Sunday, March 14, 2010

RECOUP & GARDEN COMMENTS

Good morning everyone! How are you feeling today? Here… well the sun is bright, the birds are singing, the legs are cramped, and it’s a beautiful day to be alive! Mom and I had a FUN but exhausting last 2 days fun of garden adventures, so our bodies are screaming in anger at us. LOL so today is a day to recoup… relax, let others work for us, etc. Yea right! You KNOW that ain’t gonna happen LOL! Seeing as the last couple of days we have been plant crazy, its gonna be another GARDEN COMMENT day! All you folks have the opportunity to enter and win that seed starting “kit” I’ve put together. Check out the post on Feb. 26th for complete rules on entering!

OK let’s start the day by answering a reader comment. Susan- my mom’s response to you is totally correct. My landlord is a nerd when it comes to planting in the ground. So all of my gardening, flowers, etc are in containers; be them made from wood, pots bought from the store, or even recycled crafts like cat litter buckets, etc. All have good drainage and good organic soil for the plants to thrive. You can do some research on container gardening, but from experience as a raised bed gardener and an ex-tenant to a stupid apartment complex… almost anything can grow in a container. Its about how much attention YOU give it… how well you nurture it. You just have to remember that things like Peas and berries are climbing vines/plants, so you will need a small trellis in your container to support them. Same thing with cucumbers, etc. UNLESS you find the “bush” varieties. And melons are vines and take a lot of space too, so unless you have a LARGE patio at your apartment (I was luck enough to have a HUGE patio), I would rule out melons. I would recommend strawberries (unless you are allergic of course) because you can even put those in hanging pots and save some space! Another thing for EVERYONE to remember is that if you are container gardening on concrete… your plants, although even in pots, will burn! Get yourself some wooden palates (often free) from your local home store and if you have to cut them to size to put under your containers. Keep them off the hot concrete! I learned that the hard way too!



As for our adventure yesterday, well we had fun. Mom laughed at me for going around and grabbing every promotional I could find LOL! The exhibit you see here had baby fruit trees which mom and I both swooned over, but the price was OH NO for us LOL! We had free cups, waters, pens, you name it! There was also this little Italian lady who had food for sale and we got this roasted, marinated garlic cloves. I was like OMG HEAVEN!!!!! I left with a jar LOL… and then I went around the corner and we found a vendor who had some amazing chicken rubbed with the spices she was selling. Left there with a bottle too! OMG and she had spice mixes for like chip dips… well one was for Jalapeno dip… my personal favorite. So I tried it and fell in love! Came home with a 2pk of that too LOL! Gonna send the DH to the store for sour cream so I can eat one today while I am chillaxing!



Here I am sitting at the table taking a break with my mom. I was being super goofy. Did ya know I even saved the plates our food came on and the “fancy labeled” bottle water bottles? LOL I think its that super packrat thing kicking in again!



We left the convention after grabbing some Sham-Wows (which I plan on trying in DS14’s room- if they work I will SO let you know!). We stopped to get some most delicious late lunch and then we also stopped at Lowe’s to get a few things mom needed for her garden. Then it was back to her house after a LONG day! Once we came back and we sat down and took a long break (we are both in tearful pain by this time), she wanted to get the last of her plants in her containers, so I helped her out there. Once her plants get established, she’ll be off and running on the vertical growing! I’m so proud for and of her!

Ok, now here is an article I want to share with all the gardeners… especially those who drink COFFEE! Check this out!

Give your garden a jolt with coffee grounds
By ANN LOVEJOY
SPECIAL TO THE POST-INTELLIGENCER

It is commonly acknowledged that Seattle ranks among the world's best places to drink coffee. Some years ago, the local Bainbridge Island newspaper even ran a series of weekly columns rating the local latte stands, which numbered in the dozens.

Pleasant as it may be to savor your morning latte in the privacy of your garden, there are other, perhaps more productive uses for coffee to be explored. With so many coffee-roasting companies around, it's not hard to get hold of coffee leftovers in many forms. This is good, because at every stage of production, coffee and its breakdown materials have their own valuable uses.

My favorite way to use coffee beans is for mulching my garden pathways. Over-roasted beans make a sumptuous path, elegantly black and glossy and smelling heavenly when you walk on them. All plants look great against this color, especially silvery artemisias or lamb's ears.

Coffee beans that have spoiled also are occasionally available. However, unroasted beans that have fermented or rotted are best used in the compost heap, not on pathways.

When coffee is roasted, the papery chaff is removed and discarded. The lightweight, sand-colored chaff can be mixed into your compost heap or blended into compost for mulching beds and borders. Don't use too much chaff at once, however, or this fluffy stuff can sheet into a sticky mess, repelling water and keeping air out of the soil.

Used coffee grounds have many uses, from mulching to compost building. This is one ubiquitous material it's hard to have too much of. If you decide to mulch your beds and borders with ground coffee, here's a hot fashion tip: Remove the filters first. Those raggedy white papers look too tacky for words when left fluttering around your flowers. White or brown, you can shred the filter papers and mix them into the compost, where they'll break down nicely in short order.

Ground coffee is high in nitrogen, making it a very good mulch for fast-growing vegetables. Many organic growers swear by coffee grounds as mulches for tomato plants, both for the nitrogen boost this heavy feeder appreciates and for coffee's ability to help suppress late blight.

Years ago, I noticed that my coffee-bean pathways produced terrifically robust seedlings of several fusspot plants. My observation was confirmed by several soil scientists, who explained that coffee contains a number of substances that promote healthy plant growth.

Perhaps we should be sharing the end of the pot with our houseplants and watering any prima donna garden plants with leftover coffee as well. On second thought, the border belles probably would prefer for us to brew them a special batch of their own, rather than accepting secondhand or second-best coffee.

Starbucks makes spent coffee grounds available year-round to its North America customers on a first-come, first-served basis. Grounds are packaged in reused coffee bags and come with simple directions for using the grounds in the garden or compost pile.

Coffee-ground mulch also can help reduce the ravages of slugs and snails. At a recent class, one participant announced that she always mulched her hostas with coffee grounds each day and had never before understood why they were never bothered by slugs.

Coffee grounds can be used to mulch plants that slugs love to feast on, such as hostas, ligularias and lilies. Try them for daffodils and other spring bulbs as well. You also can rid areas of slugs and snails by mixing up some instant coffee and making it two to three times stronger than you ordinarily would. Spray this concentrated coffee where slugs roam free and you'll notice a definite dropoff in damage.

Recent studies have demonstrated that when slugs or snails travel over soil or pathways where a strong caffeine solution has been sprayed, their slimy foot takes up the caffeine with fatal results. Theoretically, you also could kill slugs with tea, but you would need a far more concentrated batch than you would even think about drinking.

Pound for pound, tea has more caffeine than coffee, but a pound of tea makes many more cups than a pound of coffee. To get a strong enough concentration of caffeine to deter pests, you'd need to use more tea than would be practical. However, the stewed ends of the teapot are well worth sloshing about the garden. Like coffee, tea has many compounds that help plants grow well. Houseplants are famously fond of being mulched with used tea leaves, and all kinds of tea leftovers can be mixed into the compost with impunity, including paper wrappers and tea bags with strings. The only materials to avoid are metal (like tea bag staples) or plastic coated wrappers that won't break down.


Isn’t that interesting? I bet a bunch of you have been throwing away those used coffee grinds huh? I know my DAD has!! Time to save them! Use them in your soil in your gardens for possible awesome results! And finally, I know some of you are still experiencing some winter months, so let me share some information about growing herbs and veggies indoors!

Herbs which will grow indoors include: Basil, Oregano, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Angelica, Chamomile, Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Geranium, and Chives. If you are going to grow indoor vegetables in winter, you will need to start by raising plants from seed in late summer or early fall. It's best to buy your seeds in the spring if you wish to do this, because it is not always easy to find seeds for sale at local garden centers in the fall.

Use a light seedling mix for starting your seeds. Its loose consistency will make it easy for the plants new roots to start to develop. After the seedlings have two true leaves, you can begin to carefully transplant them into individual four-inch containers. You can use any good potting soil for this purpose, but do not use regular garden soil. It is usually very heavy, has poor drainage and can also harbor disease and insects that can kill your new starts.

Because you will be watering these plants every day or every other day to keep the roots properly moist, you are also washing nutrients out of the soil. So feed your plants with a complete organic fertilizer every couple of weeks to give them the food they need to grow and flourish.

You will be playing with temperatures when raising indoor vegetables to suit the particular plants you wish to grow. Some vegetables, such as lettuce, endive, and radishes like cooler indoor temperatures. Daytime temperatures in the 60s work well, while night temperatures should go no lower than the 40s. A basement situation might work well to provide these temperatures, or an unheated porch if it doesn't get too cold.

Now I’m really not going to do a craft today… because I couldn’t decide if I wanted more Easter crafts or maybe some St. Patty’s Day crafts, being it is coming up on Wednesday. So I’m going to go right into food! I have another stew recipe for you…




Irish Lamb Stew

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds thickly sliced bacon, diced
6 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
4 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons white sugar
4 cups diced carrots
2 large onions, cut into bite-size pieces
3 potatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup white wine

Directions

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat.

Place meat into stock pot (leave 1/4 cup of fat in frying pan). Add the garlic and yellow onion and saute till onion begins to become golden. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the garlic-onion mixture to the stock pot with bacon pieces, beef stock, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add carrots, onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and wine to pot. Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Alright folks, that’s all she wrote for me today. I’m gonna wait for my meds to kick in and then maybe grab a cup of OJ and go play in some dirt enjoying the morning air and the songs of all the birds in my yard! Ya’ll have a lovely day and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for another great day’s blog! HUGS!

3 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM" DonahueMarch 14, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Gardening. Gotta love it! Now that the plants are in the ground the hard part is over. Cant wait for those little veggies to start growing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OH, i was just thinking about coffee ground and my indoor potted plants! how ironic!!! i make a pot a day and thought that throwing away the grounds was wasteful so....WOW!!! GREAT article! I'm off to wally world and meijer today to find some sort of ivy today, mine died a while ago and i'm ready to replace that PLUS its repotting into larger pot day and house cleaning day....Thanks for the advise!!!

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  3. Vincent (from Vermont)March 14, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    OH I was just thinking about coffee this morning. Thanks for a great tip! So do you have any veggies yet and are you planning on any other veggies we don't know about?

    ReplyDelete