Sweet onions are delicious when purchased from the store, but they are butter creamy delightful when pulled from your garden. You can eat them raw without the “bitter” taste, or sauté with to a sugary caramel glaze. How about baked onions? This recipe is easy and really brings out the flavor.
Hmmm good! Best of all? They’re easy to grow. EASY. But they take time. Six months’ worth. But take it from me, these gems are worth the wait.
However, now is the time to plant. Contact your local seed store and see if they have the seed “sets” in stock. If not, maybe they can order some for you. The kids and I planted this row over the weekend. One hundred and twenty-four sweet baby onions! YUM! More
My kids are, most definitely. Me, too. With a garden 40 ft. X 100 ft. the weeds can get a bit crazy. I’ve instituted the use of heavy black paper to cover by beds between plantings, which cuts down on the time spent pulling those rascally weeds, but what about the beds where I’m actively growing?
They still need weeding. The solution? Corn gluten. It’s all-natural and the perfect organic solution to weed prevention–prevention being the key word.
Corn gluten meal contains naturally occurring substances which inhibit the growth of the seed’s tiny feeder roots. This causes the weed seedlings to die before their roots ever have a chance to become established. Also, many products sold on the market contain nitrogen, which makes them a good fertilizer, too. Best of all, corn gluten is safe for children and pets.
The only downside is the solution doesn’t come cheap. A 25 lb. bag will run you around $35 and you must apply liberally to gain the full effect, as shown above. You could even stand to apply heavier than I’ve done, but you get the idea. Liberally means a lot. However, this stuff works.
So if you have established plants in your garden, weed the area well and then sprinkle corn gluten around them as a weed preventer. If they’re only seedlings, I’d wait a bit, continuing to pull weeds by hand until the plants are of decent size. I once had a batch of okra and although I didn’t apply the corn gluten very close to the babies, it still worked to prevent their growth.
Look forward to hearing about YOUR experience!
When growing okra, daily vigilance is a must. Not because of bugs or disease–okra are pretty tolerant on these counts–but because of harvest. Okra will range in size from an inch to six inches–a big difference.
And in this case, size DOES matter. Those six-inch okra might look grand and delightful, but you don’t want to eat them. They’re tough and not nearly as tasty as their younger counterparts. Go figure.
Anyhoo, speaking of their younger counterparts, tender young okra are most definitely what you’re after when it comes to harvesting okra. The small ones are tasty straight off the vine, tossed in a salad, soaked in a tomato stew… There are a host of ways you can use okra, particularly if you enjoy Cajun-style cooking. YUM. My son prefers them Southern-style which means rolled in cornmeal and deep-fried. More
As our school year winds to a close, the kids are dutifully preparing for next year, eager for another season in the garden. We’ve planted our seeds, watched them grow and have reaped our bounty. Now comes the question: What to do with the seeds?
Why sell them, of course! We’re forward-thinking self-sustaining gardeners with a mind for planning, and we know that if we sell some of our seeds, we’ll have enough money to purchase more nifty magnifying glasses, spray bottles, worm poop and the like! (We can grow and harvest seeds, but we’re NOT harvesting worm poop.)
And where are we going to store our seeds? How about these fabulous seed packets?
Aren’t they divine? The kids made them and it was so easy. First, we sat in our circle of creativity. More
These delightful little nuts are a joy to grow. Not only do they mature through the summer season, they take their time doing so–while YOU go on vacation! Yep, plant these puppies in April/May and check back in July/August to reap your bounty!
Okay, just kidding. You don’t want to leave anything alone that long–except maybe your bathroom scale–because who knows what could pay your garden a visit in the meantime? Not that peanuts are prone to insects or disease, they aren’t really. Pretty tolerant from what I can see and living with me–plants need to be tough. I vacation! I write! I have other things to do! (Don’t we all?)
That said, optimum practice is to “visit” your garden on a daily basis. Not “work” or “weed” or “water” but simply visit. Say it with me: “Ah…it’s so lovely out here among the beds of lush green fruits and veggies.” More
Take it from me—trial and error gal—don’t learn this the hard way. Your tomatoes want big stakes, firm stakes. Sturdy, semi-permanent. They want to know there’s support for them when the wind blows, that they won’t lose their ruby-red jewels dripping from their vines.
Trust me when I say, “think strong” (as in men, too.;)). Next time you’re shopping for tomato cages and you see this packaged structure, walk on. Don’t stop. Don’t waste your time.
Admittedly, I thought this three-walled triangle style cage would be the secret to success. It was–for a while. But when the tomato plant grew and the tomatoes hung heavy, it fell over like a twig.
And this round, loopy one? More
Summer is fast approaching (in Florida, anyway) which means it’s time to get your slips in the ground and growing. They require a long growing season and they require warmth. But they don’t grow from seed potatoes, rather the “slips” created from your sweet potatoes. How does one create a sweet potato slip?
The technique is easy. You simply cut your sweet potato in half, perch it upon the mouth of a jar or glass (suspended by toothpicks works well) submerging the bottom half in water. Voila!
Place in a sunny location and keep the water level high enough so that the bottom half remains wet and then watch your potato sprout.
After a while—times vary, but you can expect to wait days, even weeks in some cases—shoots (leaves) will form on the top of your potato. You can gently remove these and place them in water, again half-submersed, and a tangle of roots will develop. More
WOW. Justin has carrots! Checking a few, he realized they were ready and his wife Eyry said, “Harvest them ALL!”
Juicer, anyone? It is the new rage…. But are they gorgeous, or what? Have you not grown carrots?
Easy, simple, and oh-so-delicious! Now at our house, especially this time of year, we tend to shred these babies into the fluffiest carrot cake you’d ever want to sink your teeth into– and while not as healthy as carrot juice, it’s DIVINE. Trust me. Check recipe here.
But if you’re not harvesting carrots like Justin, fret not–it’s not too late. Haven’t you heard? Spring is around the corner and BloominThyme is gearing up for the festivities! So stay tuned….we’re diggin’ in for the adventure!
The kids have been diligently tending their garden, learning about the cold, learning the ways of crop rotation. Rotating crops helps to improve soil structure, increases a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients and aids in pest control. As we prepare to harvest and begin the new season, organic gardeners need to know what they grow, know what grows where, when and why. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?
But we make crop rotation easy at BloominThyme and sing our way through the garden ~ beans – leaves – roots and fruits! Beans – leaves – roots and fruits! More
So I have this cricket problem. They’re eating me out of plant and garden. Voracious little critters, they seem to be able to destroy a pumpkin vine in a matter of days, a helpless little Brussels in a matter of hours. I tried bird netting. But the squares are a bit too big.
Crickets can jump clear through them. Not always on the first try, mind you, but give them enough chances and out they go! Rascals.
So I had to get creative. For my netting, I’ve doubled up. This way, the pattern won’t match up identically and some of the squares will be rendered to triangles and the crickets won’t be able to escape. More importantly, they won’t be able to get in. The hoops are 9 gauge wire cut into pieces that I bend to suit my needs. More