5 Reasons I Want Weeds in My Garden

Buzz off, Monsanto! 5 Reasons I Want Weeds in My Garden. From free food and medicine to wildlife habitat, weeds are a natural part of a healthy garden.

I know this is going to sound crazy to many of you, but I let some weeds grow in my garden on purpose.  This wasn’t always the case.  When I was growing up on the farm, we had a huge garden for fresh eating and preserving.  With long, straight rows of veggies and paths in between each row, weeding was a never ending chore.  My stepdad used to run the tiller up and down the paths, while the rows themselves were tediously weeded by hand.  Inevitably by the end of the season, weeds that escaped the hoe would be overgrown and seeding out, to be tilled into the soil and start the whole cycle again.  I dreamed of a garden without weeds.

Fast forward to the 90’s, and my very own garden beds to arrange any way I wanted. I discovered the magic of mulch and planting in blocks instead of rows with nekked empty space between.  Instead of dirt paths that turned to dust when things got dry and mud when it got wet, I had raised beds with tidy paths between, perfect for a suburban yard.  Then things changed again.  Attached to the end of another article a friend had copied off for me was a page of another manuscript – “Weeds:  Guardians of the Soil“.  It caught my eye, but I had no idea where to read more as the book was no longer in print, and the friend passed away.  [Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit

Easter Ideas – Bunnies, Chicks and Eggs

These cute little Easter bunnies and chicks are decorated AFTER the eggs are peeled to make them super easy to serve and eat. No messy eggshells at the table!

Back in 2004, my sister Lois and I had an Easter themed brunch menu featured in Taste of Home magazine with a Spring Ahead Brunch Bake, Bavarian Cream Bonnet (rich Bavarian creme decorated to look like an Easter bonnet) and mom’s cinnamon rolls.  One of the things I didn’t mention in the recipe posts were the cute little Easter bunnies and chicks that we made out of hard boiled eggs, and some quick and easy Easter crafts and egg decorating ideas.  My mom loved tinkering with craft projects, too, so taking time for Easter ideas like these helps me to remember the many happy memories we had together. [Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit

Transform Your Landscape with Vertical Gardening

Transform Your Landscape with Vertical Gardening - 10 Reasons to Garden Up Instead of Out to improve your home landscape, make your garden healthier and more productive and create visual interest.

Often when people start talking about integrating a garden or other food crops into the landscape, the design ideas still tend to focus on two dimensional diagrams.  How many fruit or veggie plants can I fit per square foot?  While there’s nothing wrong with this per se, it means you’re missing out on some great opportunities to optimize growing space you might not even realize that you have.

If you haven’t tried vertical gardening, hopefully this post will win you over.  Yes, growing up instead of out takes a little more work initially, but the end result is well worth it.  I use trellises throughout my garden to make plants easier to care for, reduce disease and predation, and produce a larger crop in less space.  In the flower garden, vertical elements add visual interest and focal points – and can be just plain gorgeous.

[Read more…]

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Before You Plant Sunchokes, You Need to Read This Post

Before You plant sunchokes, you need to read this post.  What are sunchokes? What are the health benefits of sunchokes? Why you shouldn't plant sunchokes in your regular garden.

It all started innocently enough.

Somewhere I read about this native vegetable that was great for diabetics – or maybe it was that episode of Top Chef where one of the contestants made a sunchoke and spinach puree that the judges just raved about.  It could have been an article on easy care perennial vegetables.  I honestly don’t remember.  Whatever prompted me to grow sunchokes, there’s a few things I need to share with you so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. [Read more…]

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Handy Kitchen Substitutions

Save time and money with this printable list of 35+ Kitchen Substitutions . Substitutions for sweeteners, leavening, flours, spices, measurements and more.
Since I live out in the country, when I don’t have an ingredient on hand, it’s not very handy to pop out to the store to pick up what I need.  Over the years I’ve found an assortment of kitchen substitutions that have worked well for me, so I thought I would put them all together in one spot and share them with you.  These won’t work *exactly* like the original ingredients, but they should do in a pinch.  You may even like them better than the original. [Read more…]

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