Friday, June 23, 2017

Growing baby broccoli

This was my first year with growing broccoli but man it was one heck of a experience. I planted my 5 plants in late March. I got them as sprouts from as local store mainly because my son who loves broccoli asked for it. As a first time grower I decided why not.....Anyway I never expected it to grow as well as it did. Our plants grew about two feet high and once  I started harvesting it grew back pretty quickly. Here is some things to remember when growing broccoli, some tips and tricks I learned. 
~They grow tall, though none of my plants needed support, I could see that happening growing this in the future.
~I grew baby broccoli because we like stir fry but there is different and bigger kinds of broccoli you can grow, each has different needs.
~They need full sun light(I read they can grow in shade but unsure how well, ours was in full sun) 
~They take about two months to mature, but again once they do they produce pretty quick.
~They need well drained soil, We added compost to ours that helped with keeping the soil well drained and gave the soil a extra boost for a healthy harvest.
~This is something I did not know before hand but found out as tempters reached 90 here...Broccoli does not like low temperatures or high heat. Our broccoli grew smaller and in time when  the soil got to hot it bolt.  I herd about laying straw down to keep the soil cool but it was to late for my plants.They grow best when temperatures are between 65-75.
~Keep your eyes open for pest like cabbage worms.
~A main head will form but also side shoots, both are of course edible. 
~ Harvest when heads are tight, size doesn't always means it is time to harvest. 
(in the picture above the bottom right shows heads that were not picked in time and most say they are not nice to eat after that but we still ate them with no problem, tasted fine.)
~Harvest with a clean sharp knife. Harvest the main head when it is about 2 inches and the side shoots when they are about 6 inches.
~Best when eaten fresh.
~If you do not harvest in time the broccoli will flower, I had one plant that really flowered. It looked so beautiful and once I removed it I become a great treat for our pup. 
~It can grow in both spring/fall, again just keep a eye out for temperatures. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Peach and nut pancakes!

One of the favorites here is these delicious peach and nut pancakes. They are simple to make and yes I do take one little short cut...I know, I know shame on me....The short cut I take when making these pancakes is using shake n pour pancake mix. Yes the one you simply add the water to, shake it and use it....with two little kids it makes breakfast easier BUT if you hand make your pancakes I give you credit this recipe would be even better with them!....did  I say recipe... I guess this is a recipe but really its as easy as just topping the pancakes you would normally make with peaches and nuts but remember some of these tips to style it your own...
Try honey instead of maple syrup 
Try fresh peaches instead of canned but canned also saves time if it is a busy morning..believe me I understand just not having the time some mornings but still wanting a homemade breakfast 
Add the nuts into the pancake batter instead of on top (I like this for my kids who are kind of picky)
Add cinnamon to the pancake batter...not a lot is needed but sure is a good added 
Try different kinds of nuts and fruit

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Growing Petunias and a updated on the lavender plant planted last summer!

I will admit I use to dislike Petunias....they always seemed like they died easy and really never looked to pretty in the stores but sense they have grown on me. :) I have learned to enjoy these plants and like the saying goes "never judge a book by its cover". Once home and planted in correct soil these plants just come to life! There is so many colors and patterns to choose from and they for sure can make a garden. So here is some tips and tricks I learned when growing these beautiful plants, enjoy! 
(please note, I only share tips or tricks that I have learned and tried myself, if there is any more please do not be afraid to comment, I love to learn more!)

~First off is choosing the right plant. Like with any plant you do not want one with many dead flowers or leaves. One that looks sick or has ripped flowers.  I have never personally seen one of these be sold as beautiful as they look once they are replanted so do not be discouraged if you end up with a plant that looks droopy at first.(then again I get most of my plants at Homedepo....)
~you can grow this plant from seeds! It is hard but do able.
~Find a sunny spot, Petunias can grow in shade and I have a pot of them in shade but they grow slower and produce fewer flowers.
~Water every few days, I keep it to about once every 3 days unless I can see that they really need it.
~Keep fertilized
~Keep in well drained soil
~There are four different groups of Petunias..the two I know and focus on are theses~ (Grandiflora) Witch is better for pots and (Multiflora) Witch is better for beds. The difference is the way they handle a lot of rain when it does rain a lot.
~Remove dead flowers to keep the plant blooming for longer. This is called deadheading and you must make sure to get the base of the flower where the seeds are.
~Break up the soil before planting
~Watch out for pest, know that deer and rabbits will eat these plants if hungry.
~They are great to grow with vegetables, they help repel certain pests from plants.(also great for grape vines)
~They attract bees, butterflies, and moths witch can be beneficial to a garden. 

...and last the update on the lavender plant....Last fall I was asking around to see how to keep this thing alive during the winter so it would grow back. Many said just let it be, few said to cover it with leaves or small branches. I did end up covering it with small branches and here it is late April. It is turning green again!...very green....the ones in the pots that I kept inside did not make it but this one did and I couldn't be more happy it did....So THANK YOU to everyone who helped!! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Growing Tulips

These flowers are so beautiful for spring, I am in love with the ones that grow around here. 
~The first thing to grow these beautiful flowers is timing. Bulbs should be planted in late fall before frost. They stay dormant all winter and come up in spring.(September/December are good planting times) 
~Next is to choose the right bulbs. Bulbs should be planted within 5 days of buying. Always go to a nursery and look at what you are buying before hand. Never get any bulbs that have defects. Stay away from mold and split bulbs, go for firm and light brown in color. They love to be planted in groups so make sure to get enough. They also look amazing planted with Forget-me-not's.
~Now that you have the right bulbs you need to plant them correctly. Find a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day and plant with about 4 inches space in between. One bulb can sprout between 4-6 stems.  Till soil, add compost and make sure it is a well drained spot. (raised garden bed?..they work very well) Plant about 6 inches deep(what ever 3 times to length of the bulb is), but remember the bigger the bulb the deeper you should go so it stays cool. Always plant pointed side up and give them a good watering after but then not again till leaves start growing. 
Note~ they can be planted in pots but we grow in ground so I do not know much about that..yet..
~Once your plant starts growing its time to keep it healthy so it can grow back next year! Make sure to remove any dead flower heads before they start falling and any leaves when they turn yellow and most of all... Fertilize in the fall, every fall. 

So remember....
Tulips do not like over watering and need good drainage to stay healthy
There is many kinds and colors of tulips
Tulips can be planted in pots but that takes on a whole new experience
Rodents love these little bulbs and will dig them up
Leave them be in the winter
As long as the plant and bulb are healthy they will come back year after year
Some tulips grow tall some grow short, sun and water can also effect the growth
Unless conditions are perfect most bulbs only bloom for 3 years before dying off for one reason or another  
Sudden warm weather will make these bulbs bloom too early, it happens
Do not get discourage! If your bulbs fail to bloom, try again!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pine cone fire starters, how well do they work?

I have seen plenty of people swear by pine cones for great fire starters so of course out  I went collecting them from near by trees. I got home and wanted to make them pretty so I used old melted wax and covered the bottom of each cone. That step I know is not needed but it was a way to use the wax and I was bored...Anyway I got really happy to set my next fire, so I stacked up some wood and placed bills...I mean trash mail at the a pine cone to the side and went to light it....I'm sure you could imagine my disappointment when it didn't light....Tried again with another and nothing....So I just lit the paper and poof the pine cone light up after being laid on the paper. It burned for a good amount of time too, but my question is why did the pine cone not lit itself? They were dry for the record. When I herd them being good fire STARTERS I thought they would actually start the fire lol maybe I miss herd. Either way  I would keep using them as they are free and help a fire continue to grow. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Healthy? dollar store meal challenge

I have been seeing these every where and  I am a big fan of the dollar store so it was time to try this out. Yep I did the dollar store eat healthy challenge. I knew it wouldn't be easy but here is how it went.
So this is my local dollar store. Well the food part, the other parts are way better. 
So there was about 10 doors to the freezer food part and only about two were anything I could use and out of them two there was not a lot of choices. Like above one door was almost all cheese, so I ended up picking out Feta cheese. Then the next door was what ever they had meat wise and that was ham and hot dogs. I ended up with ham. Then to go with the ham and cheese I picked out pasta and sauce. For dessert I ended up picking out frozen fruit to make smoothies. 

Here is everything! Only $5. It was high in protein but also high in salt. :/ dang ham...

So I cooked the pasta, baked the ham and added cheese on top. 

 And in the end everyone ate and we ended up with extras cause I didn't cook the whole box of pasta or use all the sauce. So it is possible to make a healthy meal form the dollar store though it is proven to be hard! If you have ever attempted this challenge let me know what you made below!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

DIY Swiffer reusable clothes

I love Swiffer products but the replacement things can get pretty expensive. Well  recently I had on a shirt that I swear  collects every single piece of hair, pet fur, and anything small that I pass. No matter how I wash or dry this shirt it was plan annoying. So I figured it would make a great swiffer cloth. I measured the size of the swiffer and cut a little extra on the top and bottom so I can tuck it in like a normal cloth would. It worked amazing. You can really use any kind of fabric you feel like would work and you can do the same thing for the swiffer mop, just add a strip of velcro. If you do not have the mop try making a swiffer head using a hand towel and that way you can spray the floor and easily spot clean. These are reusable, just throw in the washer or hand wash and let dry.