Tag Archives: tiny garden

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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Planning Your 2019 Garden Now is the time to make spring garden plans

A gazillion words and post have been published about the benefits of raised bed gardening and square foot gardens.

In truth raised beds may not be your best choice. Raised beds are generally best suited to cooler and wetter climates than weather conditions found in Americas West and Southwest.

Pros of Raised Bed Gardening:
More control over the location of the garden
Ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants
More efficient draining
Can be easier on backs and knees due to less bending and stooping
May be helpful keeping weeds out of your garden space
The soil warms up earlier in a raised bed, so you can plant earlier and extend your growing season
May work better keeping ground dwelling pests out of your garden plot

Cons of Raised-Bed Gardening:
Will be more expensive to get started
Requires careful planning to make sure there is enough room for plants that need to spread out, and to ensure that you can reach the middle to tend the plants
*** Because raised beds drain so efficiently, they will also need to be watered more often and may require an irrigation system
In the west and southwest water is a valuable, often scarce resource. Areas with little natural rain fall, daily temperatures at or above 90 degrees and humidity levels often dropping to 10% or 20%, tap water is an expensive way to water your garden.

Raised bed planting has the disadvantages of more frequent watering during dry periods and the cost of filling your beds with large quantities of compost, soil-less growing medium and may require more frequent use of commercially made or organic fertilizers.
Root vegetables, think potatoes and carrots that penetrate more than 3 or 4 inches deep into the soil where they are planted may suffer in raised bed plantings.

Amending garden soil by digging in or tilling in large amounts of compost and planting directly in the amended soil very well may be a better choice over raised beds. You will over time develop a quality garden soil that holds moisture. Couple this with extensive use of mulch water needs will be greatly reduced and over heated soil temperatures can be moderated.
* This years mulch will be tilled into the soil as an amendment for next years garden.

Practically Free Raised Beds by Will Atkinson

I saw a great post about salvaging and recycling wood fence to construct raised beds. Many wood fences are made from cedar and are naturally insect and rot resistant. Practically Free Raised Beds After building your first recycled wood fence raised bed is a good time to consider a square foot garden. If used to it’s maximum advantage, you can grow a lot of food using only a few square feet of garden space.

4-hole-dibbleboard

Build A Dibble Board
If your one of those that want and insist that every plant be perfectly spaced. This little gadget may be just what you have been looking for.

Build A Dibble Board Check out ‘gardeninggrrl’ blog for a lot of pictures and building instructions.

Keep in mind you may need two or even three of every dibble board. Most garden seeds need to be planted 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch or 1 inch deep. Seed planted 1 inch deep that ‘should have been planted 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep may never break through to see the light of day. In this event you have wasted your time, water and seed.

My dibble board consist of placing my seed on the ground at my desired spacing, using my finger to press the seed into the soil to the proper planting depth, cover my finger dibble hole with soil, then wait for them to germinate.

furrow planting

Farmers over the last 8,000 years have devised main 3 planting methods to maximize water usage and fertilizer to produce the most vegetables at the lowest cost on the least amount of land.

Furrow planting is common in areas with enough rain to produce a crop but with the need to conserve as much soil moisture as possible.

bed planting

bed planting

Bed planting provides additional root zone drainage as well as providing a reservoir to hold moisture near the plants root zone for a longer period of time after irrigation or rains.
Bed planting act much like raised bed planting without the cost of constructing bed boxes and filling raised beds with soil/soil mixes.

Minimum till planting is a method that has been used for thousands of years and in the past 25 years has been rediscovered by farmers in the USA and the UK as well as many other more developed countries. In minimum till planting, last years crop stubble is left in the field to prevent or minimize soil erosion from winds and heavy rain water run off and reduces soil drying by providing ground cover {mulch}.
At planting time, seeds are planted on flat ground without removing old crop stubble.

What gardening method is best for you? That is a decision that only you can decide. Using raised beds, furrow planting, bed planting or minimum till planting is mostly {for home gardeners} a personal choice dictated by ‘your’ garden plots size, location and amount of time and effort you are willing and able to put into your home garden.

No matter what method you choose, keep an open mind and consider other gardening methods if the way you are doing it now fails to produce as much as you feel that it can and should be producing.
The old worn out, I have always done it this way is not an acceptable answer to resolving a gardening problem.

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Heirloom and Natural Hybrid Tomato’s

Tomato Growers would like for you to purchase seed from them.
With that said I present this site to you for reference and research purposes only. Purchase seed from your trusted supplier.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Tomato Growers in anyway. I have never received money or gifts from Tomato Growers.
I have been satisfied with seed I have purchased in the past.
You must do your homework before sending any company money for their advertised products.

Tomato Growers website contains a ton of useful Tomato information including a picture and a detail description about tomato uses, size, days to harvest, disease resistance as well as other useful information.

650 varieties of hybrid and heirloom seed are sold by Tomato Growers supply company. Home page. Listings for tomato, eggplant, pepper, squash and more heirloom garden seed.

Tomato Growers promise to buyers is:
No GMO’s
All of our seeds come from natural hybrid or open-pollinated heirloom varieties.
Tomato Growers do not sell any GMO’s or genetically engineered varieties.

Go directly to Best site I have found to shop or simply learn more about Natural Hybrid and Heirloom tomato varieties.Tomato’s, natural hybrids and heirlooms page.

Never buy heirloom garden seed again. Become a seed saver and save your hard earned cash for other garden projects.

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Home Grown Salad – Seed To Fork

Lettuce is fast growing cool weather crop that quickly reaches maturity. It is a cool season plant best grown in the spring and fall of the year in most of the U.S. With so many loose leaf and head varieties your most difficult decision is which varieties to plant.

First plant the cold tolerant lettuce varieties in the cool early spring months, then sow the heat tolerant varieties in late spring to spread out your lettuce harvest as long as possible. Stage plant lettuce, planting pots and beds every 7 to 10 days.
Lettuce benefits from a rich well drained soil.
Fertilize lettuce using a nigh nitrogen based fertilizer, something like 10-5-5.

Hint Lettuce seed require exposure to sun light to germinate.
Sprinkle seeds on top of the soil, and lightly cover or scratch them into the bed just below the surface of the soil. It is helpful to cover pots and beds with clear plastic to prevent your soil from drying out before your lettuce seed germinate. For best performance, Lettuce must be kept moist, Not Wet, throughout its growing season.

Harvest Lettuce at any stage of growth, small, young plants are tender with a delicate flavor.

Some proven and reliable Lettuce varieties are listed for your consideration.

Cold-Weather Lettuce
Arctic King (green, semiheading)
Brune d’Hiver (green, semiheading)
Rouge d’Hiver (red, romaine type)
Winter Marvel (green, semiheading)

Cool-Weather Lettuce
Buttercrunch (green, semiheading)
Four Seasons (red and green, semiheading)
Lolla Rossa (red, leaf lettuce)
Royal Oakleaf (green, leaf lettuce)
Tom Thumb (green, semiheading)

Heat-Tolerant Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson (green, leaf lettuce)
Craquerelle du Midi (green, romaine type)
Red Riding Hood (red, semiheading)
Two Star (green, leaf lettuce)

Kale is a hardy, cool season green that is part of the ‘cole’ cabbage family. It grows best in the spring and fall and can tolerate frosts. Kale is rich in minerals and vitamins A and C.

You can plant kale anytime from early spring to early summer. If you plant kale late in the summer you can harvest it from Fall until the ground freezes in Winter.

Spinach has similar growing conditions and requirements as lettuce, it is nutritious and can be eaten raw or cooked. Spinach is high in iron, calcium, vitamins and is a excellent source of vitamin A, B, and C.

Plant seeds when your soil temperature is 40%F to 75%F. Seeds may fail to germinate in warm soils. Plant seed 1/2 to 1 inch deep and 2 inch apart cover lightly with soil. After germination, thin plants 4 to 6 inches apart. Keep your seed bed damp ‘Not Wet’ to speed germination.

Swiss Chard Plant in full sun or particular shade. Chard prefers full sun early in the season, part shade in summer when it’s warm. Chars will Tolerate moderate frosts, but don’t plant in very early spring. Seed Germinates when your soil reaches 40%F to 95%F, but is best around 70%F.

Chard likes well drained moist (Not Wet) soil. It prefers deep, loose, fertile soil, high in organic matter, with pH 6.0 to 7.0. Needs consistent moisture, especially as plants grow large.
Chard will benefit from a mid season fertilization using a N-P-K of something like 10-5-5.

Beets like full sun and will handle light shade. Beets are not heavy feeders and tolerates low fertility soils. Plant beets in well drained loam to silt loam soil, high in organic matter. Beets tolerate low fertility and light frost but require consistent moisture.

Beet seed Germinates from about 40%F to 85%F but around 50%F is a good soil planting temperature. Seed will begin to emerge in 5 to 8 days. Don’t panic it may take two to three weeks in cooler soils.

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

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Gardening By USDA Hardiness Zone’s

Gardening in USDA Zone’s 10 and 9. Your last frost date will arrive in the next 30 to 45 days allowing you to start planting your 2019 garden.

Zone 8 gardeners will need to plant seed indoors soon giving your seedlings time to reach outdoor planting size by the first or second week of March.

USDA Hardness Zones 5, 6 and 7 gardeners should be getting your 2019 garden seed on order and making plans to plant seeds in starter pots and trays to be planted in your garden starting about the first or second week of April.

First and Last Frost Dates by USDA Hardiness Zone

Find Your – First – Last Frost Date

USDA Hardiness Zone First Frost Date Last Frost Date
1 July 15th June 15th
2 August 15th May 15th
3 September 15th May 15th
4 September 15th May 15th
5 October 15th April 15th
6 October 15th April 15th
7 October 15th April 15th
8 November 15th March 15th
9 December 15th February 15th
10 December 15th January 31st (sometimes earlier)
11 No frost. No frost.

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Image

Merry Christmas – Tis the season

Brussels sprouts with a dash of maple syrup

Daisy Nichols | The Daily Meal said never boil Brussels sprouts take some cleaned Brussels sprouts with any woody stems and yellow or brown outer leaves removed and season them generously in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place them on a lined baking tray and into a preheated 375 degrees F (190 C) oven for a total of about 35 minutes, checking them and stirring them every 15 minutes or so.
In the last 15 minutes drizzle over a few tablespoons of good quality maple syrup (sorry no Mrs. Butterworth or Aunt Jemima, today) and finish them in the oven until roasted, golden brown and delicious.

NOTE: I did not have ‘real maple syrup’ in my kitchen, so I used a generic store brand ‘maple syrup’ and was pleased with the results.

Thanksgiving and food safety

This post has become an annual posting in hopes it will help keep you and your family safe. Food handling, thawing times, cooking time / temperatures and safe storing of any thanksgiving day food leftovers.

For some this is old information and is considered plain common sense. For others this will be their first time dealing with such a large bird and safely handling so many side dishes for one meal.
turkey
Butterball Turkey Talk provides a free service to answer your questions about proper handling, thawing and cooking Turkey.
You can reach them by telephone, email or via live chat line.
Butterball also has a informative page of FAQ’s that you may find useful.

Butterball said:
FROZEN WHOLE TURKEY
Thaw in refrigerator (not at room temperature). Place unopened turkey, breast side up, on a tray in refrigerator and follow our refrigerator thawing instructions. Allow at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

To thaw more quickly, place unopened turkey breast down in sink filled with cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.

When thawed, keep in refrigerator up to 4 days until ready to cook.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) has a nice and very informative fact sheet as well as a useful PDF file on the safe handling, cooking, Storage and re-heating of Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey USDA’s information applies to any poultry, Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Goose and so on that you may plan on cooking and serving to your family.

For more information about food safety, call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or
E-mail: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov Or “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ Web-based automated response system – available 24/7 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

Hints:
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.

Thawing In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days
Roasting Time
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Alternate methods to cook Turkey / poultry Grilling a Turkey, Covered Gas Grill, Covered Charcoal Grill, Smoking a Turkey, Deep Fat Frying a Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Basics: Safe Cooking Turkey A PDF file. Great 1 page tip sheet on cooking Turkey / Poultry.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Turkey Roasting Chart Everything you will ever need to know about Roasting your Turkey.
Hint:
Reheating Your Turkey
In the Oven
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People. Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal Important cooking information to providing Safe food preparation information.

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Tool Time – Fall jobs needing to be taken care of

chimney-sweep Now is the time for those of you that use a fire place, wood or coal burning heating stove or kitchen cook stove to set a date to have your fire place brick and chimney inspected and cleaned. Stove pipes need inspected, cleaned repaired or replaced as needed.

Fire wood. Carefully inspect fire wood for insects. Termites can and do live in fire wood and you don’t want to bring an infestation of undesirable insects to your garden or home. Keep fire wood stacks far away form your home.
Check your Natural gas, Propane and Electric space heaters. Insure they are clean inside and outside.
Check gas heaters to insure the pilot-lights, and thermocouples are working.
Check your central air systems heaters for proper operation and change all air filters.

Automobile care: Check your tires for tread, uneven wear, proper tire pressures are very important.
Check and if needed refill coolant levels with the proper type antifreeze recommended in your cars owners manual. If you need more help/information ask the service desk at your local auto supply parts house. All antifreeze is not the same!

Drain old fuel or add fuel stabilizers to gas powered tool, lawn mowers, chain saws, weed eaters and such. Be sure you are using the correct fuel stabilizer. Fuel stabilizers formulated for ‘normal’ gasoline and stabilizers formulated for alcohol added fuels are not the same.
Remove and replace or sharpen blades on grass cutting equipment be it gas or electric powered.
Riding and push lawn mower(s) tillers, string trimmers and such should be serviced.
Clean all dirt, oil and grease from your equipment.
Grease and lubricate as described in your owners manual before storing your power equipment for the winter.

Cleaning and care of Garden Hand Tools. Wash using warm bleach and soap water to sterilize and remove all remaining dirt. Use fine sand paper or steel wool to remove all signs of rust from metal parts. Coat metal parts with a light coating of good quality oil like 3-in-one oil.
Linseed oil is good for wood handled tools like shovels, rakes and hoe’s. Don’t forget to clean your wheel barrow metal parts re-paint as needed, and treat all wood parts with a wipe down using Linseed oil.

Keep cutting edged tools shovels, hoe’s and lawn mower blades sharp. Invest in a good quality 12 or 14 inch Mill Bastard file. Yes, Mill Bastard is the real name of a utility file. If properly cared for and kept rust free a file will last a lifetime.

Most important of all: Keep your tools indoors, and hang them up! Don’t lean them against the garage/garden shed wall. Never allow them to touch the floor. Even if it’s cement. Moisture is your enemy, keep your tools dry.

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Cranberry Sauce – For your special holiday season table

harvesting cranberry's
New crop cranberry’s will soon be arriving in your local supermarket. Purchase cranberry’s early in the season to insure you are getting the best and freshest berries.

Cranberry sauce goes well with any type poultry or water fowl as well as many pork dishes.

Galaxy Class Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry’s – Tangerine – Cinnamon – Cloves – Nutmeg with or without added sugar, it’s still the best Cranberry sauce this side of Venus and Mars.

You can add either white cane sugar or dark brown sugar. Make this sauce as sweet or tart as you like.
If you like the tart bite of cranberry’s then omit most of the sugar.

If you do add sugar, start with 1/2 the amount given in this recipe and continue tasting and add sugar until you get the amount of sweetness that is to your liking.

Wash cranberries and tangerine’s well. Dump cranberries into a bowl of cold water, pick out any damaged berries.

In a large sauce pan add 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed tangerine juice with pulp, be sure to remove any seeds that may get into your tangerine juice. [Save tangerine rinds].
Note: Oranges are Not the same thing as tangerines! If your use oranges it will produce a totally different tasting sauce.

Add 1/2 cup cold water
Bring to a slow simmer
Add cranberries
Wrap in cheese cloth: 4 whole cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 anise star add to pot
1/8 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
3/4 cup dark brown sugar – Start with 1/3 cup sugar – add more as needed to your taste
Simmer 5 minutes Note: stir pot often
Decide at this point by tasting if more sugar is needed.
Adding sugar until it is as sweet as you like.

At some point cranberries will start to pop open, this is a good thing, stir to prevent sticking to bottom of your sauce pan.

Cranberry sauce is ready when all or at least most of the cranberries have popped open and the juice has become very thick.

Grate 1 table spoon of tangerine rind into mix.

Remove from heat, remove whole cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. ‘Carefully’ spoon cranberry sauce into hot sterile canning jar(s), seal and allow to cool.
Under Refrigeration this sauce will keep for several weeks.

Better yet process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Remove from water bath, allow to cool, check jar for proper seal. Will store well for 2 years or more in a cool dark pantry.

This sauce can be placed in zip-lock freezer bags and stored frozen for a year or more.

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