We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Photos Of Pizza Made With Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough

Dough after 18 hours  in the fridge and 2 hours on the counter.

 Kale, chard and basil from the garden that went on the pizza. I sauteed the kale and chard first.
This again was not a bumper crop, but it came to 3.45oz.

 Pizza with all of the toppings: onion, mushrooms, chard, kale and finely shredded parmesan cheese. Fresh basil was sprinkled on it after the pizza was taken out of the oven.

The finished product and it was delicious. It is a keeper of a recipe. For the recipe, scroll down to Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough.

Hot, Hot, Hot

I went for my walk this AM around 6:45 and I thought wow it seems pretty darn warm compared to yesterday morning around the same time. When I got back, my husband asked how it was and I said if you going on one of your 20 mile bike rides you better get out their now. So he headed out and I decided to plant the 3 gallon rose bush I won.
Ok this is where the digging of the hole for the rose bush turned into a battle. I hit a rock that seemed like a bolder. Ultimately I got this 2 foot by 1 foot by 6 inch pain out. Of course now it is about 80 degrees, and humid, but  the rose was positioned and gently watered.
Now I am in the house drinking ice tea at 8:45 am. I typically do not drink tea at this time of the day, but it certainly hit the spot.

Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough

 Saturday I made Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough, which we will make pizza with tonight. It really was incredibly easy to make the dough, and  it doubled in about 18 hours. I have just enough basil from the garden  to use on the pizzas tonight, and my husband has made homemade sauce.Pictures to come later.

There is a great video at serious eats that can take you through it step by step.


Makes 4 balls of dough, enough for 4 pizzas, active time 10 minutes, total time 8 to 18 hours
  • 500 grams (17 ½ ounces or about 3 ¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 350 grams (1 ½ cups) water


  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly.

  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°F) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one.

  3. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them: For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center; then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.

  4. If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.

    Here are further directions from Bon Appetit for baking the pizza. I used pizza pans and have not tried using my pizza stone yet. I did not preheat the oven for an hour, but preheated it for about 15 minutes

To Make the Pizzas

  • During the last hour of dough's resting, prepare oven: If using a pizza stone, arrange a rack in upper third of oven and place stone on rack; preheat oven to its hottest setting, 500°–550°, for 1 hour. If using a baking sheet, arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to its hottest setting, 500°–550°. (You do not need to preheat the baking sheet.)
  • Working with 1 dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 10"–12" disk.

If Using Pizza Stone

  • When ready to bake, increase oven heat to broil. Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless (or inverted rimmed) baking sheet lightly with flour. Place dough disk on prepared peel and top with desired toppings.
  • Using small, quick back-and-forth movements, slide pizza from peel onto hot pizza stone. Broil pizza, rotating halfway, until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, 5–7 minutes.
  • Using peel, transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat, allowing pizza stone to reheat under broiler for 5 minutes between pizzas.

If Using a Baking Sheet

  • Arrange dough disk on baking sheet; top with desired toppings. Bake pizza until bottom of crust is crisp and top is blistered, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Repeat with remaining pizzas.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gary Isben TomatoFest

Now how much fun would it be to go to Gary Isben's TomatoFest. That is where I found the below poster you can buy. 

My First Green Tomato and...

As promised, a picture of my first green tomato--Black Krim

So far zucchini is coming along, but I will need to put up screening to prevent SVB,

and peas are still growing. Maybe next week they will be ready to pick?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another Great Podcast-Tasty Tomatoes

As many of you know, I love podcasts. Ken Druse podcast about great tomatoes can be found at this link -Ken Druse REAL DIRT- 4-27-12 Tasty Tomatoes. If you are a tomato lover, I think you will enjoy this podcast.

Here is more about the tomato podcast that is directly from the above website:

"Steve Bogash, Regional Horticulture Educator for Penn State Extension, Franklin County, Chambersburg, PA joins us to share the results of the 2011 tomato tasting, and make some suggestions for the tomatoes to order now to grow this year in your garden. Steve_BogashThe trials focusing mostly on tomatoes (also peppers and other plants) have been running since 2000. Every year, up to 70 tomato varieties are grown and judged for taste, production, disease resistance, ease of training and appearance.
     Steve found that although the heirloom varieties are often delicious, the yields may be low. Some of the winning old-timers have drawbacks, for example incredibly delicious and beautiful yellow, orange and red ‘Pineapple’ is susceptible to cracking. Do we home gardeners care? Some of us do, some are happy to put up with blemishes for wonderful flavor. Steve again recommended Burpee’s ‘Brandy Boy’, which combines the flavor of the favorite heirloom ‘Brandywine’ with the high yield and disease resistance of a modern hybrid for those who want the best of both worlds. Other well-known heirloom winners included ‘Mortgage Lifter’, ‘Arkansas Traveler’ and ‘Marianna’s Peace’.
     If sweetness is what you are after, many of the cherry and grape types will be the varieties you’ll hope to grow. ‘Sakusa Honey’ is just about the best, but Steve pointed out that the price of the seeds (from Johnny’s Seeds) was steep – a whopping $9.95 per pack. Other cherry types noted were ‘Red Pearl’, ‘Five Star’, ‘Maglia Rosa’, and ‘Sun Gold’ -- a small orange, moderately disease-resistant variety with a flavor that was described as “candy.”

     Slicing tomatoes that were judged best for taste included ‘Scarlet Red’, ‘Big Beef’, ‘Celebrity’ and ‘Stupice’.
A few patio types to try in containers that did well in the judging were ‘Bush Early Girl’, Bush Steak’, and ‘Sweet ‘N Neat’. (Photos courtesy Steve Bogash and PA Extension.)"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie : Baking With Julia-French Strawberry Cake

Although we are not supposed to post pictures of our French Strawberry Cake creation until June 19, what I can tell you is that I baked the cake layer today and took liberties. Those of you who know me well will say--well we are not surprised. The cake batter is a genoise and it is supposed to be intimidating. Well it really is not as long as your follow the instructions. Where folks often go wrong is not beating the egg and sugar mixture until it triples in volume. With my KitchenAid standing mixer that took about 10 minutes. After that you just fold in the butter and flour. Then get that pan in the oven pronto.

Here is where I took a different path. The recipe calls for an 8 inch cake pan. I wanted to use a 6 inch spring-form that is 3 inches tall. Let me just say that the spring-form is wonderful because this cake has a tendency to not want to come out of the pan even if you butter and flour it and use wax paper on the bottom. The spring-form makes it a breeze to remove the genoise from the pan. However, since I was going down in size I had to calculate the amount of batter to use--which was just under 4 cups. Then I had to play around with how long to  bake it.  This is a cake that you do not want to open the oven until it is somewhat firm or it will deflate. I estimated that 20 minutes would work for the first check on this little beauty.Baking time was almost 30 minutes in our over at 350. It looks fabulous. Next comes the lawyers of strawberries and cream. Stay tuned for that post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My First Green Tomato

I just noticed I have a green tomato on my Black Krim. Like everything else in the garden, this is ahead of schedule.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Update

I just took a tour of the back 40 and the garden looks great. Earlier I was concerned about my beans because it looked as if something was enjoying the leaves way too much.   I sprayed them with Neem and placed a row cover over them. Tonight I peaked under the row cover and they look like they are on their way to recovery. Also my pole beans are growing and my squash have sprouted.

Hint for the day--I love my light weight row cover and organic Neem!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Easy Flower Boxes

I have been asked to list what is in my flower boxes. First of all I use soiless mix, osmocote and soil moist so I do not have to water it often. Because of the soil moist, I typically water my flower boxes once a week. The boxes are on the north side of the house. As far as the actual plants, I have planted the following:
various colors of impatients, bacopa, variegated licorice, and tri-color sweet potato vine. The impatients are primarily in the back of the box, with all of the other plants in the front so that they can cascade over.

I have had the actual boxes for about 20 years and they are made of fiberglass. My H gave them to me for my birthday and these boxes  have been trouble free. Plus they can be painted any color one desires.

TWD:BWJ French Strawberry Cake

The above photo is from I Do All My Own Stunts and is an example of what the French Strawberry Cake should look like. So continue to stay tuned for my TWD:BWJ June post. At least now I know what I am aiming for.It is amazing how she turned one 8 inch layer cake into a cake that looks like a 3 layer massive work of art.

Garden Update With Pictures


Sage which not only is a wonderful herb, but produces lovely purple flowers.


Onions, kale, and my beans have now been covered since either critters or  the bean beetle have started to devour the leaves. PS--chard is barely peaking through on the photo.

Carrots that were planted between the peas and obviously I need to get in there and weed.

Pole beans sprouting

 Peas are looking good and I think I will be able to pick next week.

Cabbages ( on steroids--not really)

Goliath tomato

 Flower pot

Flower box. Wish you could see this in person. It is very gorgeous if I must say so myself, and will look even better in a few weeks.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

June Recipes For Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia

As many of you know I am a member of the  Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia  baking group. The June recipes have been posted at the TWD:BWJ blog and they are the following
June 5 – Oasis Naan on page 149
June 19 – French Strawberry Cake  on p. 273

If you have The Baking With Julia Cookbook the recipes can be found at the above pages.
I plan to make the French Strawberry Cake for a special dinner. The cake is a genoise and only one layer pan is baked. It is then sliced into 3 layers.

A genoise is a whole egg cake and it does not rise because of whipped egg whites or chemical leavening agents, but the air that is retained in the whole egg and sugar mixture that has been beaten until it has tripled in size. Glad that I have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. This is a very elegant cake and the layers will be filled have fresh sliced strawberries and a sweetened  cream and sour cream that has been whippped,

Stay tuned for my post in June with pictures of course,.

What Is Eating My Green Bean Plants?

I just came in from working out in the garden and this is why I need to get out there everyday to take a look at what is going on in my raised beds.

I took one look at my beans and thought, what is eating my green bean plants?

So I decided to look this up on the net and most likely it is a critter. My quess it is either squirrels or rabbits--darn pesky critters.

Here is what I found at Our Ohio under there Q&A:

Some of my young green bean plants look like the tops have been bitten off.  I can see no insect on the plants, just the results.  What is it and how can I stop/prevent this problem organically?

It is probably some sort of animal – bunnies, ground hogs, or maybe even a squirrel.  It is hard to say for certain without seeing the plant.  Animals are the probable culprits as they are more likely to bite off the top of a plant while bugs have a tendency to eat holes into the leaves.

Here are two organic solutions to your problem:

1.) Combine 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1 quart of water in a spray bottle and apply this mixture to the plants.  Remember to reapply every time it rains or when you water.
2.) Another option is to put a fence around the garden.  The holes of the fence need to be small enough (about 1-inch x 1-inch) to prevent critters from entering.

I already have the fence , but I need to make sure they can't crawl under it, but squirrels will just climb it. So I am going to try the spray before they eat all of the rows of beans.I did not see any bugs, so I am assuming it is a critter or two. Or I may even try a row cover for now..

Cabbage And Coleslaw For Freezing

In an earlier  post I asked what I could do with all the cabbage that seems to be growing beyond my expectations. Akannie at http://dragonwomansmysticalmeals.blogspot.com/   replied that her ex MIL had a recipe with vinegar that could be frozen. So I decided to search the net and found this one. I had never heard of freezing coleslaw, but if we end up with more cabbage than we  can handle, this recipe will be considered. Has anyone else used a frozen coleslaw recipe and what did you think? Did you like it or not? Would you make it again etc? 

Read more about it at www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,191,159191-243204,00.html
Content Copyright © 2012 Cooks.com - All rights reserved.
1 med. cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt

Mix salt and cabbage and let set in bowl for 1 hour. Squeeze out excess moisture. Add carrots and pepper and let stand while you make the dressing.


1 c. vinegar
1 tbsp. mustard seed
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. celery seed

Combine and boil for 1 minute. Cool and pour over slaw. This can be frozen and refrozen until all slaw has been eaten

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reducing Balsamic Vinegar

Well we took the lettuce from my below post and  added sliced tomatoes on top. We then drizzled  balsamic vinegar that had been reduced.

Here is the recipe for balsamic vinegar reduction

Put about four times as much balsamic vinegar as you'll need in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Then bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Watch it closely because you may need to adjust the heat. This should take 2-3 minutes or so, and well worth it.

Harvest For Friday

The garden is still all about the various lettuces.I harvested about 11.25 oz which we will have with tonight's supper. I picked a small head of romaine for the first time and plan to mix it in with the other leaf lettuces. For several weeks we have not had to purchase lettuce at the store and I anticipate that we will have another few weeks of harvest left. I did plant leaf lettuce a few weeks ago in a spot that gets just enough sun and we will see how that works out. Ultimately it may just get to be too hot for it.

Last night I had a wonderful salad at a restaurant that was so very simple. Thick sliced of very ripe tomatoes with a reduction of balsamic  vinegar and blue cheese crumbles on top, along with a chiffonade of basil. I can hardly wait for our tomatoes to ripen, because that will definitely be the go to salad at our house.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Harvest Monday

Not a huge harvest, but a delicious one of red and green leaf lettuce that we had for dinner tonight.
. 16 oz in total.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

More on Cabbages and Recipes

Here is a recipe from the NY Times that was sent to me that may be worth trying for my cabbages on steroid. I think is sounds interesting.

Cabbage and Onion Marmalade

I use this to make a riff on pissaladière, the classic Niçois onion pizza. The cabbage and onion mixture cooks down to a sweet marmalade that makes a perfect pizza topping and would go just as well on a piece of toast.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 pounds onions, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced across the grain
1 pound cabbage, shredded or finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and mashed in a mortar and pestle or finely chopped
For pizza:
12 anchovy fillets, soaked in water for 5 minutes, drained, rinsed and dried on paper towels (optional)
12 Niçoise olives (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cabbage with a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add another generous pinch of salt, cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook slowly for one hour, stirring often, until the mixture has melted down to a sweet, soft, golden marmalade. Add the garlic, thyme, capers, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Uncover, and if there is a lot of liquid in the pan, cook until the liquid in the pan has cooked off.
2. For pizza, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, preferably with a baking stone in it. Roll out the pizza dough and line a 12- to 14-inch pan. Brush the remaining tablespoon of oil over the bottom but not the rim of the crust. Spread the onion and cabbage mixture over the crust in an even layer. Cut the anchovies in half and decorate the top of the crust with them, making 12 small x’s and placing an olive in the middle of each x. Place on top of the pizza stone and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the crust are brown and the topping is beginning to brown. Remove from the heat. Serve hot or warm or at room temperature.
Yield: One 12- to 14-inch pizza, 8 slices
Advance preparation: The onion and cabbage topping will keep for a week in the refrigerator. Pizza dough can be made several days ahead and held in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen.
Nutritional information per slice: 153 calories; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 25 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 225 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 4 grams protein

Garden Update--Rain All Day

There will be no gardening today unless I like playing in the mud. The weather report is for rain all day and so far that is exactly what it has done. We have been fortunate because we have had rain weekly, so we have not had to water the garden.

I looked out the window and the cabbages that appear to be on steroids appear to  have grown overnight even more. These things are amazing. My H asked me what I was going to do with all the cabbage and so I really had to think about it. Well there is:

Cole slaw
Cabbage rolls
Cole slaw
Cabbage rolls

I need some help with more really good cabbage recipes. At least the cabbage rolls can be frozen.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Am A Winner

Must be my lucky season, because  I won a $50 target gift certificate and  I also picked up my 3 gallon knock out rose from Bloomin Gardens that I won for the best crittter garden story. The critter involved a family of raccoons. Yes an entire family who created havoc.

Latest Photos Of The Garden

As promised, here at the latest photos of our garden. My H rototilled the one area that does not have a raised bed this morning so that I could plant flower and melon seeds.

 Seeds that I just planted. Give it a week or so and I will have photos of seedlings



 Basil and I hope that I didn't plant my transplants too early. I already lost one plant to root rot.

Kale and it is looking good.

Meyer lemon, but don't let this picture fool you. It was taken with a macro lens and this lemon is really about 1 inch long.


 Peas and by the way there are carrots planted between the rows of peas, but I would practically have to fall into the raised bed  to get a photo of the carrots at this point. Trust me for now--they are there.

Beans are just coming up

 More beans


Garden from the second floor window

Seeds Are Planted

I finished planting my seeds: basil, squash, melon, pole beans and a huge assortment of flowers. I am a mess from the water and dirt, but having raised beds certainly make the vast majority of my gardening a breeze. Updated photos to come soon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Seed Packets Than I Realized

This weekend will be my next round of planting, and it will be only seeds. When I started to go through my seed box to pull the packets, I  had more packets than expected--eleven. My challenge is that every time I would pass a display of seeds, I had trouble resisting making a purchase. All and all, it is not the worse habit to have, but  I hope I can fit all of this in because I don't have that much space left. Eight of the packets are flower seeds and I suppose I can just cram them in the corner of the garden and see what happens.

Of course I need to put the sunflower seeds in the center of this space, because I have found that is the best way to keep the critter(s) for the day away from them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Planting This Weekend

I still have more planting to do and hope to get that accomplished this weekend. The plan is to till the last small patch of soil so that I can plant all my flower seeds: zinnias, sunflower, cosmos and what ever freebie packets I still have. Then I will also plant pole beans, squash and melons. Everything else is either in raised beds or large pots.

The beans I planted last week are popping up and so are the Diva cucumbers. Plus I did not see a single cabbage worm on my cabbages this evening. So the neem spray must be working,

Hopefully this weekend I will have time to take some pictures. Also, the lemons on my Meyer Lemon tree are larger than marbles.

New Found Kitchen Tool-Palm Zester

We own a zester, but I have never seen one like this. It is called the palm zester and I found it to be a very clever design and I love how it catches all the zest in the little container.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cooler Weather

Well I thought a low of 40 was behind me, but nope. So I brought in my Meyer Lemon for the next 3 nights and covered my tomatoes. I know that it will not frost, but I do not want to loose the blossoms.

Life of a gardener.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Food Mill Gift

I received a catalog where I could select a gift. I selected a food mill by oxo. For some reason I would look at food mills thinking I should buy one, but always walked away. However, when I saw one in the gift catalog, I decided now was the time.

Oh what to do with it? My sister in law makes great applesauce with hers. Another friend uses hers for mash potatoes. Then tomato sauce. Although it can be used for soups, I don't know of anyone who has used it for that. Apparently it can also be used for  homemade jellies, creamy sauces and baby food.

My first choice is for applesauce, but if you have a great recipe for using the food mill for other things, I am all ears and would love to know what you use your food mill for.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kroeger and Sons Meats-The Best Sausage in Town

The other night my H made a pizza and he added 1 link of Andouille sausage from Kroeger and Sons as a topping. It was heaven. Here is a summary about this fine establishment from their website.

On any given day, Kroeger and Sons Meats offers about 40 varieties of sausage. Every sausage is hand made. No binders, colors, extenders, or artificial preservatives are ever used and every sausage is sold in a natural casing. Top quality fresh pork is the main ingredient in most Kroeger recipes, but customers can also find several delicious varieties of chicken sausage, a duck sausage, a lamb sausage, and the "Reubenwurst" which combines corned beef with pork, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. All fresh pork sausages are 83 to 87 percent lean. Chicken sausages are made only with fresh whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts and are 90 to 95 percent lean.

It you ever decide to make a first visit to Kroeger and Sons at Findlay Market ( the land of artisan foods and old world methods), don't be surprised if you have to take a number and wait up to a half an hour. Yes, the line can be that long. So go early.  What do you expect when you have a choice of 40 different homemade sausages. The line is even longer if you are there before the 4th of July.

Harvest Monday-Lettuces and Radishes

Assorted lettuces and radishes. The first true harvest of the season. It was delicious  We made a salad and a homemade vinaigrette and tossed as a salad. We rarely buy salad dressing anymore because we have found it is so easy to make and at least we know what is in the dressing. Typically I will do a vinaigrette of 1 part red wine vinegar and 3 parts olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake it up in a Ball jelly jar and refrigerate for the week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hatch Alert

For those of you who do not subscribe to Skippy's Garden blog, Kathy has set up a webcam of a mother robin's nest and one of the eggs just hatched,
Go to this url to watch.


How much fun is that.

Weeds and Pests: The Life of a Gardener

I just came in from about an hour and half of weeding. Nice to have that completed.

What I noticed yesterday was the cabbage worm was going after  you guessed it--my cabbage. So I picked off as many I could find and they went for a dive into soapy cup of water. I then saturated the cabbages with neem oil. This is the first year that I have used neem oil and I went out this morning  and could find only one worm. Hopefully that is doing the trick.

I also noticed yesterday that the flea beetle was enjoying the leaves on my eggplant. So they were sprayed with neem.

The rest of the garden looks good, but I am concerned about my peas. They were planted March 11 and now some of the bottom leaves are turning yellow and I have only one flower. Usually it is 60 days to harvest these. We will see how this goes. They were looking great and this week they seem to have stopped growing. I hope it is not wilt.

Would love to hear from you on how you manage insects and other garden pests.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Italian Grandmothers: Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

Ed at Tales From the Mountainside and I have been comparing recipes from our Italian Grandmothers. This is one of my favorites that can be made in advance and frozen. You could serve it with Italian bread and it is a meal. All of this started after he blogged about arugula.



4 lbs.  CHICKEN


1 MEDIUM ONION ( Take it out of broth after broth is made)








3/4  pound GROUND BEEF
1/4  pound GROUND PORK
1/4  pound GROUND VEAL



















Natorp's--Black Friday of Gardening Sales

I am glad that my husband and I showed up at 7 am this morning at the Natorp sale which is like the Black Friday of gardening sales. The doors opened then and there was still enough parking spaces, but I was concerned that big carts might be tough to find. I found the carts and off I went. This was the first time I had attended this sale. What fun. Very organized and when they said the coffee and doughnuts were over there, my husband's face lit up.Thanks Natorp's: the coffee was a great plus and my husband enjoyed the fresh doughnuts.

We were there about 45 minutes and I bought flats of impatiens, petunias and other annuals, along with a 3 cu foot bag of fertilone soiless mix. They even had help to load items into you car. Wow. By the time we left, the parking lot was packed and was going into overflow parking. It was great to see so many gardeners.

This was well worth it and I will be back!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Clean Up and Corn Gluten Meal Podcast--The Garden Professor

A great scientific podcast on gardening from Washington State University called the Garden Professor. Click here if you want to listen. This is the first of the season and Linda Chalker-Scott discusses spring cleanup and why corn gluten meal  ( weed preventer) does not work in all areas of the US.

I use corn gluten meal to keep weeds down and so far have had success with it, but it needs to be put down every 30 days.

Plus this podcast from Washington State is very interesting.This episode is called  "Real Turkeys" and what are some of the least favorite garden products and why they're on the  "turkey" list, including weed fabric, which I used in the early days of gardening and will never use again. It is a royal pain over time. I still have a pile in the garden that I rolled up and it is the last batch that needs to go in the trash, but it is so heavy I will need my husband to help me with the heave hoe. .

Early Bird Special--Natorp's

Natorp's is having an early bird special tomorrow between 7-9 am and everything is 20% off. Plus. they sent me a $5 gift certificate. I need some soiless mix and so I will be heading over there. Of course walking into a family owned garden center is dangerous for me. Goodness knows what else I will purchase, so stay tuned.

My Adventure in Lowes

I went into Lowes to find cotton netting for my trellis. I did not want to make it this year and I swore that I had seen this netting at Lowes. What should have been a 10 minutes purchase, turned into an adventure. The first person I asked went online to find it--nope. Believe me he really searched with many search terms. The next person directed me to the outdoor garden center--nope not there. However, I ran into a true gardener who worked there who also tried to help and said--I bet you want this for your cucumbers. I told him--yep and I thought wow he must be a mind reader. He then said why don't you look around the lumber area and they might have a make shift trellis. Good idea because I told him I did not want to spend $20 on the lovely trellis they had in the garden center. Well the nice sales person in lumber  tried to help and what they had really was not exactly what I was after. I thought dang. I did so much walking in there, I swear I got  my exercise for the day.

I then went back to the garden department and there it was. I could take a tomato tower apart and make it into a flat trellis. Perfect and the price was right. I then went to pay for this and the line in the garden center was super long and there was only one person at the cash register. So I went inside and then  ran smack into my trellis netting that I was looking for. I probably had been wandering around for 45 minutes and at times I was distracted by other items in the store. They do have interesting things. I was intrigued by the metal pint and gallon paint cans. I could do something creative with these cans.OK back on topic--- Let me just say that I purchased 2 Burpee cotton net packs. They are 5 feet by 15 Feet. I knew they had them--somewhere. I also purchased the tomato tower and got the heck out of there, since I had gotten in my work out..

Actually if I didn't like hardware type stores and just exploring those, I probably would have left promptly.

Beans, Basil, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Raab and Rosemary

I have taken today off from work for my birthday and so I can plant away. It is a perfect day.

I just planted the bush beans and more broccoli raab seeds, basil and swiss chard transplants, and the rosemary that I rooted over the winter.I plan to do another couple rows of beans in about 3 weeks. I also took out my meyer lemon which has baby lemons on it. I have to thank Thomas at Growing Traditions blog for inspiring me to purchase a meyer lemon.

It is a cloudy hot day and there is a 50% chance of rain.Actually the weather forecast for the next 25 days looks pretty good. It even includes rain.

Next step for the garden is to plant the flower seeds: cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias and more :) After that I will be planting my squash, melons and cucumbers, and  I have had trouble with beetles on these. There is a theory that I should plant these seeds a little later, so that the beetles go to other  gardens first and settle in there. A lot  of folks have already planted these seeds and are ahead of me. I also purchased diva cucumber seeds because they are self pollinating and I will keep row cover over them, hopefully to keep the beetles off. Finally I will use neem oil spray--my new best friend.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tomatoes and Eggplant Are In

Today was pretty hot, but it has cooled down this evening where it is now pleasant. I was able to get the tomatoes and eggplant in. We will have only 7 tomato plants because that is more than enough for us. Hopefully the eggplant will do well. Over the years they have been challenging. Tomorrow I will plant my basil transplants and possibly beans. I do everything in stages for some reason.

 Cabbage and peas and onions are coming along nicely. Practically all the radishes have been harvested. Even the carrots are looking good ( first year for them).

The lettuce is ready to be cut and thinned. I will do that this weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Today Is My Birthday--Yipee

I love birthdays, even if it is someone else's birthday. Although my H and I are not big sweet eaters, we will go to Graeters most likely and get a piece of chocolate cake to celebrate this weekend. We no longer bake or purchase a cake---tooo much sweet stuff hanging around after the BD.  However, when I turned 40 my husband made a homemade red velvet cake for me. As he was serving it, he said that the recipe did not state how many eggs to add. He added 4 as a best guess. Let me tell you that was one good cake.

Now if I could get rid of this darn cold--that would be a perfect BD gift :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Farmer Fred and Tomatoes

I am listening to the last podcast of Farmer Fred. Part of the podcast is on favorite tomatoes. You know I love that subject.

They are discussing heirlooms, hybrid and grafted tomatoes. I have never tried a grafted tomato.
Have you?

They are discussing the following favorites:

Early Girl ( I have not had good luck with it)
Sun Gold
Mortgage Lifter ( I love)

They do not like Brandy wine because of low production.

The biggest advantage of grafted tomatoes is that they resist soil born diseases. That is interesting for those who have that issue. Of course Farmer Fred is always downloaded on my i-pod. Love my gardening podcasts.