April 29, 2011

I think i need to stop going to the library for awhile.

So many books - not enough time!

Happy Reading,

April 25, 2011

Random Bits (with Plants)

Baby limes

- We have been having bizarre weather lately. Sunny and warm one minute, slightly cloudy and breezy the next.

Yellow Squash

- What is it about hanging clothes on a line that makes life so peaceful and easy? I'm so glad it's warm enough to do it again.


- I would really like to try growing wheat. But I don't think we have enough space to make it worth it. And just plain buying wheat berries to grind is, well, stupidly expensive.

Blurry Corn

- We know some people who are looking to buy a house which I think would be really good for them, so for those of you who are willing to do so - would you pray that the pieces fall into place for that to happen?


- I planted almost all my herb seeds last weekend. But, unlike a smart person, I forgot to mark what and where. And we need to weed the beds. But since I can't remember what or where I planted, we can't do that. So we're going to follow the highly scientific and sophisticated method of "Let everything grow until it's big enough to figure out which is which."

- Today I got my onions, cilantro, basil, carrots and the second sets of lettuce and corn planted. That leaves tomatoes and peppers (which I'll have to buy plants of), potatoes (need to buy) and the third set of corn to be planted next weekend. Plus radishes and maybe some more lettuce sprinkled in through out everything. And I think I'll pick up some marigold to deter bugs from the green beans.


- Remember the little green thing? Ran out of yarn, and not even half way through. Oh well.

Happy Tuesday (yes that's tomorrow),

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Kool-Aid dyed sheep and cows (and toddler scribbles).

Traditional Easter grub. (Thanks for the idea Kess!)

The hunt is on!

Shhh... I'm hiding.

Not-so-traditional Easter grub.

Hoping you all had a wonderful, blessed Easter.
Love y'all to bits,

April 23, 2011

Aww, I'm Not Special

The boysenberries are fruiting!
I've been thinking a lot about homesteading, farming (on a small scale), animal keeping, and general "rural" things lately. I'd like to some day move to a larger plot of land and take on more things for ourselves for not just self-sustainability, but for fun. I already greatly enjoy bread baking, cooking from scratch, getting back into sewing, and generally doing things for ourselves.

So, like anything else I get into my head, I've been doing lots of research and I realize...

I'm part of a "movement". Some "Back to the Land, Let's All Be Country" movement, mostly spurred on by the "economical crisis" (which is a whole different rant in itself) where people are trying to do things for themselves because they can't afford to have others do it for them right now. Which will probably change back to normal once the economy picks up again.

Rather than those of us who do it because we want to.

And I have to admit, I'm rather bummed.

Blueberries, getting plumper and promising a tasty harvest.
I don't like finding out I'm a "follower" of any kind. I like wandering my own way through this world.

So, I'll just keep going on my merry little path, doing my own thing, watching others come and go until just the real ones of us, the ones who actually desire to live the way we live (or will hopefully live in the future) are left. And then we'll all have tea and sit on the porch and chat.

That reminds me, there are two houses on my street for sale (one's rather cheap and the other I'm not sure the price yet). You know, in case any of y'all wanted to come live by me. ;)

Marchin' to my own drum,

April 22, 2011

Fiber Friday

Still the same.

Not a whole lot of knitting going on this week. I don't think I've touched the Green Thing all week. I've been busy doing other things. Things like....

Sorry for the crap picture.

Wednesday and Thursday I took a pattern, some fabric and my Trusty Steed (sewing machine) and popped out a dress.

Only... it doesn't fit. It's a wee bit on the tight side. Which I was afraid might happen. Good news is I found something that my boobs are actually too big to fit into. So I'm not terribly upset about it. ;)

I used a 5/8" seam allowance, so I figure I'll just re-seam with with a smaller allowance and that should give me the wiggle room. I can get it on and still breath, it's just a little uncomfortable.

Also good news is I think I might have enough let over to make a half apron. We'll see!

So, has anyone else been working on projects this week?

Happy Friday!

April 21, 2011

What's Cookin': Sizzler's Cheese Toast

I'm posting two recipes today, so don't forget to check out Honey Mustard Pork Chops!

If you've ever been inside a Sizzler restaurant you know the wonder and deliciousness that is this toast. The buttery, cheesy crispiness.

If you've never had this toast, your life is missing something very crucial. But I'm going to fix that today.

Trying to figure out what to serve with pork chops the other night, I had an idea. I love this toast, but had no idea what went into it. A quick internet search produced the recipe and wow is it stupid easy.

I cut the recipe to our needs, but you could double it for a whole loaf. 

Cheese Toast
1 stick (1/2 C) butter, softened
1/4-1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese (depending on your cheese loving)
1/2 loaf of bread, sliced thickly (about 1 inch)

Preheat a griddle or large pan. Mix together butter and cheese. Thickly slather onto bread. VERY thickly. Place pieces of bread onto pan butter side down and allow to cook until cheese is golden brown and crispy. 

Happy Eating,

What's Cookin': Honey Mustard Pork Chops

Since one of the challenges of the month was only buying meat under $2.00 a pound, I picked up some pork chops the other day since they were the ONLY thing (aside from whole chickens) that were under 2 bucks. And then I had to figure out what to do with them. One night was carnitas in the crock pot. And the other night...

These! And there were delicious. I love honey mustard anything, so this was already going to be a win, but they turned out wonderful. The only downside? Cooking them made a mess with splatters, but it's all good.

The sauce did turn out a bit watery, so if you'd like it a bit thick you can simmer it for longer. 

Honey Mustard Porkchops
1 Tbs oil
4-5 pork chops (boneless or bone-in), about 1 inch thick
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/3 C chicken broth
Pinch of cayenne
1 tsp cold butter

Heat the oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Season the pork with salt & pepper on both sides, then place in the pan. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the "doneness" you want. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Add the broth, honey, mustard and cayenne to the pan. Whisk together and let come to a simmer. Add the butter and swirl around in the pan until melted. Add the pork chops back in along with any juices. Coat with sauce. Serve with sauce drizzled on top.

Happy Eating,

April 20, 2011

EGE: Third & Final Week

Honey Mustard Porkchops - recipe coming soon.

Yes, I know there are four weeks in this month. But I don't shop during the last week - to save gas and to eat up what we have in the house.

So, that's it. The grocery month is over. I'm done with the budget. I've spent all I'm going to spend (unless we have an emergency). So how did I do?

Month's Budget: $350
Week 1 Spent: $119.30
Week 2 Spent: $96.96
Week 3 Spent: $75.63
Total Spent: $291.89

Wait. What? That puts me under budget by $58.11! So the month I actually cut the budget by $50, I spend an EXTRA $50 less. Gosh.

This month's experiment has really opened my eyes to the way I was shopping. As a reminder the main part of the experiment was not cutting the budget, but only buying what was on my pre-approved list. Rather than playing a guessing game of what to buy each week, I knew ahead of time what I was allowed to get during the month (ex. 1 25 lb bag of flour, 12 cartons of eggs). So how did I do on that?

I did pretty well with most everything. If I went over on a certain item's price it was because the price was a bit more than I budgeted, rather than buying too many items. I did fudge on a few things and bought things like lettuce, but didn't buy carrots or celery (since I still have some) to even it out.

I also bought a wee bit of candy... But it was for Ben. ;)

Here's the breakdown:
I went $.78 over on milk because the price went up.
I went $3.98 over on coffee because it's the highest stinkin' price I've ever seen it with no sales in sight.
I went $2.66 over on soda because I was a bad girl and bought Cherry Pepsi which was not as good of a deal once I got to the register as I thought it was. >.>
I went $.78 over on meat because... well because I wasn't using my calculator yesterday. Whoops.

I also bought lettuce, sunflower seeds, and candy, which weren't on the list but there were 5 things on the list that I didn't buy at all.

I really enjoyed this experiment. We were talking the other night how we've been eating better this month than we have in previous months. I knew exactly what I could get, so I knew exactly what I would have to make things with. One of my biggest challenges was only buying meat if it was under $2 a pound so that meant buying things that I wouldn't usually buy and I had to find/make up recipes to fit accordingly. Which was a really nice to break from our usual food.

I think I'm actually going to keep this system for awhile, with a few changes.
  • A set amount for produce, rather than buying certain items. This will allow me buy what's on sale and fresh and hopefully get me to the farmer's market.
  • A set amount for condiments and spices. To cover things we might run out of and allow me to stock up on those $1 sales.
  • We drink waaay more milk that 2 gallons a week if given the chance.

I have to say thank you to my mom-in-love for supplying me with farm fresh eggs when she could. It allowed me to buy only half of the amount I needed, and saved me $24! Plus fresh eggs are so superior in taste to store bought. :)

Happy Eating,

April 19, 2011

Goodies For You!

Full Page
If y'all haven't noticed by now, I love to cook. Feeding people - stuffing them to the brim, really - makes me happy. And I have a lot of recipes.

I've tried a few different ways to keep our favorites organized.

I've tried keeping them bookmarked (if they're on the internet) and printing them out as needed. Waste of paper. I've tried keeping the print outs in a binder, but my OCD nature doesn't like how they aren't uniform.

I've tried that Demy thing that my grandmother got me for Christmas but I just tend to reach for the books and papers more often, plus whenever I try to use it the battery is dead, which doesn't help me at all.

I've even tried making my own typed out recipe pages complete with a picture of the dish, but it's really too much work and I realized...

Nothing can beat the simple, nostalgic pleasure of writing down your favorite recipes with a pencil.

So, I made up a few "blank" pages and wanted to share them with y'all.

Half page

Two styles: Full page, for those big recipes and Half page which has two recipes on a single page. They are for 8.5 x 11 pages. The half pages can be left whole, or cut in half for a little recipe card style.

Full Page - Download via Google Docs
Half Page - Download via Google Docs

Happy Eating,

Is There Enough? Using Stash Yarn For Projects

The project in question.

Yesterday I posted about a new project I started and how I hoped I had enough yarn. Debbie from No Spring Chicken asked if there was a way to know ahead of time if we have enough when using stash yarn that we only have a certain amount of (rather than buying enough for the pattern).

Well, there's a few ways to do it. This is kind of math heavy so I'll try to explain it as simply as possible so those with Arithmaphobia (I'm looking at you Allison! ;) ) won't run away screaming.

Both methods involve a scale that can get down to an ounce/gram.

Method 1:
If you have yarn with the ball bands attached, or you can find the information needed via another source (Like Ravelry's yarn search)  then this is the easiest method.

Most ball bands will tell you the weight and yardage of the skein. To figure out how many yards are in one ounce/gram divide the length by the weight.

225 yards/4 oz = 56.25 yards per oz
225 yards/50 grams = 4.5 yards per gram

Now, weigh the yarn you have. Let's use the yarn for my project as an example.

A full ball weighs 140 grams. (I prefer to weigh in grams, as I find it a bit more accurate.) I had already used a bit for a dish cloth, but I didn't weigh it before this project so let's just say I have 130 grams to start with. The full ball had 236 yards.

So, 236/140 equals 1.69 yards per gram. If I have 130 grams of yarn, then I have approximately 219.7 yards of yarn. Now I would compare this number to the yardage required in the pattern. That is, if I were using the same weight yarn. Which I'm not. It calls for DK and I'm using worsted, so I'm pretty much screwed but let's move on!

Method 2:
Let's say you don't have access to the information that is weight and yardage. You've misplaced the ball band. Or it's been 5 years since you last looked at the yarn after buying it at the yarn shop because you needed it RIGHT THEN even though you didn't have a project in mind, so it got pushed to the back of the closet and wild creatures have eaten the band and you really can't remember what the name of the yarn is, let alone the particulars.

Take a measure of yarn, say a yard or two (three would actually be best, just to be safe). And cut it from the ball. If you can't bring yourself to do this - I don't think I could either - you could just lay the measured portion on the scale, and put the attached ball to the side. It won't be as accurate, but it'll be good enough for those of us that don't like abusing yarn.

Either way (whole or cut) put the piece on the scale. From here you will know that three yards = X grams (or ounces, if you can get fractions). Do the same math as above:

(3 yards = 2 grams)
3 yards/2 grams = 1.50 yards per gram
Ball weighs 49 grams
49 (grams) x 1.50 (yards) = 73.5 yards total

Again, compare this information to your pattern, assuming you're using the same weight of yarn. If you're not using a pattern and are just going by ear not knowing how much you'll need total, well... May the Knitting Forces smile upon you.

Remember that if the pattern calls for a certain yardage make sure you have at LEAST 10% more than that to account for tension differences, starting and stopping new balls, seaming, etc.

I'm sure there are other ways to know how much yardage you have, but the first method is the one I've used for a few years now and it hasn't failed me yet. Unless of course I'm using a different yarn weight.

Happy Knitting,

April 18, 2011

Monday Musings

Yesterday was a full moon day, so I spent the weekend planting (almost) all of my above ground plant seeds. Corn, beans, spinach, lettuce, squashes and cantaloupe. I'm so excited. The only bad thing about planting is the waiting time. But as everything in my life is a continual lesson in patience, it's a good thing.

Anti-Cat devices
I was talking with Ben last night about bread and how we go through it so quickly that I should make more like 4 loaves at a time, rather than 2. But my KitchenAid mixer really can't handle more than a 2 loaf batch. The motor starts over heating and it smells gross.

So I decided I would try making a giant batch by hand today. It's been quite a while since I've made bread by hand and I hate to say I've become quite lazy, letting my mixer do all the work. It was nice to get back to the basic way of doing it and getting my hands dirty.

It's much bigger than it looks
If I made bread like this from now on though, I will have muscles of steel. Talk about a work out. But it was quite fun. And now I have four loaves rising and waiting for the oven.

What's this? A new project. It doesn't look like much now, but it will later, I promise. If I don't run out of yarn...

Have a wonderful Monday,

April 15, 2011

Fiber Friday - With Plants

Sunflowers! Wonderful, beautiful sunflowers to brighten our yard!

I haven't done a Fiber Friday in awhile, so I figured I would share what I've been working on this week along with what's sproutin' 'round here.

What I've dubbed the "Babylove Blanket", for friends of ours having their first little one. I'm just over half way - with three square sections and the border to go. I'll be making up and offering this pattern later.

Basil! I love basil, especially in pesto form. I'll be growing a lot this year. This is one of the surviving peat pots with sprouts, after my littlest man found them warming on the porch.

The current Mystery Shawl based on the book Around The World in 80 Days. I love mystery shawls, but I hate waiting for the clues!

Hollyhocks, which were also found by the little man. He likes to rip out plants. I replanted them and they seem to be doing well.

The previously mentioned 2-years-waiting mystery shawl. I know it's not much to look at now, but I wanted to show the pretty contrast of the bronze beads on the white yarn.

My maters are sproutin'! Yay!!

Have a wonderful Friday,

April 14, 2011


Hey it's Thursday! I have random thoughts that don't really have a place so...

Is this really the last thing I've worked on?
- I think my knitting mojo is gone. I haven't wanted to knit anything. It might be the endless miles of baby blanket that I've been working on. The same thing, over and over... I'm starting to think that by the time I get it done, the mama it's intended for might be on her second child... The only other thing I had going is a mystery shawl, but I'm caught up with it's clues and the next one doesn't come out til next week I think. So I cast on for a mystery shawl from 2 (umm, 3?) years ago that I never got to, to see if it's actually my knitting mojo, or just being stuck on a boring project. Or it might be that I have so many books I want to read right now...

- Thinking more about gardening, and talking to my grandmother, I think I might try planting "by the moon". She was telling me that my great grandmother would plant by the moons, and also in correlation with the Easter holidays (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday) and always had wonderful, plentiful gardens. Now, I was going to wait until after Easter (or at the very least, that weekend) so this idea works perfectly. By using the moon method I should be planting by the 17th which also happens to be Palm Sunday. So we'll add this to the list of "Meg's Crackpot Ideas" and see what happens. I cheated and put my crazy-go-nuts green beans in the ground already because their roots were escaping from the peat pots. My tomatoes aren't ready though since I got started super late so we'll have to wait on those.

Before the ravaging.
 - My darling children were too quiet in the backyard yesterday, and upon investigating what exactly they were doing, I found that my precious cherry tree had been stripped of half it's wonderful little fruits-to-be. When children are silent it's BAD and should be inspected immediately. This PSA brought to you by Mothers Who Try to Not to Tie Up Their Children With Duct Tape.

- I want a chicken something awful. Well, a couple of chickens actually. Something about walking out to my back yard to get eggs sounds wonderful. Not to mention the animal camaraderie. Unfortunately, Ben is still opposed. The poor man spent too long cleaning stinky chicken coops. Which I completely understand. Maybe I should just get a stone chicken and put some eggs under it?

- This post that I found totally sums up the way I feel about the way I want to live. I especially love this quote: "The average American housewife for most of the 20th century didn’t work for wages. She labored for love of family." I find it incredibly sad that the way things used to be are so "old", "outdated" and looked down upon. We should all know how to grow, cook and can food, and be pretty good at repairing things - be it clothing or machinery. It also drives me up the wall that some people act like they can't live without internet or their stupid cell phones.

- Duder has been showing a serious interest in potty training. I'm trying not to get my hopes up it happening too soon, but I am STOKED about this. He runs and grabs my hand, takes me to the toilet, and lifts up his shirt while grunting and pulling at his pants and diaper. Almost frantic about it. He still doesn't know what to do with the toilet, but he understands what to do when you're next to it. And he gets very proud of himself by just sitting on it.

Hey, tomorrow's Friday!

Have a wonderful weekend,

April 13, 2011

One Year Later :: Benefits of Budgeting

This has nothing to do with this post, I just figured y'all needed some yarn. ;)

It's been about a year since we started an official budget, and today I thought I would talk about our journey so far, and the changes I've made in how we do it - both since it's the "anniversary" and because some people are interested in hearing about it.

Being on a budget has:

- Made the year fly by so fast. I can't believe we've already been doing this for a year. Not spending every week waiting for the paycheck, biting our nails, makes life so much more enjoyable and freeing.

- Opened our communication with each other. We talk about our finances in detail now, which is something we didn't really do before. We're in agreement on every single thing we spend, and that's the important part. I'm not sure what Ben would say, but I feel it's really improved our marriage to be even better than it was.

- Allowed us to pay off over $25, 000 in debt. We payed off two debts in the first month by putting our heads down, getting serious, and not allowing ourselves to spend the tax refund purely on toys (hehe). We also worked really hard to pay off a third debt by November. And now we're on our way to paying off the car - our last debt besides our house! - trying for the end of the year. If we followed the regular schedule, we'd still have 4 years left on the car.

- Allowed us to plan for the yearly/bi-yearly expenses that come up like car registration and insurance premiums. It's so nice not scrambling around trying to find the money when the bill comes.

- Allowed us to have one of the best Christmases ever last December. We saved all year and put it into our Christmas fund, and we were able to easily and guilt-lessly buy each other presents, and spoil our kids. It was great.

- Allowed us to save up a sizable emergency fund. So if this wind storm we're having as I type decides to finally take our fence that has feebly been hanging on for the last few months, we can replace it without a problem to our finances.

The Evolution

New & Improved!

I've reworked and simplified the budget sheet since my original post. I realized it was just a little too technical, and I was not only having to explain it to Ben, but I myself would get confused. Now we base it specifically off of what's coming in, not what I expect.

The paychecks go in the boxes on the right, and they total up in the box at the top. Then as we add the budgeted amounts for each category, the total of those subtract from the income, telling us what's left. Right now, any extra money gets thrown on the car.

Then, as we spend the money, I add the amounts to the middle column "Spent". The sheet subtracts the spent amount from the budgeted amount, and tells us what's left.

For our annual/bi-annual expenses I put them in the box on the top right. Then I just divide the numbers by twelve so we know what to put aside each month.

I'm really excited for this month because it's a three paycheck month. That will allow us to get a full month ahead. Meaning that the checks we get in April won't be spent until May. Up until now we've had to use the last paycheck of the previous month and the first check of the current month to figure out the budget. And if that first check didn't come in until the second Friday, we'd have to wait to finish the budget.

Every time we talk about being on a budget and how nice it is, it always comes up that even once we pay off our debt we never want to go back to pre-budget. It's hard, sometimes, knowing we can only spend x amount on something. But it's been so wonderful to know exactly where our money is going, and working hard to be debt free so that we can breathe and live our lives more freely.

Since I've had a few people ask about it, I'm uploading a blank budget sheet for y'all to use if you'd like. You can find it here:

BudgetDownload via Google Docs

You can either use it on the site itself and print it out (File button>Print), download it to your computer (the File button>Download As) and use it, or just print it out and do all the work with a pencil and calculator if you'd rather. You can easily change the categories by typing in your own. The sheet will auto-calculate all the numbers for you as long as you leave the top "Income" box and the "What's Left" boxes alone. If you'd like a completely blank page for use with a pencil, just delete all the zeros in the "What's Left" column and print it out. Just don't save any changes you make!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and Happy Budgeting!

April 12, 2011

EGE: Week 2!

I'm so ready for summer fruits!

It's week two of the Extreme Grocery Experiment. So far, so good!

Really, just knocking off $50 hasn't been hard. The hard part has been sticking to my "you can only get" list and not getting the extra fun stuff if I've got money left in the budget. Usually I'll get corn dogs or something for the boys if I'm under the week's budget. So it's been really difficult not to say "Ok, well I've got some money left, so let's get this." This month is about sticking to the approved list, and spending as little as possible.

Monthly Budget: $350
Week 1 Spent: $119.30 (I had estimated $190!)
Week 2 Spent: $96.96
Left: $133.74

The first week I bought most of our dry staples for the month like flour, beans, rice, pasta and our canned/frozen things. This week was the weekly perishables like milk, eggs, produce, and a package of meat. It's been interesting sticking to this, but it's given me better ideas for future months.

This week's Menu:
Monday (yeah, that was yesterday): Spaghetti
Tuesday: Chicken salad - using leftover chicken from Sunday and lettuce we need to eat. Homemade buttermilk ranch dressing!
Wednesday: Carnitas (pork tacos) in the crock pot - Pork from the store, tortillas on hand
Thursday: Tuna sandwiches?
Friday: Beans & Rice - Either refried, or something other variety.
Saturday: Undecided
Sunday: Sunday chicken, potatoes, bread, and a veggie.

And as a random note: When buying name brand butter - because there was a blinky coupon that made it cheaper than store brand - check the inside of the box when you're done with it. I bought three boxes last week and as I was emptying out the last one today (after I got back from the store of course) I found coupons for more butter. Naturally, the other two were long gone since I took the sticks out and I had not thought to check.

April 11, 2011

Garden Planning

Today is April 11th which means that - if I can hold out - I'll be planting in about 3 weeks. So, the garden planning must be done!

I have been reading a wonderful reference book called Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte that I borrowed from the library. It's about companion planting - planting certain vegetables, fruits and herbs with others to provide beneficial nutrients and pest protection. I will be using that method in an effort to stay organic. And I'm enjoying the book so much that I think I'll be getting a copy for myself to keep.

I will also be using the Square Foot Gardening method, named by Mel Barthalomew, to cram in as many plants as I can into our three beds. With this method you divide your space into one square foot sections using string, slats, etc., like so:

Picture from amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com
Then in each square foot you put the maximum number of seeds you can cram in, based on the "thin to" number on the package. For example, if your seed pack says to thin to a final spacing of 4 inches, you'll put 9 seeds in that square from the beginning, each spaced 4 inches apart, and ignore the thinning part. If they don't all come up, then just reseed the missing ones. I haven't read the book yet, but that's the general idea and you can find more about it here on the website. (It takes a bit to load. That's why it's a no-no to designs sites solely in Flash.)

Now, you didn't think I would get through this project with using a spreadsheet, did you? In fact, I've made two. One as a chart layout of the beds (which I could have done on paper, but this way I can print out a new blank one for each growing season):

And one for the list of plants, their family (more on that later), the planting date, days to sprout, days to harvest, when those dates will be based on the planting date, "thin to" spacing, number of seeds/plants per square and notes.

So with that list in hand, and my handy chart layout, I got started laying out where plants will go.

I found two downloads on Little House in the Suburbs, which make the plant family identification and which plant families DON'T like each other very easy. Go here and find the PDF of the plant family list, as well as the Rule chart near the bottom of the post. It made my life really easy when planning.

And now, the plan!

I started with the bed on the bottom, since that was the one I knew we would for sure have ready. This bed will have:

Green beans, pinto beans, corn -each spaced a week apart, spinach, spaghetti squash, zucchini, yellow squash, and cantaloupe. I've gathered these are all "safe" to plant together using the chart from LHitS. Green beans grow well with corn, as they provide nitrogen to the soil that the corn needs.

The second filled bed will have both Roma and Polish Linguisa tomatoes (great for sauces with a rich flavor), carrots, basil, onions, jalapeno and Anaheim peppers, and cilantro. I'm still trying to decide the quantities of each. Basil is beneficial to tomatoes, helping to prevent insects and disease, as well as encouraging growth and flavor. Basil also repels flies and mosquitoes, so I will be planting some up by the porch for that.

So far the last big bed only has lettuce and potatoes in it. I'm not sure if I'll be adding more potatoes, more lettuce, or adding something entirely different. I think I will switch the potatoes to the other end of the bed though, since the book says that they don't do well near squash.

The last little bed is where I put my berry bushes, and where I will probably put the asparagus, hoping it won't crowd out the rest. It will be our fairly permanent plant bed.

I'll be interspersing radishes in all the beds, since they seem to be beneficial to just about every plant  except it's own family (cabbage) in deterring bugs and disease.

That's it! It might change a bit here and there, but for the most part we're set to plant. I'll be setting up my string lines sometime this week (hopefully), and then I have to be patient to plant.

Happy Planting,

April 10, 2011

Plants, Plants, Plants!

We had another garden/yard filled weekend. Lots of work and cleaning up. And here's what we have to show for it!

Cleaned out flower beds.

Freshly painted garden fence.

Everything is looking so nice now.

We went out to the home improvement stores yesterday looking for plants and were very disappointed. Little selection, skimpy plants, and highly over priced. So this morning I looked up nurseries in town and found that one we thought had closed was indeed still open. A quick call said they had trees in the sizes we wanted so we ventured forth on our quest for greenage.

Oh my goodness. That nursery was GORGEOUS. And wonderful. And their plants are all beautiful, and nicely priced. We got...

An artichoke plant. I'm very much looking forward to this. They are so expensive in the store and I just love artichokes.

Three bronze flax plants. Ben has been wanting them, and they make such pretty decoration.

A Mexican lime tree. It's a semi-dwarf and should get to be 5-10 feet tall.

Boysenberries! Three of them. I'm so excited for these. I thought about getting raspberries, but I think I'll like these better. I do like boysenberry jam.

And a blue berry bush! I only got one today, but I think I'll go back and get two more. I just love how it already has berries on, so I know I'll be getting a small crop this year.

And of course, my cherry tree. It is also a semi-dwarf and should get 10-15 feet tall. It's a self fruiting (self pollinating) Lapins cherry. And the coolest part?

It already has cherries!! :D We picked one with as many blossoms as we could find, so I'll be getting a small crop of cherries too!!

I'm so very, very very excited. The back yard looks so beautiful. In between all the plants we got today we transplanted some lilies and Agapanthus from the front yard so we will have a bit of color. I'll be sprinkling some herb plants in the beds too, in addition to some flower plants like the sunflowers and hollyhocks. Gosh. I can't wait.

And it's almost time to plant the garden! I'm trying to hold out a few more weeks, but my beans are going so crazy I'll need to get them in the ground soon!

Happy planting,
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