Tag Archives: garden

Seedling Progress

Seedlings

This is the 6th person at my kitchen table right now!  More like the 5th and 6th person since it’s taking up more space.  Family meals have moved to the dining room full time.

Does my kitchen look cluttered, messy, disorganized?  Perhaps to the naked eye, not to me though.  I see baby seedlings ready to grow into full size plants soon and then bear fruits and vegetables all summer long.  I can’t wait!

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Garden Season 2016

Let the gardening begin!  Last week right before we left town our seeds arrived and I was bummed not to have time to get the seedlings started.  Today I finally had the time to get things going.  Garden season 2016 has officially begun and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am!

I look forward to the first asparagus popping up through the dirt.  The first spring lettuces.  Don’t even get me started on the tomatoes, fresh off the vine and straight into my mouth.

  
We are a little behind schedule this year.  Normally our seedlings would have been started in early February.  Life and it’s chaos got in the way this year!  At least we still have plenty of time, we aren’t that late.

The hardest part is going through the seed catalogs and deciding what to get.  I want so much, I couldn’t possibly plant it all.  Eventually it comes down to what we will eat the most and is practical for us.  The things I don’t use as often I can still buy at the farmer’s market.  

  
Tomatoes, that is my biggest challenge.  I love them the most and there are so many varieties.  They are all so different and used for different things.  Cherry and grape tomatoes are perfect for snacks and salads.  Then you have slicing tomatoes, canning tomatoes, sauce tomatoes…  Sometimes I just can’t control myself.  I showed great restraint this year and narrowed it down to six varieties.

Generally we try something new every year too.  Last year it was eggplant but it didn’t do too well.  I’m trying again this year and hoping for the best.  We also have orange cauliflower, okra and a few other vegetables we haven’t had great success with.  

Josh is planning on removing a couple more trees by the garden so hopefully I’ll get another row to accommodate my large selection of seedlings!  Last year the tomatoes were out of control and bent all the cages so we need a new staking system for them as well.

  
So anyway, back to my seedlings for this year.  It’s a pretty simple process and there are many ways to do it.  I like to fill my containers with the soil and then get to work.  I cut skewers short enough that they will fit with the lid once it’s on.  Then I put washi tape on the stick and write the name of the plant.  This is what works for me, everyone is different. You just need to make sure you mark your plants well because once they sprout they all look alike for a while!

I use the skewer sign to dig a little hole and then drop in a couple seeds, fill it back up and mark the row with the sign.  Once the tray is done water it and cover.  Sit back and in just a few days you will usually start to see something sprouting.  It is so incredibly exciting, the boys love it too.

  
It is well worth sacrificing my kitchen table for 4-6 weeks to have fresh produce right out my door all summer!  Eventually the trays get moved to the porch when it warms up a little more.  I also plan on doing another tray later.  It’s nice to have a second crop of tomatoes later in the summer.  Living in the South we have a very long growing season!

I highly recommend planting a garden, especially if you have children.  It is an invaluable lesson for them to see their food growing from seed to final product.  My children will go to the garden and eat right there.  Sometimes it may be a weed they are eating, but it’s something green!  They love watching the carrots grow and digging them up, eating them before they wash the dirt off.  Usually tomato phobic, they will eat yellow pear or grape tomatoes straight from the garden.  

  
If you want your children to eat well this is the best thing you can do for them.  Space can be an issue, not everyone has room for a biG garden.  There are plants that grow well in pots and would do well on a balcony or other small space.  This year I got eggplant, tomatoes and even a watermelon that are supposed to do well in pots.

Stay tuned and you’ll see plenty of garden progress.  It’s kind of like taking pictures of newborn children, I get so excited and can’t help myself!

  

Summer Foods Bucket List

I recently discovered Eventbrite and decided to join their Summer Food Bucket List project. It was a bit serendipitious as I just discovered a food swapping group here in my area that does their event planning using Eventbrite. Try checking out Eventbrite event management tools or sell tickets on their site. It’s free and easy. I’ll be looking into that food swapping event this summer.

I have used Eventbrite before, both to host parties (Thanksgiving, birthdays, baby showers etc) and to RSVP for other parties I’ve been invited to and for school events. But what really caught my interest was when I found (and I really don’t remember how I came upon this) a food group here. Midlands Food Swappers is a group that hosts food swaps, kinds obvioius isn’t it. They have a monthly meeting where people can bring in their homemade and/or homegrown food items and swap. What a thought, why hadn’t I heard of this group before. I could take some of my tomatoes, we certainly have enough for an army, and trade them for fresh eggs. Or how about some of homemade jams for meat? The possibilities are endless. So this goes onto my summer food bucket list, try to attend one of these swaps.
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Garden Update

We finally got the garden up and going several weeks ago. It was a multiple weekend project. Josh tilled the entire garden, made the rows, added cow manure, placed the irrigation across the rows and then we put the tarp on top to minimize our weeds. THEN it was time to plant the seedlings or vegetables that go straight from seed.

It was an adventure! The boys helped do some of the planting. In their Easter baskets they received some carrot seeds, flower seeds, a shovel, small rake and a strawberry plant. They were so incredibly excited! Daddy took them out to plant everything while I cleaned up the brunch mess. His idea of adult supervision differs from mine….they did whatever they wanted so we have carrot seeds all over and flower seeds in the vegetable patch as opposed to the flower pots. They had fun though and that is what counts….I will get more flower seeds though!
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In My Kitchen – August 2014

I am finally finding the time to join in on an In My Kitchen post. The lovely Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts this monthly event. I have been enjoying everyone’s posts and keep meaning to put one up myself. Well the time has come and here I am!

This month continues with garden madness. Things are finally slowing down which is bittersweet. I will miss the tomatoes, but not necessarily all the work. Here is what I picked this morning, tomatoes, peppers, a zucchini and a melon. Earlier in the summer I would have had two baskets or more full so this really is not much for us.

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This next item is what has been consuming a chunk if my time. The picture didn’t turn out well, what with the light in the freezer in the way and all! I have been roasting all my tomatoes and peppers with garlic and olive oil in the oven. Then I put it in bags and now have a freezer well stocked. We look forward to enjoying the sauces in the winter months in soups, stews, chili, marinara etc. This is much easier than canning, plus not nearly as hot. Canning in South Carolina in the heat of the summer isn’t fun! Oh yeah, there is also a glimpse of the pesto I am freezing as well. I need to make more of that this weekend….

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Yesterday my parents stopped by Costco on their way home from the mountains. We don’t have one here in town so it is always fun to see what they find. This time my mom got a huge container of organic coconut oil for me. We use this a lot for granola and pancakes, among other things.

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And finally we have Jack’s clay “bowl” he made in art camp. It is currently residing on my kitchen counter. He wants it in his room to use for a toy dish. I won’t let him since I know he, or his brothers, will break it.

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To check out what is happening in everyone’s kitchens head on over here.

Garden Update

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I can almost taste the tomatoes! We tied the plants up a couple weekends ago and it is smelling like tomato plants. They have such a distinct smell, I just love it! There are plenty of blossoms and even some baby tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes seem to be the first to grow. Continue reading

Garden Preparations

I have lost track of time, not sure how many weeks old my baby seedlings are! They are coming along beautifully. I can just taste the tomato cucumber salads. The homemade pesto on pasta and pizza. Mint in my mojitos or on fruit salad. Zucchini bread, grilled zucchini. Pumpkin EVERYTHING! Salsa, hot peppers on pizza… Boy oh boy is my mouth watering. All I have to say is this better be a good year for the garden, I have such big plans!

This has been such a crazy winter. We have had snow here, in South Carolina! It is warm, then cold, then warm, then cold again! Last year we planted the garden St. Patrick’s Day. This year we are still waiting. We are still expecting lows in the 30s next week so we wait. The lettuces are already planted, but they tolerate the cold better.

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This year we put some covering over all the rows. We grow weeds incredibly well and I just couldn’t keep up with them, it is a HUGE garden. Someday the boys will be able to help weed, until then I hope this works!

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The far right here with the hoses running through is where all the lettuces and carrots go. The asparagus in the very last row next to the garage.

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This flat is mostly tomato plants, the smaller ones in front are peppers.

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Hello my dear sweet tomatoes, I can’t wait to eat you up!

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Last week I started more seedlings of everything. We are hoping to pace the harvest out a little.

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My darling basil, I can taste the pesto already!