Category Archives: Compost

Herbs add flavor to any food dish

Reworked, updated first posted 2015.

Herbs Make Common Foods Taste Special

Most herbs will do well in containers, window boxes and planted directly in your garden soil.
If herbs are conventionally located to you and your kitchen you are more willing and more likely to use them when cooking and serving meals.

Sage is a herb that does well if properly cared for. It requires a lot of pinching and cutting to keep it from becoming woody. As a rule, sage will need to be replanted about every 3 years since it will become woody with few leaves no matter what, so keeping it in a pot makes this change that much easier. Sage dries very well and if you pinch the leaves throughout the growing season, put a rubber band on them and keep them dry and in a dark place after drying. You will have wonderful sage all winter to give your family and guest a special treat.

Rosemary is always a kitchen favorite. It dries perfectly, holds its strong taste all winter, comes indoors and keeps growing in a sunny window and is rarely bothered by insects.
Use rosemary for many herb standards or topiaries. The woody stem is perfect for crafting. The stem also seconds as skewers so each harvest yields two separate herb crops. 1)leaves and 2)stems.
Keep the stems in a freezer bag and use them for grilling skewers. Rosemary doesn’t like to sit in water it likes to dry out between watering’s. Being in its own container makes the herb grow that much hardier, since it can receive special care.

Basil is one of the most rewarding herbs to grow in a container. It really lends itself well to the other popular container plants like the tomato. Basil likes to have plenty of water to keep its fleshy stems and tender leaves plump, but is susceptible to mildew. In a container, you must be sure the plant gets plenty of airflow.

Thyme is an undervalued herb. Many times it gets planted and never used. Thyme deserves a higher standing on our list of culinary herbs!
It will thrive in a container environment, needing only minimal watering. Some varieties grow into small shrub like plants that enhance an entrance to your home. It’s tiny purple flowers are lovely. Being such a low maintenance herb, thyme will fit in your container garden.

Mint is notorious for getting away from gardeners. You plant one and soon twenty will follow. Planting a bottomless pot into your garden is one way of controlling mint, but keeping it out of the garden completely, by using a separate container, is a better idea. Mint is also so tasty, it will be used more often if it is handy.

Chives Leaves/Flowers Use in fresh or frozen soups, salads, salad dressings, eggs, dips, vegetables, chicken, soft cheese spreads, butters, white sauces, and fish.

English Thyme Use leaves flowers with fresh or dried wild game, beef, soft cheeses, fish, chowders, pâté, vegetables, and tomato sauce.

Tarragon French or Spanish Use leaves fresh or dried with chicken, fish, eggs, tomato juice, butters especially nice on steak, vinegars, salads, mustards, sauces hollandaise, béarnaise and tartar, soups, chicken, fish, mushroom and tomato and marinades for fish, lamb or pork.

Greek Oregano Use leaves fresh or dried
in white and tomato sauces, stews, soups, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables, butters, and vinegars.

Rosemary Use leaves fresh or dried
with beef, lamb, fish, poultry, stuffings, soups, stews, fruit cups, soups chicken, pea, and spinach, vegetables, and marinades.

Sage Use leaves flowers fresh or dried
with stuffings for fish, poultry, and meat, pâté, eggs, poultry, pork, beef, lamb, pasta, cheeses cheddar, cream, and cottage, sauces brown and meat, soups cream and chowder, beef stews, and vegetables.

Hint of the Day: Use fresh herbs blended with ‘real’ butter or sour cream for that special taste. Herb’s go well with fresh baked potato’s, snack dips and fresh garden salads.

Rain is (almost) always a good thing

Murphy(Murphy’s law) is working overtime.
Spent much of Monday mowing and weed whacking getting ready for the cooler/colder autumn weather.
Murphy had other ideas. Night time temperatures are falling near 50F(10C) degrees. Last night and this morning I have had more than 3 inches (77mm)(7.6cm) of rain. My weather forecaster said it will warm into the high 80’sF(31C) by the weekend.

That tells me I will ‘get’ to mow and and run the string trimmed removing weeds at least one more time before my first frost.

The rain is not good for unharvested cotton and soybean crops, but we have had very little strong winds and that is a good thing for cotton and soybean farmers.

However the good side of this rain is my pond is full, wheat farmers will be in good shape to drill-in winter wheat the 3rd or 4 week of September.
In the long run in the semi-desert southwest Oklahoma rain is always a good thing.

Frost on the pumpkin

Autumn/fall gardening task will soon come to an end as old man winter nears.

Winter squash and pumpkins should be harvested before night time temperatures fall below 32F(0C) degrees. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale will tolerate frost and may even benefit being exposed to a few frosty nights.

It’s time buy, trade and dig bulbs to be planted for spring garden flowers. This includes planting garlic in your vegetable garden.

Flower beds need to be cleaned, soil dug to a depth of 6 to 8 inches in preparation to plant your bulbs. Bulbs planted in the autumn will spend the cool fall and cold winter months developing a good healthy root system that will support plant growth and allow your bulbs to produce many large flowers next spring.

It is not to late to mail order flowering bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths are some of the most common and popular spring flowering bulbs.
Many lily varieties should be planted in the autumn as well.
However no matter what flowering bulb you favor now is the time to prepare for planting.

Pass It On….

Saturday Evening Post cartoon that is to good not to pass on.

I sometimes feel the same way about my Zucchini crop.

Spring time – plant your garden seeds soon, or miss your optimal planting time

It’s that time of year again, soil, day and night time air temperatures are nearing the optimal temperatures for direct seeding in your garden or raised bed soils.

An older blog post you may find useful Seed To Fork
North Dakota State University Agriculture Extension – Combinations found to be beneficial

Temperature, it’s all about the soil temperature.
Soil temperature is almost never to warm, however, soils that are to cool and damp at worst can cause your seed to rot in the ground and at best take many days to germinate. Seedling in cool soil grow slowly and often do not develop into healthy productive plants.

vegetable seed germination chart

herb seed germination chart

Words of wisdom: Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry S Truman

Caelie Wilkes discovers succulent that never needs water – A must share moment

Never needs supplemental water succulent discovery is shared with gardeners.

Caelie Wilkes said”on her Facebook page, “I’ve had this beautiful succulent for about two years now. I was so proud of this plant. It was full, beautiful coloring, just an overall perfect plant. I had it up in my kitchen window. I had a watering plan for it, if someone else tried to water my succulent I would get so defensive because I just wanted to keep good care of it. I absolutely loved my succulent.”

When Caelie Wilkes decided to re-pot her succulent she discovered it was ‘setting on styrofoam with the plant and sand glued to the top!

Caelie Wilkes said “I feel like these last two years have been a lie.”

Happy waterless Gardening 🙂

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Looking back it seems that I made my first Word Press blog post in June 2009. Wow 10 years and 1,145,766 hits later I am now moving into my 11th year on Word Press.

I have made over 1,400 postings. Covering most things vegetable and fruit gardeners seem to need or at least want a bit of helpful hints on.

Search my blog for everything from Asparagus to Zucchini. Apples to Raspberries.

Composting seems to be a favored subject for many bloggers.

You may have an interest in chicken coops, sexing day old chicks or maybe raising rabbits for pets or as a food source.

There is even a good starter recipe for a good beginners Rumtopf (rum pot).

Give my blog a search for area(s) that interest you. Grin, all you have to lose in a few minutes of your time.

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Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?

Summer High Pressure Heat Dome

Summer High Pressure Dome is forming over Oklahoma Kansas, and west Texas and will likely stay in place for the next 8 or 9 weeks. This dome prevents moist air from being drawn in off of the gulf of Mexico setting us up for long hot days ranging in the mid to upper 90’s (34.4 – 36.6C) for the next 10 day weather forecast with no rain being predicted.

Most gardens will quickly wither away in the dry heat. Few of us can afford to apply 1 inch of tap water 3 days a week for the next 6 or 9 weeks.

Only the most drought tolerant native plants can survive our normal, July and August hot rain less days.
Native grasses are turning brown and will conserve soil moisture by going dormant until our fall season rains and cooler weather returns. Then all of the dormant plants will burst into bloom to make seed before the first killing frost. Here first killing frost is most generally the 2 or even 3rd week of November.

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Why do ->YOU<- garden?

I often hear gardeners bragging about how much money they have saved by self growing vegetables in their backyard or plot gardens. If you do a detail cost assessment of your growing cost and supermarket cost per pound(kilo) you may find it is costing more per pound to grow than to buy.

Gardening and gardeners generally fall into two categories.
Category 1. I think most home gardeners fall into category 1 gardeners. Gardening for us is a hobby. We are not in gardening because we think we will be saving a few hundred or even a thousand dollars on our yearly food bill.

We garden because we enjoy growing things and being out of doors. We like seeing our flower and vegetable seed grow and bloom. Freshly harvested vegetables have better color and taste better than vegetables that were picked last week and shipped to supermarkets.

Cost of gardening is not a primary consideration for us. We are into gardening for it’s health and entertainment value.

Category 2. This category often includes survivalist, penny pincers, those living off the grid or mostly off the grid. Category 2 gardeners are concerned with feeding their family summer and winter from home garden grown produce. They are most likely to can, freeze and dehydrate garden produce for long term storage. Gardening is not a hobby to them. It’s a yearly on going job/task to be accomplished.

It matters not if you are a category 1 or 2 gardener gardening is not cheap. The initial cost can be overwhelming.
Container gardening requires investment in large containers(pots). Damaged pot must be replaced. New fresh potting soil must be purchased every spring.
Flower/vegetable seed must be purchased and often seeds or seedlings must be purchased every growing season. Many times you must invest in grow lighting. Allocate space and a heated environment to germinate and grow seedlings.

Green house or grow house are a costly investment and require continuous maintenance. Initial grow lighting is not cheap nor is the cost of heating a grow area or green/grow house.

Raised beds are not cheap to buy or build and require maintenance to keep them in good condition. Raised beds must be replaced every few years. They must be rejuvenated by adding compost every grow season.

All situations require the use of organic or man made fertilizers.
Insect and weed control be it organic or commercial made is an ongoing battle that is time consuming and often expensive.
Few areas receive enough rain at the time needed, so add the cost of collecting water or the cost of using tap water to keep your garden plants in good, healthy and productive condition.

Some, not all gardeners must invest in good fencing to keep pest like deer, dogs, lions, tigers, bears and elephants out of their garden plot.

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Fried Green Beans – as a side-dish or healthy snack food

Fried Green Beans are a great, different way to serve green beans. Your family will love them.
They can be served as a side-dish or served as a healthy snack.
Hint: As a snack serve them with Ranch Dressing as a dipping sauce.

1 pound green beans
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Time from start to table is about 30 minutes.

Leave beans whole do not cut into small sections.
Wash under cold running water.
Boil or steam green beans until crisp tender. Beans should still have a little bite to them. Do not overcook.
Error on being a bit under cooked.
Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet until sizzling.
Add green beans and fried over medium-high heat until beans are lightly browned.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve as a side-dish or snack food while still warm.

Hint: Spoon a small amount of the butter and olive oil used during frying over the beans just before serving.

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