Category Archive: Gardening

  1. How to Grow Sprouts – Your Winter Garden!

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    Sprouting is a great way to have healthy, home-grown, nutrient packed food storage all year round!

    Just six of the health benefits of eating sprouts are:

    1. Rich in essential nutrients – Some of the vitamins found in sprouts are Vitamins A, C, B1, B6, and K. Sprouts are rich in minerals like Iron, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium. They also have dietary fiber, Folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids. (Sounds kind of like I’m reading the back of a hefty vitamin supplement pill bottle doesn’t it?) AND fun fact: Most beans increase in Vitamin A by eight times after being sprouted!

    2. Excellent source of enzymes – Enzymes keep our body healthy. In the cooking process you can loose many essential enzymes in foods. Eating raw fruits and vegetables – like sprouts – are a great way to get more power packed enzymes.

    3. High in protein – Sprouts are a great way to get your protiens without having to deal with the fat, cholesterol, and calories that usually come with animal protiens.

    4. Easy to digest – Because of their high amounts of enzymes, sprouts are very easily digested.

    5. Good for weight loss – High in fiber and low in calories!

    6. Can go on or in almost any other food, or are good to just pop in your mouth and eat!

    To show you how fun and simple sprouting can be I started from the very beginning and logged my progress along the way! Check it out!

    You can get this Sprout Master Sprouter from Amazon for $16.99.

    This what it looked like when I opened it. Complete with instructions. As you can see the tray has holes in the bottom and detachable lids on both the top and bottom. The bottom tray allows the sprouts to drain and receive oxygen. There is a divider in the middle so you can sprout both types of seeds/beans at the same time, or take out the divider to sprout more of one kind.

    I chose to try both bottles of sprouting mixes.

    Soak 2 tsp of the Alfa-Plus-Mix and 1/4 cup of the Pro-Vita-Mix in water for 10-12 hours.

    (Day 1) Pour seeds evenly into trays.

    (Day 2) Rinse seeds thoroughly 2 times a day with warm water. Drain excess water. I kept mine on the kitchen counter. (They grow best between 75-80 degrees)

    (Day 3)

    (Day 4) Can you believe how quickly those grew?! I was amazed!

    The Pro-Vita-Mix was ready to eat by day 3, and the Alfa-Plus-Mix was ready by day 4! Once they are sprouted keep them in the refrigerator to slow down the growing process.

    The Pro Vita Mix tasted like fresh snap peas! And the Alfa-Plus-Mix tasted like alfalfa sprouts!

    My winter garden in the kitchen was a hit! I can’t wait to do it again. What a great way to have healthy, home-grown, nutrient packed food storage all year round!


  2. Tomatoes: You’ve Outdone Yourself, Again!

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    Tomatoes are a staple in most gardens. Usually you have so many that you can’t use them fast enough!

    Sliced tomatoes and fresh basil
    Of course we want to can as many tomatoes as we can in salsa, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and the like for our food storage, but we love to eat them fresh too!

    Tomatoes have always been used as a side on sandwiches, salads, in soups etc. It’s time for tomatoes to step up and take their rightful place as the main dish!

    Are you ready for the most scrumptious open faced tomato sandwich you have ever tasted? I made up a simple recipe using fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden! Here you have it! Enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    Fresh tomatoes
    Fresh basil
    Cream cheese
    Mozzarella cheese
    Garlic Parmesan french bread
    Olive Oil

    Directions:

      1. Preheat oven to 425.
      2. Slice french bread about 1 inch thick and spread them out onto a cookie sheet.
      3. Spread with as much or as little cream cheese as you would like.

    Garlic Parmesan french bread with cream cheese spread on top on a cookie sheet

      1. Gently wash then thinly slice fresh tomatoes and place 2 or more on top of cream cheese.

    Sliced tomatoes on top of french bread and cream cheese

      1. Gently wash fresh basil then lay out a few leaves on top of the tomatoes.

    Fresh basil on top of french bread with cream cheese and tomatoes

      1. Pile a handful of mozzarella cheese on top of basil.

    Mozzarella cheese on top of cream cheese tomato basil open-faced sandwich

      1. Moving your hand back and forth lightly pour olive oil on top of sandwich.

    Lightly pour olive oil on top of cream cheese tomato basil open-faced sandwich

      1. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted!

    Baked open-faced tomato basil sandwiches with cream cheese and mozzarella cheese

    I used other fresh foods that I either got out of the garden or that I had prepared previously for my side dishes with this meal. They were absolutely delicious and hit around the table! (That’s saying a lot because I have a 3 year old that won’t eat anything called “dinner.” Even he ate this!)

    I cut up fresh cucumber out of the garden and place them on the plate next to some carrots that I already had in the fridge and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. Then I made a fruit cocktail with green grapes, leftover blueberries from making fresh peach and blueberry cobbler the other night, and combined them with some strawberries that I had sliced and frozen for food storage!

    Open-faced tomato basil sandwich with fresh carrot, cucumber, and fruit coctail including grapes, strawberries and blueberries

    This dinner was so delicious! We all loved it and I hope you do to! Be sure to tell me what you think! If you make modifications I would love to know what they are!

    What are other things you do with fresh tomatoes from your garden?

    If you found this to be helpful and fun please share our blog with your friends and family. Also, be sure to “like” us on facebook!

  3. Garden design template to plan your garden!

    Comments Off on Garden design template to plan your garden!

    Garden design sounds fancy – but it’s easy and fun and all starts with a plan.

    To help you get started we have put together this garden design template for you to print and plan your own garden!

    The way you use the template is simple. Make a list of all the plants you have purchased along with the number that you have.

    Plant list for garden plans

    Then use the garden layout grid to start placing where you would like your plants to go. There are three different garden sizes for you to use. One with a rectangular shape which is the most popular size for gardens and two squares if you use garden boxes. Fill in whichever template works best for you.

    Garden design picture for garden planning

    There are a couple things to keep in mind when planning your garden design:

    Sunlight

    Some plants need more or less sunlight than others. When designing your garden be sure to account for the shade of trees or other objects that will affect the growth of your plants.

    Spacing

    Various plants require more spacing than others. Here are some common garden plants and the recommended spacing between plants in each row*:

    Asparagus – 18 in
    Beans bush, snap 3 to 6 in
    Pole, snap 4 to 12 in
    Bush, lima 3 to 6 in
    Pole, lima 4 to 12 in
    Beets 2 in
    Chinese cabbage 12 in
    Cabbage 18 in
    Carrots 2 to 3 in
    Collards 8 to 18 in
    Corn 12 in
    Cucumbers 12 to 18 in
    Lettuce, leaf 4 to 8 in
    Lettuce, head 12 in
    Mustard 2 in
    Okra 12 to 18 in
    Onions 3 to 4 in
    Parsley 4 to 6 in
    Peas, English 2 in
    Peas, field 4 to 6 in
    Pepper 2 ft
    Potato, Irish 12 in
    Potato, sweet 12 in
    Radish 2 in
    Spinach 4 in
    Squash 36 in
    Tendergreens 2 in
    Tomatoes 18 to 36 in
    Watermelon 4 ft to 6 ft

    Here is an example of what the garden design template looks like:

    Try out your own garden design

    How do you plan your garden? Is this template helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

    Opening photo by: thelocalpeople
    *Spacing recommendation source: How to plant a garden