the top. Who knows if it will work - we sure don't. What fun is life without trying new things though?

So we planted cilantro in one pop bottle and parsley in the other. Then filled the rest of the pot with dirt (well almost to the top- we ran out of dirt, but it is pretty full and we think it will be enough). We then planted basil and red leaf lettuce in the spots without pop bottles. We know red leaf lettuce isn't exactly a herb, but E wanted to see what it looked and tasted like before we planted it outside in the Spring, so in it went!

Here is a pic of the finished product (do you like the worm peeking up out the middle that tells you if it needs watered or not- E loves it):

We'll update when they start coming in and let you know how it goes! What's something you have tried just to try it and how did it go?

-Mom and E

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wisdom Wed

Funny Old Wives Tales

If a girl bites off the head of a butterfly she will get a dress of the same color.

Feed your watchdog gun powder to make him fierce

To successfully grow hot peppers one must be mad when they plant them.

If your wife can't get pregnant spank her with a split shingle

One of my favorites from childhood was:

If you swallow a melon seed it will grow inside you- every time I swallowed one I freaked out!! LOL

Monday, February 17, 2014

Garden Plan 2014- Front of House

Here is our last garden plan- I wonder if you are sad or excited - lol some people may find it neat to see what others are planning while some may just be over it- so for better or worse here you go!

I don't have pics of the front garden area from last year as it just didn't grow as well as the others. Mostly our fault since we didn't put much energy in after our expansion and it being a late addition (back and side of house) there wasn't much time to devote to the front. I work away from home much of summer, so last minute additions cramp our style. That's why we are making plans for a change. Now, if it was just me (mom) these plans would change multiple times, but E is much more a make a plan and stick to it so who knows!!

Last year we planted some potatoes (not much success but we did get a few), our strawberry grew (as it has for a few years) but we leave it for the bunnies- sort of our sacrifice plant, our herbs did well, we tried eggplant (it didn't have enough time to mature), our poor cabbage did it's usual which was succumb to the slugs (but hey they left everything else alone) and our asparagus seeds grew a few (though we accidentally weeded a few out on accident). Thus, the garden had spots of growth and spot of nothing or sad looking plants. Hopefully this year will be better!!!

Now, after much ado, here is the plan:

It is a weird space that we inherited when we bought the house (way back when in 2007). It was our first garden spot and began E's love for gardening. It has one decent sized bed and some smaller ones connected. It is deeper than the other beds, but also can't be made wider as it is hemmed in by the house and the sidewalk.

Here is the key:

Green rectangle- asparagus bed (we are going to plant some more seed this year). Yes, we are aware that crowns give you a head start, but we like the challenge of seeds and they are much more affordable. Since we plan to live here awhile waiting a few extra years for asparagus is no biggie.

You will notice there are things to be planted in the front:
Blue line- pansies and possibly other flowers.

But nothing in the back row- that is because it is hard to keep that part watered as the roof overhang blocks rainfall and it is a pain to water the front bed (maybe we should invest in a longer water hose this year?).

Green circles: tomatillo plants- we have never grown these, but do like some green sauce and hope they'll do well. The end of the bed (towards the end of the house) gets pretty good sun so they should do alright.

Red dot- Jalapeno hot pepper- PB is hoping to make salsa and can a few jars.

Oval cutout/tear drop- potato plants- We are hoping to have better success since this will be the second year we grow them.

Maroon star with green outline- our strawberry plant- which despite our clay like soil is still going after several years.

White circle- snow white cherry tomato plant hanging down

The little bed part closest to the front door (opposite end of asparagus bed) doesn't really grow much- I don't know why- hopefully our sort of lasagna gardening will help with this. We have put bulbs down and shall see if anything happens. We may just throw the towel in if not and put cute garden decorations and solar lights there.

Hope you liked see our many posts on garden plans. When Spring comes around expect updates of us actually planting and (hopefully) things growing!

Mom and E

Thursday, February 13, 2014

E's Recipes- Growing Sprouts

We ordered a sprout bag and some sprouts to try them out. E wanted something that was easy and quick to grow- and he thought sprouts were cool.

Day One: Starting the sprouts

Bags of sprouts: lentils and peas (sorry the pic is terrible but it was infinitely darker when I took it and when I lightened it this is what happened)

Soak 8-10 hours to wake the sprouts up

Wet sprout bag and rinse sprouts

Hang sprout bag

Day Two: Rinse and repeat

Rinse sprout bag twice (separate times during the day) and rehang bag

Day Three: Rinse and repeat


  Just starting to sprout

E was super excited

Day Four: Rinse and eat

Have you grown sprouts? We think it's a great and easy way to turn kids onto eating something healthy and fun to grow!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday

The LOVE of gardening:

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heat with nature. To nurture a garden is the feed not just on the body, but on the soul. - Alfred Austin

The love of gardening is a seed once sown never dies. - Gertrude Jekyll

Hope everyone has a great Valentines Day whether you are spending it with that special loved one, family, friends or just a day of pampering yourself. Even if you are in a not so good spot love wise (such as a recent break-up) do try and find the little things in life that you enjoy and spend the day doing them.

-Mom and E

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentines Day gifts for those who love gardening

Valentines Day Gifts for Gardeners:

As we are drawing close to Valentines Day we thought we'd put a little gift giving guide for gardeners similar to how we did at Christmas. Maybe your special one loves gardening and you are hoping to get a last minute gift or you have a family member you want to get a more personalized gift for. Here are some suggestions- hope it helps!

One of the most basic and obvious gifts for a gardener is a potted plant. It is actually the perfect time for it. Many gardeners would rather have a plant they can love and nurture that a cut flower which will ultimately wilt and die away.

I (mom) can remember one year in high school when I had a "secret admirer" who left notes all day with a riddle and at the end there was a very pretty potted tulip. It would have won my heart if the giver hadn't recently broken up with my cousin. I guess it is all about timing huh?

Pepe Le Pew.jpg

Listen to what kind of flowers that person is considering growing this next Spring or would like to have, but just have never "justified" buying. Try to make sure that you select a flower that is not only pretty and one they desire, but please be sure it smells good. Some flowers are beautiful but smell terrible. You don't want to evoke images of Pepe Le Pew (image from Wikipedia)

Not sure what you want, but know you'd like to get something in the garden realm? Here are a few links that might just help:

Here is a link to pottery barn, which has many options including live plants, terrariums, succulents, and outdoor garden decor. Prices, of course, vary from $20 something to high up there. There is wide selection though, and something for small, big and in between budgets:

What about garden stepping stones that you have personalized. You could put special dates, names of places that are meaningful to both of you or write out a sweet love poem with them. If you can't afford many of them but love the idea you could put your pet names for each other or a short love quote or line of "your" song:

Know someone who likes something a little different plant wise - how about some succulents?

You could get a gardener who loves tea made from fresh herbs some lovely tea to drink while the winter winds down and make a cute little basket with it:

Just remember that to most people it is the thought that counts and not the amount spent. Good luck with your Valentines Day shopping.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wintersow on the porch

Here is the finished winter sow project- duct tape and all- on the porch ready to get the bit of winter we have left. Fingers crossed it works since we originally intended to set these out in December. We are a little behind, but do have some winter left (pic taken 1/25/14). Perhaps we will get more than a dusting- even without much snow it has stayed COLD COLD COLD!!

It's not very beautiful, but should get the job done of making hardy little seedlings. We shall see!

We did get a lil more snow a few days later- maybe it'll be enough- I think we will have to check to see if they are dry when it warms up.

Wish us luck!

-Mom and E

Thursday, February 6, 2014

E's Recipes- His creative birthday dinner

This is a little bit of an old recipe-but E wanted us to share it. He wanted a low key birthday this year (Jan 11th) since he felt like all we do during Christmas break is run around everywhere. He had been watching a Rachel Ray cooking show (I can't remember which one, he loves Rachel Ray). It was an episode that involved roasted zucchini strips. E decided that they would make a great road way, which made him come up with this for a birthday dinner:

The green strips are the zucchini which Ethan called his road. The grapes were representative of cars going along the road. In the middle was a rice and veggie island and the meat on top was the volcano on the island with pesto sauce as the lava.

What can we say- it was all his idea.

Pretty easy to make though. Roast the veggies, cook the rice and cook the meat to your preference (steak, but you can use whatever you want). The build with rice topped with roasted veggies topped with mean topped with pesto sauce in the center. Then add the zucchini road and place the grape cars. Surprisingly it tasted very good.

For fun here is his cake (he wanted all the candles since they were sparkler candles and said it doesn't matter if some are pink):