Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Restaurant SALSA! Money Tree Day 4: Are we there yet? Told 'ya so. I'm made of rubber and you're made of glue...

Those are the lettuce seeds I planted day before yesterday.  They have become lettuce plants.  I'm not sure when they came up because I spent a day pretending to have a life and I wasn't here.

Did some couch surfing with the kids - about time they learned the art - at my friend Sarah's.  Remember Sarah?  My room-mate from back in the day?  She didn't plant the tomato tsunami at her house, so I took her some of mine!

When she lived in Mexico, she learned to make salsa.  Yeah, she showed me how.  Well yeah, of coarse I'll give you the cheat sheet.  What are friends for?  

On the way home we went to the Parthenon in Nashville.  After all, not everyone is entertained by bugs and vegetables.  Sounds kinda dull when I put it that way.

Since I slacked off on my prosperity plan for a day...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Growing Money: Day 3


If planting seems very simple, it is.  But somebody messed it up or I wouldn't be explaining it.

Into the two gallon containers I put an inch of grass clippings.  These will get smooshed by the heavy gunk that sits on them, but it slows down any erosion from the container.  You can skip this step if you want to.  It doesn't make much difference.

On top of the grass are 2-4 inches of top soil.

Some people have selective hearing.  Some have selective memory.  Some people are self-centered psychopaths who refuse to admit mistakes and expect to get paid top-dollar for the failures they create.  To cut costs, some commercial growers use composted landscaping refuse as growing medium.  Don't do it.  I tried it.  The plants limped along, their suffering obvious to everyone except the person who talked me into that project.  

As the losses mounted, I decided to try another approach...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Growing Money! Day 2

Looking forward to lettuce!
Too many garden posts look like swimsuit catalogs. Who are they trying to fool? We know they cut and pasted stuff together to get those pictures!

The other possibility is they have added plastic flowers to the garden before they took the picture.  Or flowers in water picks.  Magazines really do this!  Never feel inadequate because of the media.

If the functional look of the project so far bothers you, spring for a few plastic Dollar Tree flowers to pretty it up.  I'm going industrial a little bit longer.  Enough has been spent already.  I promise, we will get paid back twice the cost.  Paid in vegetables.

Benjamin Franklin said "Time is Money" and he was right.  The money we are spending could be earning interest in the bank, or saving interest if we paid a credit card.  We want results ASAP so I bought...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grow A Money Tree!

We will get there.
Let's grow money! 

Gardening should have payback.

Start by skipping the middleman: paper money.  Go straight to the things we want to buy with the paper money: a nice house, gourmet food, financial security.

We'll keep it simple: one easy project with payback everyday, peppered with information and funnies.  It will be Pretty -improve the home appearance, Useful -provide a usable product, or Thrifty -improve the financial situation.  Maybe all three!  Keep reading and grow prosperous! ...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gettin' There

More of my son's photography.
I haven't forgotten that I have a blog and I am working on new material.

I just haven't eaten enough doughnuts to really get the juices flowing lately.  But I'm back to the trough now so expect more posts.

For instance, there is a myth that needs debunking: that gardening is dirty and messy and hard.  Gardening can be done by girlie girls with manicures.  The rustic approach is not necessary to reap the rewards of vegetable gardening.

That said, too many gardening pictures look like swimsuit catalogues.  Perfect pictures that try to make make gardening look foolproof.  Some people want to sell you bridges.  In the spirit of erasing some dead-plant stigma...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nature Helps The Lazy

Birds can see them too!
Nature loves lazy gardeners. 

If you stake your tomatoes, the fruit are easier to see and to reach when picking.  They are also easier for the birds to eat.

If you stake your tomatoes, you will probably also be weeding them more often because the plant won't be able to shade out as many weeds.  This is just a cop out.  Lazy gardeners have tons of weeds.
Look closely to see roots growing from the stem into the ground.

If you stake your tomatoes, the plants will be smaller and require more regular watering because the root system will not benefit from layering - the process where a branch that is in contact with the soil puts down roots.  This is a major form of reproduction for azaleas and forsythias but tomatoes use it to get more food and water more quickly, thus developing into larger, stronger plants.

If you mulch your watermelon and squash...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

World's Easiest Tomato Pasta Sauce

Didn't have a tomato picture.
It's the easiest recipe, short of eating an apple.  Remember, I don't like to cook and I am a picky eater.

The tomatoes need to be dark red, supper ripe, even with a few spots that need removing because they are SOOO ripe.  If bugs ate some, that's OK too.

Since I don't like potatoes, you can use them in a potato launcher to keep the critters out of your tomato plants.  Today we aren't looking for easily stored root crops to sustain us through the winter.  We don't need to dig carrots from the sand barrel. Today is the height of the season.  As good as it gets.  Don't look a gift summer in the mouth.


And here is the easiest tomato recipe in the world - and it freezes well!...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

You Need To Plant One More Thing...

My son took this picture with his spy-cam when he was 5.
Don't gross out yet.
"Winter Squash" is a misnomer.  

It doesn't grow in  the winter.  I used to plan to grow summer squash in the summer and winter squash in the winter.  Really, I did!  The winter squash never got planted because I really don't like it, so it was many years before I found out that winter squash does not grow in the winter!

When I read the package - the source of all knowledge to complete plant idiots - It said it couldn't even get frosted.  Wha?!?!  And it takes F O R E V E R to grow, like 120 or 180 days.  So WHY would I want to use my summer garden space for a mushy vegetable I don't like when I could use it for tasty things I do like?

There is a really good reason.  It all comes back to the pumpkin...

Monday, July 15, 2013

SO Easy Kid's Pesto recipe!

Picked tomatoes!  Gonna pick more today!

The beans, cukes and okra already sold online through LocallyGrown.net! Yay!

These are my beautiful tomatoes.  Guess what is lurking under the surface of the tomato plants?  Tomatoes!  The avalanche has begun.  I'm excited!

The new challenge is to find enough tomato recipes to use them all!  Smile!  :)

Today we are going to make my sons' favourite food: "Yummy Noodles."  That was the toddler tittle what we christened it with so that they would try it.  When he took it in his lunch to school, his teacher sent home a note asking for the recipe. Last month that same kid made this recipe as the guest chef at the Snellville Farmers Market!

You are going to love it!  It's SO EASY!  Get it here...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Can't Eat The Tomatoes?!?!

Not even tomato ice cream!
I have an ulcer and can't eat the tomatoes. 

I couldn't make this stuff up, really.

The first of hundreds of tomatoes is just beginning to show orange.  All the people who planned on stealing them and all the plans I made to thwart them...  We were all enjoying the anticipation like Christmas.

Alanis Morissette's song Ironic played on the way home from the doctor.

They also said no caffeine including chocolate!  Seems some new research shows people can survive without chocolate.  They are not technically alive though.

No ice cream either!  In July!

This is all payback from...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beans, Beans the Musical Fruit!

Here's my recurring life lesson:  Procrastination pays!

These are some of the seeds we planted to clean out the seed cabinet.  They were called asparagus beans?  Or yard-long beans?  I don't remember and they didn't come up so after a month I threw away the package and called it a loss.

We tilled and didn't till other sections and planted them.  But there were a few okras coming up in this area and not many weeds - so it got ignored.   

If I was on the ball, I would have...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beans, Beans They're Good For Your Heart!

Without naming names, I have some friends who are pretty good at making excuses.  Today, one of those excuses got debunked.  The picture on the left is today's harvest from that one scrawny bean plant seen below.

This is certainly enough beans to have as a side dish for more than one person.  And this happens once or twice a week.  This plant is roughly 14 inches tall and 8 inches wide.  If it were potted, it would need an eight inch, or one gallon container.

If you are a regular, you know I believe procrastination is a legitimate resource.  In this case...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tomato Cage Fight Overtime!

Redneck tomato cage
The mud wrestling and cursing are over, for today.

The short version:  tie up your tomatoes early if you are going to stake them.

Notice the "if?"  Turns out, staking is not as critical as OCD gardeners would have you believe.  Nature's design works just fine.  If you are getting your garden's picture taken, you might want to stake them.  Like getting out the good towels when company comes.

Some control (unstaked) tomatoes remain.  Although the staked tomatoes have...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Let's Catch Up

Beans are ready!
Life happens.  We didn't mean to drift apart, but we were both busy with our immediate responsibilities.  I'm not holding a grudge.  Here's what has been going on:

We are now selling through the Locally Grown.net network.  Our market is Suwanee Whole Life Co-op.  You can click here to order our fresh produce and plants, along with a lot of your other groceries.  Pick-up is on Tuesdays.

Accordingly, we will have picking days on Sundays and/or Mondays and again on Thursdays.  All the ripe produce will get picked.  After the orders are filled the volunteer pickers can choose their shares.  I might sell some things at the Spout Springs Library Farmers Market and "put some up."  The rest will go to the food bank: North Gwinnett Co-op.  If you want to volunteer to pick, get some fresh produce and contribute to your community at the same time, contact me through the Caley's Culinaries Facebook page or leave a comment below.

If you missed my guest post on Garden Rant, you shouldn’t have.  Here's the link:
Don't Engineers Grow Tomatoes?

Now it's your turn to share.  What has been going on with you?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Time To Start Planning - Like A BOSS!

Flowers are proven to cheer you up!
Planning is right up there with succession planting.  Why plant more tomatoes before we can handle the blessings we already have? 

But planning more stuff to plant?  That would be like buying the winter coats when stores put them out in August.  Before it's cold.  Before we've outgrown the old ones.  Before they are ON SALE!

Maybe you have dropped the pile of control issues I'm carrying.  If you have been careful not to step in it, you may have even planned a project before you started it.  This post isn't for you.  You probably wrote the blog I'm going to rip off.  Just kidding.  This garden planning blog is for remedial gardeners.  I haven't read a blog for remedial gardeners so I can't rip you off.

Here is a post from July 4 you will probably want to  read too.  It gives good BOSS intructions.

If you don't know me really, really well, you are about to be stunned...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Squash Have Gender - Apples Are Hermaphrodites.

Still working on the focus. You get the picture?
Don't report me! 
Big, fat cucumber ovary!
The picture to the left is not what you think it is!  It is the girl parts of a luffa sponge.  Yep, the GIRL parts.  The boy parts don't look like that!  The boy flowers are just flowers, usually in a group on the end of a stem.  They produce pollen that is helped by bees and wind to get to the female flower.  The female shown on the left hasn't bloomed yet.  The flower bud is the tear-shaped thing on the end; the shaft underneath is the ovary.  Once the female flower is fertilized, its beauty will fade.  This is nature's way.  People like Heidi Klum are aliens.  It's unnatural to...

Friday, July 5, 2013

How Daisies Have Babies and Why Grocery Eggs Won't Hatch

Let's address the birds and the bees directly.  It seems even most adults don't know how this works.

To the left you will see a teenage daisy.  It's no longer a sprout.  It has entered it's reproductive age.  It's cute and pretty because it is young.  Remember those days?  Everyone is beautiful when they are teenagers.

Along come the bees.  They appreciate the young daisies' beauty.  They revel in it.  Young men and old men should take lessons from the bees.  They never call the daisies fat or make fun of what they wear.  The daisies are beautiful creatures entering the prime of life.  The bees grab some of that and are thankful...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th! What Should We Plant?!

Still have time to start tomatoes from seed!
Happy Fourth!  Celebrate with summer vegetables!  Corn on the cob! Watermelon!  Great Aunt Matilda has outdone herself this year with an entire casserole of dip, striped with red tomatoes and white cucumbers, a rectangle of blue corn chips in the corner to eat it with.

If you missed planting tomatoes and corn this Spring, you still have time!  A whole new list of possibilities await if you are tired of the tomatoes and corn!

Look up the average date of the last frost in your area.  In most of the places I've lived, it's been around Halloween.  After spending all the time and planning to look AWESOME and SCARY or BEAUTIFUL, it's cold on Halloween.  Slap a winter coat over all your glory and hope you have a good mask.

If it's going to frost on October 31, then I have 119 frost free days left to grow!  What should vegetables should I plant now?...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stupidest garden plan EVER? ->Use the Leftover Seeds

Mystery beans.  Attacking my feet.
What do these have in common: cucumbers, luffa sponges, mystery beans, indeterminate tomatoes, watermelon?
Answer: They are all high maintenance.  They are runners and climbers.  That's probably why I didn't plant them and the seeds were leftover in the many little boxes of my cabinet.  But THIS YEAR  I came up with the stupidest garden plan ever! Use the leftover seeds!
Cucumbers overgrowing their trellis.

I'm going to give yoga lessons with my new mantra:  "It's a blessing.  It's a blessing.  It's a blessing."   Alternating with: "Waste not, want not," "Use it or lose it," and "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??!"

"Let the sky rain potatoes," Shakespeare wrote.  As the people underneath no doubt chanted, "It's a blessing.  It's a blessing.  It's a blessing."  Did they have yoga back then?

If you are blessed enough...