What Happened to My Brassicas?

I’m a bit disappointed as I write this post. My coveted Brussels sprouts and cabbage have not blossomed as I’d hoped. As I’d worked so hard to ensure.

I don’t know what happened. I watered, fertilized and weeded. Consistently. Carefully. Lovingly. I even applied snail bait for those horrid beasts that attack from underground. Could also be nematodes, though I’m not sure how to rid my garden of those creatures. I’ve tilled, rotated, solarized…

But alas, it has been to no avail. This cabbage was planted months ago. Months!

It’s not like I’ve never had success before. I have. Just look at these beauties. Gorgeous! I’ve grown both red… More

Potatoes Are Popping!

My potatoes are nestled all snug in their beds…

potatoes nestled in hay

Bursting with joy as spring finally arrives! They’re gorgeous, aren’t they?

white and red potatoes

And quite content. After surviving a few frosts, the girls are popping. This is a mix of white and red potatoes and will be ready in another few weeks. I could harvest them now and walk away with “new potatoes” for my next meal, but I prefer to wait. There’s nothing better than fresh from the garden potatoes. They’re buttery and creamy and unlike anything you’ll get at the grocery store.

rosemary potatoes and parmesean

I might roast them with fresh rosemary or bake them with cabbage. (Recipes for both can be found in my recipe section!)

potatoes and cabbage steaming hot out of the oven

Either way, garden potatoes are a treat. And no issues with my 2016 crop–woohoo!

Fall Favorites From the Kitchen

Fall is my favorite time of year and translates to comfort food in my household. In addition to pumpkin spiced coffee and cupcakes, here are some of my favorites.

Cabbage and Potato Bake

potatoes and cabbage steaming hot out of the oven

Decadent Maple Granola

fall pumpkin granola

French Onion Soup

French Onion soup


Winter in the Garden

I realize that “winter” is a relative term when it comes to Florida, but we really are experiencing some cold weather this month. It’s been in the 30s…!!! Brrrrrrr. Thank goodness there’s no negative sign before that number. I think my face would fall off! Instead, it’s seasonably cold, just enough to give us a taste of winter.

A taste my cabbage plants are loving. They thrive in brisk, sunny temps.

cabbage is happy

Peppers normally don’t, yet strangely, I haven’t lost them. I didn’t bother to cover them, deciding on a minimalist approach this year yet look at them. They’re fine! Sort of. More

Ulcer-Healing Cabbage Juice

A stomach ulcer can be a huge problem for many and antacids might not be the best route. As a woman who prefers natural healing over pharmaceutical, I thought I’d delve into the issue a bit more and search for a food remedy to heal an ulcer. If you’re a follower of my blog, you know there are ties between what we eat and health issues we encounter so for me it’s a no-brainer do the research. I discovered some startling facts. While it’s easy to understand the effects of fast food on a body, how about tomatoes?

tomatoes ready for drying

They look good, taste delicious, but did you know they can aggravate the condition commonly referred to as of GERD? Onions, too. Who knew?

Not me. Chocolate isn’t recommended for those suffering from the condition either. What a bummer. HUGE bummer. Alcohol exacerbates the condition, too. Bye-bye wine!

Anyoo, I began my research because I’ve been having stomach ulcer issues of late. While I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, I think I’ve narrowed it down to the onset–a three-week period of time when I took a daily NSAID for back pain. Doctor told me to take an antacid with it, but I didn’t listen. Remember, I don’t like to take meds, so unless I NEED it, I don’t take it. Apparently I NEEDED it to combat the effects of the NSAID on my stomach lining and prevent an ulcer. Moral of the story: Ask more thorough questions. (My doctor’s gonna love that!)

Working from my new theory, I’ve diagnosed myself with a potential peptic ulcer. It meets the checklist of symptoms, began around the time I began the NSAID. Makes sense to me there could be a link. Besides, the alternative prescription was a six-week regimen of daily antacids for acid-reflux. Not appealing to me. Besides, there’s information out there to suggest that lowering my stomach acid temporarily could potentially worsen the condition in the long run. We’ll save that for another post.

cabbage juice ulcer healing ingredients

Me? I’m a food remedy gal who prefers natural methods. In light of my self-diagnosis, I’ve decided to try cabbage juice. Apparently this veggie is one of the wonder-workers in the garden, particularly beneficial when it comes to stomach ulcers. Seven to ten-day healing is the claim and if it works, yahoo! If not, no harm no foul, right? I’m still eating healthy.

ulcer healing juice

Cabbage juice is easy to make and quite tasty, especially when combined with apples and carrots. To make an 8-ounce glass, you’ll need one large carrot, one small apple (organic please, as this is one of the most toxic when it comes to commercial pesticides) and a quarter head of cabbage. I cored the apple, discarding the center and peeled the carrot. For the cabbage, I cut out the hard stem and used 1/4 the leaf body.

Ulcer healing Cabbage Carrot Apple Juice

Simply turn of your juicer, insert vegetables and voilá, you have cabbage juice! Some kind of beautiful, isn’t it? (First photo is before mixing.) Knowing that your holding a cup full of powerhouse antioxidants adds to the allure. Granted you have to drink this four times a day for the quick healing results, but it is good and I can use the extra vitamins. For those of you prone to gas, reduce your intake to 4-ounces.

So there you have it. I’ve begun my experiment with the natural healing benefits of Cabbage-Carrot-Apple Juice. I’ll keep you posted on my results. 🙂

There’s Always Next Year

Ever catch yourself saying this as you stand and gaze upon your garden?

I have.  Am, I should say.  My garden is going through some “growing pains” at the moment.  Most horribly, our frost “bite” right before Christmas.  Weather man modified his forecast AFTER I was able to prepare.  (Aaagh!)  Watching the news one evening, I found myself gaping at the television screen.  Hard frost?  Freeze, north of us?  Oh no…

Yep.  I have three forty-foot rows that look just like this one.  We salvaged what tomatoes we could, pulled the plants and still have these to clean up.  Tomorrow.  There’s always tomorrow.  Same fate befell my wax peppers, forcing us to clean, cut and can Christmas eve and Christmas day.  (Like I had time for that?!?!) More

Kids and Cabbage

Both cute as buttons, we brought them together in the kitchen to eat what they grew! How fun is that? When kindergarteners are involved, believe me—it’s WAY fun.  First we had to harvest the cabbage from our garden and these two girls really have it down to a team sport.  When the cabbage is large and round, simply twist and pull.  Twist and pull and snap to one side if necessary.

Ta da!  Cabbage for coleslaw!  And what a beauty! 


So on the menu this week?  Coleslaw:  a mix of cabbage, cucumbers, sweet onions—all of which we are growing in our garden. Goodbye, grocery store! These kids are growing their own meals now. 🙂

And making coleslaw is EASY. Simply chop up a head of cabbage, 1 sweet onion and 1 cucumber then toss them together with a little bit of red wine vinegar, mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste.  And “to taste” is key, because as you know, taste buds run as different as kids on a playground—every which direction, to be exact.

So “add a little, taste a little, add a little, taste a little….” It’s how old southern women make their coleslaw (and this recipe came from my mother—an old southern woman). But the results? Just ask the kids—oh wait, their mouths are full!

For those who didn’t “prefer” the coleslaw, no worries! We’ll compost it and make dirt. Now that’s what I call self-sustaining! And totally organic.  The plants love us for it.

So how about it? Follow our lead and plant cabbage, cucumbers and sweet onions in YOUR garden and you too, will have all the ingredients for the best coleslaw EVER.

Mandy’s Planting Olive Trees!

Wow—leave this gal alone for a couple of weeks and *POW* she and her edible landscape have gone crazy! 

Crazy as in olive, fig, peach AND pear trees.  Crazy as in blueberry hedges, lettuce walkways… Bok Choy, red cabbage, carrots and radish—oh, my!  Apparently radish are a gardener’s best friend.  Not only easy to grow, these little fellas are the workhorses of the garden!

They keep all sorts of bugs away.  For instance, they lure leafminers from spinach, deter cucumber beetles and rust flies, squash borers and more!  Just keep them away from the cabbage family and turnips. 

I had no idea about this amazing fact.  So for you first-timers, radish are for you!

And how about these carrots? 

Just lovely and lush against the porch beds filled with greens.  And this Kohlrabi looks splendid! 

Never even heard of Kohlrabi in the garden, save for a few passing mentions in my gardening magazines.  Check out the Bok Choy and cabbage!  All just steps away from the kitchen…

Not to mention the blueberries I told you about.  Look at these babies, in line and ready to go in!

And don’t think I forgot about those beautiful peach blossoms.  Can’t wait for the fruit to begin forming… 

Now how about you?  Planned your edible landscape, yet?

Now THAT’S Beautiful Landscape

 Would you look at this gorgeous landscape?  And it’s edible.  Talk about win-win—why Mandy has this concept hands down!

Isn’t this Bok choy beautiful?  She’s decided to harvest it ahead of the frost, though shouldn’t worry too much about the cold as this plant thrives in cooler weather.  But gazing upon these decadent leaves, can you blame her?  I mean, haul this batch into the kitchen, break out the oil and garlic and grab your saute pan—we’re having Bok choy for dinner!

YUM.  And so fun.  I mean, how cool is it to walk out your front door and clip a few leaves for the family meal?  So fun, I moved my lettuce bed clear up to the house because it’s much easier to stroll outside the patio door and grab lunch than it is to make the trek down to the garden.  Especially in this frigid weather we’re having.

I know—call me a lightweight, but one of the keys to successful gardening is planting a garden “you can live by.” 

Garden to live by?

Oh, yes.  A “garden to live by” is one you’ll incorporate into your daily life.  If planting food just outside my door as opposed to clear out in the pasture will encourage me to eat more salads then by God, I’m planting a landscape of lettuce around the house! Spinach, too. 🙂 We do want to be healthy, don’t we?  After all, we have New Year’s resolutions to keep!  And I for one plan to honor mine for as long as I can so my new motto is:  easy access = healthy living.

Next on the menu for Mandy will be red cabbage.  It too, loves the cooler temps so watch for its harvest within a month’s time. 

And don’t forget about her carrots, beets and radish (shown above between the raised planter and walkway)!  She’s already dug into the radish and chomping at the bit for her carrots and beets to mature so stay tuned (we’re hunting wabbits). 

Hmmm…  In the meanwhile, what can she do to pass the time?  Why, plant more edible landscape, of course!

Options for Edible Borders

Mandy’s garden is really beginning to take shape.  The front planter is brimming with rosemary, cabbage and bok choy among others while her rosemary transplants are surviving.  (Sometimes, that’s all we can ask!)  She’s been busy adding herbs to her walkway as well, tucking them in between the Vs of each paver–which stopped me in my merry photo shoot tracks. 

AGH–you put them where?  I stared at them in alarm, then I turned to face her.  Bright-eyed and proud, she stood awaiting my reply.  How was I going to break this gently?  I mean, disappointing enthusiastic gardeners was not on the top of my list of things to do.  But she had to be told. 

“Um, Mandy…these oregano are going to spread quite wide and far and–”

“Oh, I know!” she chirped (she’s very happy that way).  “But those radish will clear out pretty quickly so I’m planning on having the oregano fill in the space.”

I smiled.  Well I do like a knowledgable garden gal!  She’d already planned for near catastrophe–or more specifically–how to avoid it.  “Perfect,” I replied and resumed the business of snapping pictures.

Not only does she have oregano in place, but parsley, thyme, chives, basil–the works!  And while some of these will grow to be a tad crowded, it’s nothing she can’t manage with a little clipping.  Besides, this woman plans to USE these herbs, not just gaze at them in admiration!

But we did notice a wee bit of a bug problem with the cabbage.  Seems someone is chewing holes in her leaves.  Solution?

Follow your nose!  And the stinkier the better when it comes to organic pest control.  By that I mean garlic, coffee, compost, manure, mint…really depends on what beast you’re after for which method you choose.  Check the Garden Elements section of my website for full details, but with some experimenting on Mandy’s part, I’m sure she’ll find just the right concoction to rid her garden of pests.  Let’s hope for some windy days ahead, too.  Will help minimize the front porch stench.

No worries!  We’d rather be temporarily inconvenienced by the all-natural aromas than permanently poisoned by toxic alternatives. 🙂