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Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

So, I’ve been getting a ton of squash and zucchini from the garden. Now, I like squash and zucchini, but I was getting tired of just putting them in salads. Then HEB came through, as always. When I was shopping last week I came across this in the condiment aisle:

And I thought, why not use it as a dip for squash and zucchini slices? So I tried it out, and this is now my current favorite snack.

And speaking of the garden, I got my first tomato! It’s a yellow plum:

I just popped it into my mouth right there. Man, I do love summer. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

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First fruits of my labor

Asparagus:

Bell pepper:

Sweet Grand Marconi pepper:

Can’t wait to eat these guys. 🙂

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I am so glad to be posting this. When I get ready to plant my garden in the spring, it usually takes a max of about 2 weeks to get the bed prepped and everything planted. This year, it took more like 6 weeks. It felt like forever. The reason was that I decided to completely redo the garden and practice square foot gardening instead of long row gardening. I was so, so tired of the weeds, y’all. This method allows me to contain my garden within a smaller space, and I put down weed blocker and mulch around the rest of the space. Here’s the whole thing:

I have three veggie/fruit/herb beds, and in the back corner I planted a silver sage, pineapple sage, and some bulbs to add color (and hopefully attract some butterflies). Mason and I built the 4×4 boxes, and I put together the trellises in my living room. They are made of steel electrical conduit pipe, nylon trellis netting, and rebar (you drive the rebar pieces in the ground and slide the frames over them). Every year, around the beginning of July, my tomatoes defeat those puny tomato cages and fall to the ground, so this year I was looking for something that could hold its own against them. It’s worth the small effort it took to build these just to see the looks on the male Home Depot employees’ faces when I, a girl, asked for 2×6’s, electrical conduit pipe and rebar, and then had them cut down my boards and pipe. Ladies, you should try it some time.

The grids are made of wood lath nailed together with some small nails. These make it easy to divide the box into the squares you plant in. Here is Box 1, which contains summer squash, a green striped heirloom tomato, pole beans, oregano, bell pepper, chard, garlic, yellow onions, carrots, beets, dill, tarragon, red onions, giant Marconi sweet peppers, potatoes, and two kinds of corn.

Bed two contains yellow plum tomatoes, cucumber, Celebrity tomatoes, Black Krum (heirloom) tomatoes, basil, strawberries, zucchini, and spinach.

Bed three contains Cubanelle peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, asparagus, leaf lettuce, parsley, thyme, lavender, chives, acorn squash (not sure what I was thinking; I’m going to need another trellis for these), purple bush beans, and eggplant.

Oh, and my peach tree has baby peaches on it! The tree is two years old and this is the first year we’ve seen actual fruit. How cute are these?

Anyway, I designed the garden before I knew I was going to be blogging for Greenling and getting a free box of produce each week. So I’m probably going to be up to my ears in produce this summer. But that’s never a bad thing, right? Plus, about 75% of the fun for me with gardening is the process, so it’s all good. Anyone else have a garden this year? What are you growing?

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DIY compost bin

A few months back, Andria told me about a compost bin she’d built in her Citizen Gardener class using shipping pallets. I was intrigued. I’ve been wanting a compost bin for a while, but refused to pony up a lot of money for one. This project would be perfect for me, because a) I like construction, and b) I am cheap, and shipping pallets are free. You can get them at places like grocery stores (they usually just throw them away), but we happened to have new sod installed in March, so I asked my yard guy to leave me the pallets the grass came on. Most of them were broken beyond repair, but I salvaged four that I thought would be usable.

I did some googling and found these instructions. I picked an out-of-the-way spot in my yard to build the bin (because, honestly, it’s a little ghetto), and voila! In about an hour, I put together a functional, albeit not very pretty, compost bin.

I followed the instructions on the page linked above pretty closely, and although the gate doesn’t swing out too easily (it’s heavier than the left pallet it’s attached to with hinges, so I keep it propped up on the stones you see above), it opens. This way I can easily access the pile to turn it.

Here are a couple of other pics of how it’s put together:

A corner bracket attaching two pallets in the back of the bin.

The hook-and-eye latches that keep it closed and keep most critters out.

Now I’m looking forward to free compost for my garden. That stuff is expensive, and I’m glad to be able to contain my own pile in my back yard.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day here today. High 70s and not a cloud in the sky — perfect for spending hours outdoors. This is our backyard peach tree in bloom. Isn’t it lovely? When the peach tree blooms, I take it as a cue to start prepping my spring/summer vegetable garden. I’m practicing square foot gardening this year, but more on the specifics of that later. This is a food blog, right? So on with the food!

I had it in my mind to make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich today, but spotted a few other enticing ingredients and ended up making a fancy grilled cheese (which still came together almost as quickly as a pbj would have) and a salad. Observe:

It’s plain old shredded mozzarella and a bit of blue cheese on sourdough. The ingredient that made it over-the-top good was a smear of this amazing strawberry-chipotle jam from Blanco Valley Farms. If you’ve never tried pairing a strongly flavored cheese with a fruit jam, give it a shot — the flavors blend surprisingly well. I had my sandwich with this salad:

Just spinach and leaf lettuce tossed with this tomato coriander dressing I found at HEB last week. All in all, a simple, delicious lunch — perfect for when you just want to throw something together so you can go back to playing outside.

Here’s to spring and all the warm weather to come.

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