Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

September is the month where you can look at your garden and take stock of what worked and what didn’t, harvest the remaining produce growing in the garden (except for a few frost loving plants, will talk about that later) and put your garden to bed for the winter.   If you live in some of the warmer climates, you can now restart your garden!   For the plants that like the heat (like tomatoes and peppers), start the seeds indoors or buy starter plants. I, however, live in zone 5-6, so no replanting of the garden here.  I will be taking the steps to put my garden to bed and do what I can to get it ready for next Spring.

T A K E  N O T E

Get yourself a cute little notebook (don’t we all buy one everytime we go into Target?!) and take note of your garden.  What grew well in the garden this season?  Did your tomatoes get enough sun?  Did your squash plant succumb to mildew?  These are observations that will help you in planning your garden for next year!  Your placement of plants may change based on your observations.  For me, I need to move where I planted my squash because it was affected by mildew.  So…I need to find a place that gets more sunshine to prevent this from happening again.


W H E N  T O   H A R V E S T

Are you daily looking at your peppers wondering if they are ever going to turn red??  While it is ideal to let peppers, like tomatoes, ripen on the vine, there does come a time when all the peppers and tomatoes need to be harvested from the garden and left to ripen indoors, out of direct sunlight.  So yep, harvest your tomatoes and peppers, even if they aren’t perfectly ripe and let chemistry do it’s thing indoors. Now with this said, if you have planted some “cool crops” you can leave them in the garden until after the first frost.  Some cool crops are Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Spouts, Spinach, Collard, Asparagus. A quick Google search of “cool crops” will provide a great resource if you are wondering if any crops you have planted are considered a “cool crop”.

 

 

 

TIP: you can leave carrots in the ground through the Winter (they may actually get sweeter as the carrot holds on to it’s sugar to combat the cold), however, you will need to harvest them before Spring as they will go to seed and not be edible.

P U T T I N G  the  G A R D E N  to  B E D

One thing I always need when going to bed is a blanket, your garden likes one too!   There are a couple of ways you can create a “blanket” for your garden.  You can grow a cover crop.  Stay with me here, this sounds much more complicated than it really is.  A cover crop is as simple as tossing some seeds on your cleaned out garden bed.  This helps create a barrier between the Winter elements and your garden soil.  Cover crops also give back vital nutrients that were taken from the soil to produce all your yummy veggies!  A seed that I recommend is Cereal Rye.  Sprinkle the seed ideally 4 weeks before the first hard frost, or as soon as you can after cleaning your beds.  Literally let nature do the work and watch it grow.  If planting another crop has you rubbing your temples, then a nice layer of straw or some other type of mulch will also provide a sufficient barrier for your garden soil against the harsh winter elements.

Categories

7 Food Trends You Will Want to Try in 2018

The New Year typically brings about the desire to eat healthier; maybe trying to undo some pounds that may have been accumulated during the holiday season? But, do we really even stop eating candy until after Easter? I feel like I am eating candy from Halloween until Easter, anyone else??  Back on track here…food trends.  You will be encouraged to hear that most of the food trends for 2018 are on the healthier side and may make transitioning from all the sugar to better snack options a little easier!

Floral Flavors

 

  1. Floral flavor infusions aren’t a new thing, but this is going to be a big trend in 2018.  From lavender lattes to elderflower making it’s way into everything from cocktails to at home elixirs, floral flavor is going to be front and center this year.

 

Bubbly Drinks

2. Bubbly drinks came on strong in 2017 and are here to stay in 2018.  I have to say, a sparkling water hits the spot for me when the mid afternoon cravings come on strong.  Look for new and interesting flavors as more brands get into the game this year.

 

Mushrooms

3. Mushroom coffee jumped onto the scene last year, still haven’t tried it, but you will likely see more and more ways to enjoy and incorporate mushrooms.  Mushroom broths mixed into smoothies and teas along with body care products boasting of this ingredient will be more available as well.  This is a good thing as new research has shown that mushrooms, particularly porcini mushrooms, have very high levels of two anti-aging antioxidants: ergothioneine and glutathione.  So ask for extra mushrooms on your next pizza and maybe give the mushroom coffee a try 😉

Middle Eastern Food Influence

4. We have seen an influence of Middle Eastern cuisine for quite some time.  From hummus to pita to spicy curried dishes, Middle Eastern flavors have become a mainstay in many of our pantries.  However, this year look to see an increase of these exotic options, as there is a growing desire in experiencing flavors from this part of the world.  I am not sure about you, but I am looking forward to this food trend!

Knowing your foods origin

5. There has been a growing demand for knowing the origin of our food, and this will continue to grow and become more and more expected in 2018.  Look for your local grocer to highlight where they source their fruit, veggies meat and dariy.  Restaurants will likely make this a highlight of their menus as well.  Ingredients will increasingly be more visible on most food products, as more and more people are wanting to see what is in their food at a glance.

vegan

6. Vegan options are going to be on the rise in 2018 as more and more people are choosing to eat a more plant based diet.  Many companies are coming up with new ways to offer creative plant based alternatives for those that just can’t give up their bacon burgers🙋.  Some of these options are getting pretty tasty, and may even have you reaching for the vegan option without even realizing it!

Puffed & popped snacks

7. We all love a good potato chip, but may not love all the grease that is used to create the crunch we crave.  So three cheers to the puffed and popped revolution!  Many of the big snack brands are taking to air to create tasty snacks that compromise with calories but not on flavor.  So yes, pass the chips please!

5 Best Plants for a Host or Hostess Gift

It’s that time of year when our calendars are full of parties!  Deciding what to bring the host or hostess can be a bit overwhelming.  Well,  we have a list of 5 amazing plants that every host or hostess will love, green thumb or not.  And, all of these plants can be enjoyed all year long!  Now who can say that about a bottle of wine or box of chocolates?

1.The Lemon Cypress.  This is such a fun a festive plant with it’s chartreuse shade and almost fuzzy feel.  A little reminiscent of the Grinch Stole Christmas don’t ya think?  The beauty of this plant is that it can be transported into a pot in the Spring and be enjoyed throughout the Summer.

2. The Wintergreen Plant.  This plant is an evergreen and can also be planted outside once it has been enjoyed indoors through the holidays.  Plant this beauty outside and enjoy green foliage all year long, even during the cold Winter months.

3. The Norfolk Pine.  This is another plant that can be enjoyed all year long both indoors or outdoors.  Something especially fun about the Norfolk Pine is the ability to decorate it!  Your host or hostess can enjoy dressing up their plant with lights or ornaments.  A great gift idea for the host or hostess with kids.

4. Christmas Cactus. A holiday classic, the Christmas cactus looks so festive with it’s bright red blooms to be enjoyed through the holidays.  If your host or hostess has any shade of green in their thumb, this should be a plant they can enjoy for years to come.  The Christmas Cactus needs a little TLC in regards to watering and light, but easy enough for most of us to handle.

5. The Succulents. There is a reason these little plants are all the rage; they are as cute as can be and require minimal care.  Plus…you can find the cutest little pots to in which to plant them…Bonus!  These make a great gift for any host or hostess and with all the different varieties, you are sure to find a succulent just perfect for your host or hostess’ style.

7 Ways to Use the 7ft. Garland from Trader Joes

This time of year fresh garland is a must in my house!  I try to sneak it into every room.  Wondering how you can find space for fresh garland in your home?  We are going to go over 7 ways to use the 7ft. garland from Trader Joes.  From traditional placements, like over the mantel and on the table as a centerpiece, to creating a custom looking wreath for less than $4. We will get your creative juices flowing and have you thinking of all kinds of new ways to put that garland to use!

  1. It doesn’t get much easier than this!   Just toss the garland on the table and you have a pretty centerpiece.  Ok, MAYBE this requires a little more than tossing, but not much!!!  This is a very traditional display of a fresh garland with a couple of faux sprigs of greenery and berries to create a little more color and depth to the arrangement.

2. So how cute is this?!?  This before and after shows how we can put to use every last remnant of the garland rather than tossing them into the fireplace or trash.  I purchased the wreath on the left at Joann for just over $2.  I then went on to add springs of the fresh garland.  This was super easy as the wreath’s woven design acts as a natural anchor for the garland sprigs.  I added some red berries, and voila, you have a custom looking wreath for less than $4!!!  Sure wishing I could insert the dancing lady emoji right here….

3. I bet you wish you had this sitting on your kitchen counter right now!  So good!  Anyway, here is another way we used every little bit of the 7ft. garland.  We needed to fill some holes in our donut hole tree, and what better way than to bring some fresh (let’s be honest, these are clearly not homemade donuts) to this dessert.  A little fresh cranberries and greenery and you now have a dessert that even Martha would be proud of.

4. So what can you do with 1 1/2 feet of garland, make a home for your glass hurricane!  Grab some wire that can be found in the wreath section of most craft and fabric stores, and attach the two end pieces of the garland to make a circle.  You can adjust the diameter of the circle to fit the size of your glass hurricane.  This is such a simple and inexpensive way to add detail and depth to all your centerpieces!

5. Here again, is a very simple and traditional way to put fresh garland to use.  I did connect two of the 7ft. garland pieces to allow for extra length to go around the front door.  Add some bright white lights, and when the sun goes down, you have created a festive way to greet guests at your door!

6. I just love having a house full of people around the holidays!  I really do!  One thing I like to have in each of the guestrooms and bathrooms is fresh flowers or greenery.  Again, instead of throwing these garland remnants out, place sprigs (big and small) in different size vases.  Add some fresh berries to add color, or stick with all green.

7. Can we first just take a moment and give a round of applause for Target now carrying Joanna Gaines Hearth & Home!  Oh my goodness, I will take it all please.  I mention this because this wrapping paper is Hearth & Home.  It has just enough color and pattern to compliment the simplicity of the sprig of garland and berry.  In my book, a gift wrapped with twine and garland is a gift well wrapped!

Gift Guide for the Gardener

2017 G I F T  G U I D E  for  the G A R D E N E R

  1. Super soft tri-blend “I ♥ Farmer’s Markets” t-shirt from the Roo Apron.  Designed with a scoop neck and relaxed fit, this tee makes a good fit for about any body type and at $26 makes a good fit for your budget as well!  Available is sizes s-xl.  Get yours here: https://rooapron.com/product/roo-i-love-farmers-markets-tee/

2. Gardening gloves from Womanswork.  These gloves feature a ventilation panel on the back of the hand, tool gripping palm patches and reinforced fingertips. Now in color block patterns designed to stand out in the garden and on the job. Womanswork exclusive work gloves are custom sized to fit a woman’s hands, in sizes S, M, L. Machine washable. Save 15% when you order two or more pairs! Two for $39.95.  Get yours here: https://womanswork.com/high-performance-gloves-with-vent-max.html

3. Help the gardener on your list stay organized and keep of record of their gardening successes with this beautiful, hand made gardening journal from The Far Woods.  With a monthly planner page, a daily “to do” and monthly tracker page, this journal gives the ability to keep detailed record of what happened in the garden all season long.  Available for $19.00 + shipping.  Get yours here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/543901024/a-year-in-the-garden-a-guided-garden?ref=shop_home_active_12

4. The Roo Apron is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, pulling weeds or collecting anything that needs to be put away. No more using your shirt trying to get vegetables in from the garden, simply put on the Roo, fill the pouch and the cylinder chute allows you to deposit your collection without messy fallout. It will also eliminate the piles of weeds that follow you around your yard as you do your work.  One size fits all.  Available for $32.95 + shipping.  Get yours here: https://rooapron.com/product/purple-orchid/

5. Any gardener would love to wake up and enjoy their morning coffee or tea in this darling “Plant Whisperer” mug from Loveable Gift Co.  This mug is dishwasher safe, printed on both sides and made from the highest grade ceramic.  So let your favorited gardener know that according to you, they are the “Plant Whisperer”!  Available for $14.95 + shipping.  Get yours here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/455736432/gift-for-gardener-the-plant-whisperer?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=gardening gifts&ref=sr_gallery_19

 

6. Most of us love artwork and this set of handmade botanical prints is sure to bring a smile.  The French Botanical Collage Print Set from Belle Maison Art, features 6 antique white botanical illustrations that have been restored, enhanced and layered onto a vintage background with antique French ephemera.  Available for $60 + shipping.  Get yours here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/502585860/white-botanical-collage-print-set-no-4?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=botanical print set&ref=sr_gallery_5

7. Sit back and enjoy the lusciously sweet nectar of a Caramel & Vanilla soy candle. Full of richness, toasted vanilla bean and sizzling caramel adds a warm vibe to the space. Sweet, baked goods of the fall season drizzled with caramel inspired this aroma.
Infused with essential oil from lemon, and our specialty non-toxic fragrance blend.  Available for $14.00 + shipping.  Get yours here: https://sweetbirchco.com/product/caramel-vanilla-soy-candle/

8. This handsome watering can is perfectly sized for watering indoor plants. Made of lustrous copper-plated steel; the slender, curved spout creates a gentle stream for precision pouring, making it easy to tend small pots, terrariums and dish gardens. The generous 3-quart capacity means fewer trips to the faucet.  Available for $29.95 + shipping.  Get yours here: https://www.gardeners.com/buy/copper-indoor-watering-can/8593724.html

From garden tools, to handmade artwork, to candles that smell good enough to eat, we have you covered for the gardener on your list!  With 8 different gift ideas ranging in price from $14.00-$60.00, we have a gift for every budget.  So sit back and grab a glass of whatever and get to crossing items off your list!

When in Doubt,Grab a Granny…Smith Apple that Is! Pics,Recipes & More.

Photo credit Evans Mill Cuisine

We love our apples! From gathering the family and picking them in the orchard to dipping them in gooey caramel sauce, the apple is a highlight to many fond family memories and a go to snack for both young and old.  It turns out there is one apple that outshines the rest: the Granny Smith.  From it’s low calorie count, high fiber content and being the favorite in the kitchen as filling for apple pie, no wonder the granny smith apple ranks No.1 among moms, kids, and nutritionists.

The granny smith originated in Australia around 1868; some say by accident!  Rumor has it that Maria Ann Smith was testing French crab-apples for cooking, she threw the apple cores out her window as she worked, and up sprung what we now know to be the granny smith apple.   However Maria cultivated the granny smith, is has become a favorite world wide.  It continues to be one of Australia’s biggest exports, and now France and the US also grow and export this apple variety.

H  E  A  L  T  H    B  E  N  E  F  I  T  S

Photo credit Food Next

Along with their crisp sweet tartness, granny smith apples bring a lot of nutritional value to the table (pun intended!).

  • Granny Smith apples are lower in carbs vs. other apple varieties
  • good source of fruit sugar to give you a boost during the 3 p.m. energy slump
  • high fiber content, which makes you feel full
  • beneficial phytonutrients which offer a range of health benefits

Plus, according to the Journal of Food Chemistry the non-digestible compounds found in the granny smith apple can help fight obesity, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  These compounds also help your gut grow friendly bacteria, and wouldn’t we rather have friendly bacteria vs. unfriendly bacteria!

W  A  Y  S    t o    E  N  J  O  Y

Photo Credit Huffington Post

Why moms and kids love the granny smith apple is all the delicious ways you can enjoy this green gem!  Whether eaten right out of the fruit bowl, paired with sharp cheddar, dipped in caramel sauce or melted between gouda and ham, the granny smith brings just the right amount of sweetness and tartness to any dish.  Click on the images below for recipe information!

Cucamelons 101: How to Grow & When to Harvest

Is this the first time you have seen a Cucamelon?  Aren’t they just the cutest little things??!  Well, along with being cute, they are quite delicious.  Imagine a cucumber spritzed with lime…fresh!  They can be enjoyed right off the vine or sliced into a pasta or green salad.   We asked a Saara, a Cucamelon growing expert, for 3 tips on how we can all enjoy these little gems in our own garden!

 

Cucamelons are quite a low maintenance vegetable to grow and these 3 tips should help you to get a bountiful harvest:

Saara Vernalls

Cucamelon Expert 😉

  1. Be patient- germination of the seeds will usually take at least couple of weeks so don’t give up hope if the little shoots are not popping up in a matter of days. Once on show, the little seedlings will also take some time to get bigger, but once the plants have established themselves and the weather has warmed up they will really get going.

2. Give the plants support. Trellis, netting or some other type of arrangement, cucamelons will need a support structure to climb up on- they will reach quite some heights. The higher they grow, the more cucamelons you will hopefully get too. Growing upwards, they add a beautiful feature to your garden or greenhouse with their gorgeous green but thin vines and green leaves.

3. Harvest when they are grape size and firm. Check behind the leaves as the little fruits hide very well behind them. Harvest them regularly as they taste the best when grape size and not overgrown.

Thank you to Saara for these great tips on how to grow the best Cucamelons!  These are definitely on my list to plant next Spring, will they be for you as well??  If you are having a hard time finding seeds at your local garden center, they can be found online here . In the meantime, search our your favorite local grocer to see if you are able to enjoy these delicious treats sooner than later.