Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Stuff

My garden is finally taking shape! Before I left town to go visit our families I planted strawberries (Ozark Beauties and Sequoias), tomatoes (Husky Cherry Red and Celebrity), peppers (Sweet Yellow Bell, Jalapeno, Hot Yellow Banana), Peas (Sugar Ann Snap) and more lettuce (Buttercrunch and Romaine). So far they are doing great. I've got 2 flowers on my Cherry Red tomato and the rest of the newbies are looking good.

My already existing plants are doing FANTASTIC! I have a pictures of the garden when I left--right after I planted--but have yet to take a picture of what they look like now. My potatoes went totally crazy after I left and are now probably 3 time as big as they were! I'll post those tomorrow.

Tonight we ate lettuce from out back! It was the first time we've picked any. I was so excited to just run out back, tear off a few leaves and run back in to wash them! We ate it on our tacos so it wasn't just a lettuce salad...but I'm pretty sure the lettuce MADE the tacos :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rosemary Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Cream butter and sugars. Add vegetable oil and mix until combined. Mix in egg and vanilla. Stir together baking soda, cream of tarter and flour. Add to wet mixture. This dough is really sticky. Add flour by Tbsp until it's a firmer consistency. (I think I added about 4 extra Tbsp of flour when I made it the last time). Gently stir in rosemary by hand. Roll into small balls and place on parchment covered cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 6 minutes, turn pan and bake 2-4 more minutes until firm and the edges are slightly browned.

This makes A LOT of cookies! I got 7 dozen out of one batch! I only baked a dozen and froze the rest. I rolled and flattened all of them and froze them on cookie sheets one layer at a time. Once they were pretty firm and almost frozen through (which doesn't take long since they're pretty tiny) I removed them from the sheet and just tossed them in baggies. This way, I can just grab a couple of cookies and bake them up fresh whenever I need them!

I've tried rosemary and mint but think lavender would be good too...that's what I'm going to try next. I also think maybe some with orange zest dipped in dark chocolate might be excellent!!

Also, the first time I made them I used dried rosemary which is stronger than the fresh stuff. If you're using fresh herbs I'd probably use 2x the amount. The rosemary is strong so you might not have to use quite 2 Tbsp but if you do the mint I'd use at least that much!

Enjoy...and let me know if you try any other crazy variations :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

C is for Cookie

As I'm writing this blog entry I'm eating a freshly baked rosemary cookie. OK...I'm eating 2 freshly baked rosemary cookies...and one mint cookie!! Tonight I snipped off a sprig of rosemary and a few leaves of mint and chopped them up and made cookies. They are the most wonderful little butter cookies! The rosemary are my favorite by far. I usually don't think of rosemary as a sweet herb but when added with the sugar in these cookies they are SO great! When you bite into them you get this big whiff of perfume-y rosemary and it's just fantastic! The mint ones turned out pretty good too but I definitely need to add more mint next time. Rosemary is so powerful that just 1/2 a tablespoon goes a long way. The mint just needed a little more oomph. I won't be making these again for awhile though; I have 6 dozen (that's right SIX DOZEN) in the freezer...and I only made 1 batch!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I have a garden...with real stuff growing in it! Today I planted my herbs. They are so beautiful! They make my boxes look like a real garden instead of just boxes with dirt in them! We took a Mother's Day trip to Walmart and bought some parsley (which I had forgotten to buy the other day) and some little terra cotta pots for the mint and lavender. I got the sweet basil, rosemary, parsley and cilantro planted in the first row of one of my boxes. I decided to do the lavender and mint in pots. Mint because everywhere I read says that it can totally take over a garden and lavender because I'm not really sure what to do with it. Does anyone have any suggestions for what to use lavender for?

We also bought marigolds. A lot of marigolds. Too many marigolds. As I said in the last post, I just recently learned that marigolds are great for pest protection. So, as we were looking at the marigolds I think our brains said "PEST PROTECTION...GET AS MANY AS YOU CAN". Remember, we only have 2 4x4 garden boxes. Each carton of marigolds has 8 flowers in it. We bought 6 CARTONS!!!! As of right now, I've only used 2...I've got a lot of marigolds left!! I also planted some nasturtium seeds in between the marigolds. I'm hoping that they'll grow up and out of the box. Hopefully both these flowers will help with the hungry bunnies!!

The only thing we didn't get planted were the strawberries. I had planned to buy some soil at the store today but we bought the wrong kind--again. I wanted organic/no plant food added. Even after Dave and I both looked the bags over a few times we still missed the part that said (in large letters) "plant food will feed plants for at least 6 weeks". So, it's back to the store tomorrow to return it and buy something better.

I'm so proud of my little garden! My potatoes are doing great and my onions are wonderfully out of control and now I have my own little herb garden. I can't wait to snip some rosemary for rosemary cookies--I'm also thinking lavender cookies would be tasty too!

Friday, May 7, 2010


It's been cold. It's been windy. It's been rainy. Yuck!

It's still cold but we bought plants anyway! We had planned to buy strawberries (I'm a little late getting those in!!) but went a little crazy and bought tons of herbs: cilantro, sweet basil, mint, rosemary, lavender! We also got 2 different kinds of strawberries, the names of which I can't remember and they're in the garage and I'm not...so I'll elaborate on those later!

I also bought something called Liquid Fence. Since I've had trouble with the bunnies loving my buttercrunch lettuce a little too much I asked for some help at the nursery today. I wasn't really keen on buying anything that had to be sprayed directly on my plants since my family will eventually be eating them. The guy working there assured me that there was no harm in it and that it was "all natural". It says you can spray it directly on edible plants just not before harvesting. Hmmmm. So it's OK a few days before you harvest but not right before you harvest? OR it's not OK before harvesting but OK after? Hmmmmm. I bought it anyway (for $12.99!!!!!!) but am certainly not going to spray it directly on my plants. I think I'll spray some around the perimeter of both the beds; since they're raised I doubt that will pose too much of a problem.

I just read about another garden blogger who was planting marigolds for pest protection and I asked her what types of pests they ward off. She was very helpful and actually wrote a whole blog entry about it! Apparently marigolds stop TONS of things...including RABBITS!!! Needless to say, we are buying lots of marigolds. Soon! Another site she recommended goes into great detail about companion planting--strategically planting things next to each other so each influences the other positively. I'm definitely going to have to look over this more carefully when I plan things out for next year.

I'm so happy to have actual things ready to plant! It's supposed to be cold tonight and tomorrow...but then--THEN--I can plant!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


"All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar."

-Helen Hayes

(thanks to skippy's vegetable garden for this quote!!)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garden Blogs

I haven't done a thing in the garden today. 3 squares of lettuce have been planted and the potatoes and onions are doing their thing. I'm on standby until we buy more things to plant this week. So, while I wait, I've been doing some garden blog stalking :) I can't believe how many people are writing blogs about their gardens! Some are new gardeners like me and some have been writing for years; some are simply chronicaling their garden adventures and some are offering wonderful, free gardening advice. I've found tons from here in the US but also some from the UK and Austrailia. How cool is it to talk to someone who has a garden a zillion miles away?! All of them have fantastic pictures of their gardens. I've created a list of blogs I like; check out their inspiring stories and photos!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wascally Wabbits

Someone has been eating my lettuce. I planted my transplants a couple of days ago (see below) and they were looking pretty good. Until today. I looked out the kitchen window this morning to check on everything and there were no little green leaves peeking out at me! I ran out to check it out and at first wondered if the horrible winds we've been having these last few days had just pushed the leaves really far down. But, after I got out there I could see that something had just chomped it's way through the leaves! I guess I'll just let them be and see if they grow back. I planted more lettuce seeds today--another leaf lettuce type called summer crunch. Hopefully it will do as well as my other seeds have done.

I finally got my berry bush in a pot. It looks great! I bought a small trellis for it to climb on but am thinking I may need a taller one. I'll just have to see how things go once it starts growing.

I tried to get strawberries today but didn't because they only had roots for June bearing plants. I'd rather get the ones that bloom and produce fruit all summer so I passed them up. I think we'll head to Home Depot this week; they seemed to have a better selection of plants anyway.

So, back to my wascally wabbit problem! What do I do? In Mel's Square Foot Gardening book and on his site he recommends building another large, tall box out of chicken wire type stuff to set on top of the SqFtGarden. This seems like a lot of work :( And I don't really want to have to take the whole huge (and won't it have to be huge to fit over my vertical plants like squash and tomatoes?) off every time I want to harvest or water or plant. I looked for a type of netting today but couldn't find anything. I don't really want to sprinkle any sort of pest/animal repellent on the garden because I don't really want to eat that! Even if I only sprinkle it around the boxes I'm afraid wind and rain and weather in general will move it into my veggies...yuck! I'm going to do more research on some netting type stuff but if anyone has any suggestions I'm open to them!!

To end on a happy note, check out this sunset tonight! Just beautiful!