Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last garden update for August

It's been a busy month so here are a few pics of the new garden spot in the side yard.  This year I got a head-start in planting.  In September I'll have a few more Peppers, Tomatoes and new Greens to add the the side-yard project.

Tomatoes, Peppers and Zucchini
I don't have pictures of the herbs or the greens I recently planted.  It's been a bit rainy here and the pictures just aren't doing the new growth any justice.  I might have to ask for a new camera for my birthday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is Sustainable Living?

Sustainable living means different things for different people.

The wikipedia definition states: "Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and his/her own resources."  Also, "Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development."

There are so many online resource to get started living a sustainable lifestyle, such as Mother Earth News, Lighter Footstep, Sustainable Living Magazine and

You don't have to live on a farm or become completely "off-grid."  It can be as simple as recycling at home and work or BYOB (bring your own bag) when you head off to the grocery store.

My Florida garden started out small and only in containers.  I have since graduated to a small area in the side yard with a few pots still remaining.  My goal for the current garden is to let nothing go to waste and become less dependent on store-bought produce.

Some people refer to Urban Sustainable living.  Not everyone can live in the country and raise chickens.  There are many simple ways to reduce waste, live a sustainable lifestyle and even save money in the process.

~Skip bottled water. Buy a filter such as AquaSauna or britta and filter your own water.  Use reusable bpa-free bottles or containers.
~Turn off lights and plugged in items when not in use.
~BYOB to the grocery store or farmer's market.
~Put leftover food in reusable containers.  Reduce or discontinue use of plastic bags.
~Plant a tree.  It seems so simple but it will offset tons of carbon, provide shade and benefit local wildlife.
~Buy used products when possible.  Check out your local thrift store or browse craigslist.
~DIY beauty products such as facial cleansers and body soap.  Not only will you save money by avoiding pricey items, there is little or no waste in production and storage.
~Start a veggie or herb garden.  It's that simple!

Monday, August 29, 2011

City Farming: September Preview

September is right around the corner.  I'll be posting every day in September with "How To" growing instructions for my favorite veggies...Not to be confused with Mary's Top 5!

No matter how big or small your space you can have a garden just about anywhere.

Apartment dwellers might find satisfaction in a simple herb garden or a more elaborate patio container garden.  I've done it.  It's possible.  My friend Bridigit has had a brilliant start on her apartment garden and has given me permission to share.
Patio containers

Having a yard, large or small, may increase your yeild or at least provide space for more options.  My sister Jennifer shared a few pictures of her recent success in the garden. 
Armenian Cucumber
Stay tuned for germination tips and more vegetable gardening!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adding to the Ever-Growing Garden

With the new seed arrivals at Mary's Heirloom Seeds I've decided to try my hand at Little Gem Lettuce, Spinach and Pak Choi.  These greens will help me attain my goal of no longer relying on addiction to store-bought produce.

The greens are planted in a container because it is SO HOT here in Florida and I want to have more control over watering.  Greens do best when planted in fall or early spring (in the south).  I might get a little crazy and plant Swiss Chard while I'm at it.

I soak most of the seeds overnight in small glasses for better germination and a great head-start.  Labeling is important so I know which seeds are planted and the success rate for each variety.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Friday!

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
~Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vertical Gardening

No matter how much space is available, a vertical garden adds pizzazz to any space.  While browsing the web I found a amazing pictures I just have to share.  It's always important to recycle, reduce and reuse whenever possible and this vertical garden certainly does just that.
Using an old over-the-door shoe rack they have managed to plant a few types of lettuce and herbs.  The rack is sturdy and will require much less water than if planted in a medium to large pot.  I might have to try this.

Below are several other options for Vertical Gardening.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My trip to the farmer's market

I went to a local farmer's market on Sunday.  I'm waiting no-so-patiently to harvest my veggie.  I've already seen a few mini cucumbers and maybe a new pumpkin.

In the mean time I made another trip the the market and scored a bag of produce to tide me over for another week.  I purchased radishes, zucchinis, bell peppers, onions, cilantro and my hubbies favorite...jalapenos.

I've been away from the garden since Sunday but I'll be back tonight or Thursday.  I'm pretty certain Hurricane Irene will stay out at sea and bring south Florida a bit of cooler weather.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Sunday I made Tomato Cages

 Sunday was an adventurous day! It's amazing what you can accomplish when you turn off the tv and resist the laptop ( as much as I resisted I was still drawn in once or twice).

I started with a 50 foot roll of fencing material then cut 5 foot long pieces to make cages 18 inches in diameter.  Instead of bending the ends to make hooks to hold them together I used electrical ties.  When I am done using the cages I can simply cut the electrical ties (I call them zip ties) and store the cages easier.
I snipped the ends off when I was finished.

Thanks to my amazing hubby, no one was seriously injured during this process. 

I have not installed the cages in the garden yet but I have a very good reason.  Florida may be hit by a hurricane this week but we won't know for sure for a few days.  I'm not all that worried but I'll be cautious for now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

On Sunday I made bread


I love the smell of baking bread.  There really is nothing like it.

Rising Dough
The recipe I used said it made 36 dinner rolls but I actually finished with 48.  I made half of them large and half small.

Rolls Rising

Most of the rolls will go in the freezer for another day but I just couldn't resist buttering one to taste right out of the oven.  MMM-MMM Good!
Finished Product
Here's the recipe I used from  HOWEVER, I ommited the melted butter which the directions say to drizzle over the rolls.

Angie's Perfect Dinner Rolls


  • 2 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Pour milk into a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle yeast over the surface. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Beat in the sugar, eggs, 1/2 cup butter, and salt; blend thoroughly. Gradually stir in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover bowl, and set in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Punch down the dough, cover the bowl, and allow to rise again. Repeat this step two more times.
  3. Break off 2 to 3 inch size pieces of dough, roll lightly into round shape, and place in prepared baking dish, edges touching. Repeat to make 36 dough balls. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until tops turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. When rolls are finished baking, drizzle melted butter over the top, and serve warm.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time for a Break!

I've taken a break from the garden today.  This morning I walked at the beach before going home to get ready for work.  Between work and the gym I needed to take a break, aside from the fact that it was 106 degrees today with the heat index.

I spent the rest of my afternoon uploading NEW SEED info onto the website.  Yeah!  I love new seeds!

I'll be taking Sunday off completely from technology (except for the camera).  I plan on baking, cleaning, gardening and napping.  I might even build those tomato cages I've been meaning to get to all week.

Check out Mary's Heirloom Seeds for new seed info.
~Chinese Mosaic Beans
~Bulgarian Giant Leek
~Red Fig Tomato
~Purple Beauty Bell Pepper
And a few more interesting varieties!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Friday!

And what a gorgeous, happy Friday it is!

It is the working man that is the happy man.  It is the idle man who is the miserable man.
~Benjamin Franklin

I am extra happy today since I have almost completed the border around the garden.

Day 1
Day 2

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Babies...

In the garden that is!!!

 Cucumbers are my early girls in the garden right now. 

These are called National Pickling Cucumber and they should be mature in 52 days from germination.  By my calculations I should be eating and pickling these beauties in 20-30 days.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cucumbers, Pumpkins and Tomatoes "Oh My"

The garden is flourishing and I'm sweating. It 'feels like' 106 degrees today. I spent an hour of my lunch break removing cutworms and hornworms from the ever-growing garden.

I transplanted seedlings Sunday before last and all of the plants have doubled or tripled in size. This past Sunday I spent the morning collecting more seaweed from the beach, cleaning it and then applying it to the base of each plant. This weekend I plan on applying a second application of seaweed 'tea' to the entire garden.

The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.
~Gertrude Jekyll

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Soylent Green and Scary food facts

This morning Yahoo had a story titled 9 Scariest Food Facts.


I am already familiar with these scary food facts but I'm surprised to see that yahoo is talking about it. Last month I wrote about why I feel it is important to grow your own food. I am certain that I'm doing the right thing for several reasons (not just because yahoo says so). The cost of "healthy" food is continuing to rise as well as the chemicals used in growing produce in the US and abroad.

I remember watching Soylent Green and thinking "Could that really be the future of food?"
It seems like a corny movie to watch in 2011 but it really was interesting to watch. If you haven't seen it I recommend adding to your "to-do" list.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saving the seeds of harvest

I don't have much time to devote to give an accurate "how-to" on Seed Saving so I'll make it quick and explain more in a later post.

Tonight I made a salad with dinner and added a fresh from the garden Cal Wonder Bell Pepper.

I managed to save most of the seeds for planting next season.

Seed saving is an art I have not yet mastered. I know I have a lot to learn but I am willing to try. I feel a great sense of accomplishment having eaten food I have grown myself. My bell pepper didn't need to travel hundreds or thousands of miles and no pesticides or chemicals were used on or around the maturing plant. With the exception of the fuel it took to ship the original seeds to my house, almost no additional fuel was consumed.

And, the top and insides of the bell pepper will go back into the garden in the form of compost.

Here comes the rain again. Thank you Mother Nature!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I love the Rain!

While many cities are suffering from a nasty drought I am doing a happy dance because it's raining! I look like a nerd but I don't care.

Today I decided to put mulch around the garden. I should have done this days ago but we've been busy.

Mother Nature has other plans for me. Here's what the garden looks like, although you can't tell it's raining in the picture.

I'm not afraid of a little rain but lightning is a whole other story. It should pass in a few minutes.

Happy Friday!

Earth laughs in flowers.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dreaded Mosquitoes

Another gorgeous day in sunny South Florida!

My new favorite friend is Deep Woods Off. I have tried to garden without chemical help. While the organic garden is thriving I have been miserable. Monday night I went out into the garden after work to plant 3 tomato seedlings. I was almost finished when my legs started to burn. I was wearing pants so I figured it couldn't be mosquitoes.

Boy was I wrong!

I almost couldn't finish planting. Running through the house to the bathroom, stripping off clothes as I went the lightbulb came on in my head...I got bit through my pants. Those sneaky suckers! I counted 15 bites on my backside alone.

The moral of this story: If you already know mosquitoes consider you a delicacy, SPRAY yourself down with repellant!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Good morning! And what a gorgeous morning it is!! Today I am all about Pumpkins.
Below is a bit from my website:
While pumpkins are not the easiest plant to grow, they are not terribly difficult and have many uses both in recipes and decoration.

Seeds can be started indoors as early as April or up to 2 weeks prior to setting outdoors. Pumpkins do not like cold weather and frost will kill them.

Pumpkins need soil amendments, preferably natural or organic, such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Pumpkins need lots of sun and should be watered regularly.

Maturity rates vary between 12 weeks and 20 weeks depending on variety and size preference of pumpkins.

I posted a picture yesterday of my first flower on my pumpkins. This morning I have 2 and MANY more buds just waiting to raise their heads to the sky.

I am looking forward to making Pumpkin Pie and Roast Pumpkin. I have a special recipe saved just for the occasion that I'll share today.

Roasted Pumpkin


  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C or 400°F.
  2. Quarter and then carefully peel and seed the pumpkin.
  3. Cut into chunky 2" cubes.
  4. Place pumpkin into a large & sturdy roasting tray.
  5. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper & cumin - mix well, making sure that all the pumpkin pieces are coated in olive oil.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft & also tinged brown at the edges.
  7. Serve with a main meal as the vegetable dish OR freeze for future savoury pumpkin recipes. I also make soup from this - as well as pasta dishes too - recipes to be posted for those!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Moving Day for seedlings!

It's been a long week. After re-painting our new office and an Open House at the office I am READY for a little dirt-digging!

This morning I went out to check on the little seedlings and pick off a few cutworms...but wait...a BIG bloom on the pumpkins! The first so far!!!

My Cucumber is also growing fast. Today it will have to be trellised when I plant the second cucumber.



I've been a busy girl today. I think I'll use the rest of my Sunday to relax!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Friday!

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.
~John Lubbock

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Open House

Wow! I've been away from the garden for too long!
We have painted the new office and tonight was the big Open House!
This weekend I'll have a chance to get back in the garden and dig in the dirt. I'm looking forward to transplanting Zucchini, Eggplant, Cucumber and a few strong Tomatoes.