Friday, August 30, 2013

Bring Out Your Dead...Garlic

Poor girl.  Forgot to take off her mascara and woke up with garlic head.
If you love alliums, you are going to love this post.  It is time.

Get all those sprouted garlics from your fridge!  Plant them pointy side up.  That's about it!  If they flower, break it off and dig them in the Spring when they start to die.

The garlic will thank you if you bury them in loose, rich soil.  That they grow in rocky, sandy soil and don't like fertilizer is folklore.  Same with herbs.  If you want a lot of basil you must feed it.  Rosemary and lavender are about the only herbs that can take that kind of abuse.  Garlic can't.

There's a weird truth about growing garlic that I still can't explain...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Can Be Put Off

Did you ever have one of those days when you were so angry at someone, avoiding them was the safest solution?

I just had a few.  We won't re-travel that road, today.  Couple that with my chronic insomnia and you can see why I might not be responding to natural remedies.  Don't imagine me better than I am.

So I put a few things off: blog posts, produce deliveries, picking the produce, feeding the chickens.  Starving the chickens would be bad stewardship.  The solution was to let the chickens loose in the field to eat the tomatoes that I was too lazy to pick.

I still have half a bushel of tomatoes rotting in my kitchen.  They may become sauce today if I wash the pot from the last batch of sauce.  Then I will have an empty basket to pick more tomatoes.  The chickens will have to go back in the coop, which they love because they are lazy chickens -obviously a learned behavior- and when they are in the coop I bring them food.  Slacker chickens. They hate foraging.

How can you aspire to be a Happy Hipster of Laziness?  By reading these posts and not planting the pots I am demonstrating.

But I have urgent news for you: Plant some broccoli and potatoes.  TODAY.  Here's why...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally Time To Switch! -Winter Vegetable Choices

Go buy doughnuts.  You will need them to make your fortune today.

It is 63 degrees this morning.  My mother told me I had to wear a coat if it was below 65.  And she's from Michigan.  They swim around icebergs there.

In Georgia, if 63 degrees happens in the daytime, it is winter.  We have been blessed this year with enough rainfall to use our gills, which we never get to use, and to keep the temperature under 100 the entire summer!!!  (Not completely true.  The thermometer did hit triple digits one day last week - while I was mowing the yard, thanks.)

Breathe a sigh of relief this time.  It is supposed to be this temperature at this time of year and we have two days without rain in the forecast.  Go buy doughnuts.  Don't feel guilty.  You are going to work them off and contribute to your physical and financial health.

I'll wait here while you go get doughnuts.  You will need coffee too.  Get some for me.  Send them to the farm.  The address is on the Facebook page.

Suspend judgement of leafy greens until you read the winter vegetable list.  You will find something you like.  Find 5 things; four that you like and one to take you out of your comfort zone.  

You ate the doughnuts.  Karma dictates that you try one new vegetable.  Here is the list of beautiful vegetables you can grow in the winter:...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Catch Up On Your Money Tree - or ketchup

Day 4
The money-saving garden plan is growing like weeds!  Check out the progress.  Share your progress. 

Don't feel down if you haven't planted this stuff yet.  You still have time and...I haven't planted it all either.  

Remember the basket of herbs?  There was no picture because it didn't get done that day.  The parts are all still sitting on my porch.  

If you are just now planting, you still have time to make back, in produce, more than you spend in dollars.  Here is the article that will tell you what to buy/collect today to start the project.  I highlighted the list in yellow.  Tomorrow I'll have a list of fall veggies for you to look over and plant or expand into.  You will still need the same supplies.

But the most egregiously misleading post I've made...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are Those My Socks?

We just have one set of socks at our house.  There are 40-60 of them.  All. The. Same.

No matching.  No strays.  No kidding.

Daylight savings started as a joke by Benjamin Franklin and when my husband outlined this idea 15 years ago I laughed at it too.  But he wasn't joking.  He's an engineer.  It's hard to tell when he's joking.  

I finally bought-in when my boys started swiping my clean socks.  They didn't want to match their own socks and I already had uni-set socks.  The pink HANES embroidered on the toes didn't bother them a bit.  That was the end of ...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Improve In Five Minutes

We'll be getting back to microgreens soon.  It's almost time for fall gardening - might be time and I'm just too lazy or behind on the to-do list.  Lest you believe I garden obsessively...
I've done lots of things I regret and haven't done just as many that would have changed life for the better.  I'm not getting all organic and yoga about it.  Everybody has these regrets.

And I'm not a garden pusher.

I try to keep my first world problems in perspective with some volunteer work.  Yesterday we spent a few hours sorting food at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  It didn't make me feel better.  It's important and we do it regularly, but my everyday thorn-in-the-side problems didn't go away.

Turns out, I'm not alone in this experience.  The phenomenon has been studied and there is a quick fix to help you put up with your neighbours:...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bracken Macht Froh

I'm always curious about the traffic that shows up from far away places.  How did they find me?  Who are they?  And what brings them back?  Are they reading in English?  Do that many people know English in that many countries?

But I take a silly pleasure too in reading blogs from other places in languages I don't know.  They usually have pictures.  I bought a book on learning Latin about 20 years ago.  I can usually figure out what they are trying to say.  Well, they did say it, I can usually figure out what I am trying to understand.

Today I found one in German.  It's not a Latin based language and I still figured it out!!  Of course, it was speckled with English and some vegetable and plant names are the same in different languages.  But it Almost made me want to make zucchini fritters.  Now that's talent!

Check it out: Backen Macht Froh - Zucchini Fritters

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bucksnort Tomatoes

The summer is winding down and we haven't had much adventure.  But we did make it to Bucksnort, TN.  

It's a world famous place!  There is even a song: Bucksnort, TN - Trailer Trash Tremblers.

We've been stopping at this exit since I was a kid, but this time was different.  They had souvenirs.  I asked the kids what we should buy in Bucksnort and without hesitation I hear, "Buck snot."  FYI, they don't sell that.

The nice Bucksnortian behind the counter (Turns out they call themselves "Bucksnorters.") pointed us to the rest-room, don't flush, and rang us up for four mugs and a camouflaged hat.  That's when I saw them...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Growing Money Day 10: Another Fast, Cheap, Nutritious Recipe

Then came tomatoes... sliced, sauced,  chopped on pesto.  Eating food that is "in season" is another great key to living well for less.  There are lots of calendars online that you can use to find out what it being harvested in your area at any time of the year.  I like the one at Georgia Organics.

This is the time of year to find good tomatoes.  None yet on our patio plant, but seasonally available and delish and because they are in season, they should be affordable.

Tomatoes are a super food.  Eating them makes you healthier and anything that makes you healthier saves you money.  Multi-tasking with dinner!

This recipe came from the pizza place in the Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet, SC.  Even though it is crazy-easy to make, I bought it a lot when I was too crazy-busy to wash a cutting board.  Hats off to the guys there who came up with it!

Even tomato haters sometimes will eat it.  They are camouflaged...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Growing Money Day 9: Fast, Cheap, Nutritious

The concept of saving money on food seemed unethical at first.  Food, like education, should be of the best available quality.  Food impacts your future, your ability to function and your children’s future and ability to function.  Those things are so tied together with happiness that the mere thought of cheap food made it hard to breathe.

But my images of cheap food were faulty.  Dollar-store cheese puffs and donuts are not the limits of cheap food.  And donuts aren't so cheap any more.  These days I'm stumped on why people think a $3 bag of chips is affordable but a $.50 cucumber is not.  (Does anybody know where they have hidden the cent symbol?)

We have a couple go-to recipes when we have lots of vegetables from the garden.  Here is the one that uses vegetables we don't like, most notably eggplant and squash.  Best part: It's C H E A P and FAST.  Fringe benefit: It boosts our food diversification by using vegetables that we normally don't eat very often...

Gardening With A Manicure

Being a girlie girl does not preclude gardening. 

As a beauty queen, one will want things pretty.  We will have to find a way to garden that doesn't involve weeding the garden in the rain and mud.  Best if there is no weeding at all.  It takes a huge toll on the manicure.

Let's grow things in containers.  If you flip through a gardening magazine and you are looking for them, you will notice that many of the corners and empty spots are filled with containers.  Containers are kind of like pictures on the walls.  They are the details that matter.  They also don't get many weeds.

Next you will need...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 8: Bugs on Prosperity

Remember when I said Prosperity takes some planning?  It takes some maintenance too.  If you own a car you understand it needs more than gas to run.  The oil has to be changed sometimes.  The tires need replacing eventually.  The brakes wear out.

Today I discovered little worms on my six grocery growers out back.

TEMPTATION!  It's hard to resist the urge to hop over to the farm and get a tablespoon of Dipel - a bacteria (Bt) that kills nothing but worms.  So organic.  So easy.  But if you are doing this project at home on the cheap, buying a Bt product that only kills worms might not be your best investment.  There will be other bugs eventually and Bt won't kill them.  Unless they are worms.

Here's the stuff I'm going use...
Liquid hand soap in a spray bottle.  The ratio would be approximately 2 tablespoons to a gallon, but I'm using a little spray bottle.  Just squeeze some in.  Enough to kill bugs but not enough to burn the plant's leaves.  If you burn them, they won't look good, but the plant usually outgrows the damage.

If I have half an hour and the energy, I'll make the good stuff...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Update: Six Veggie Containers You Can Still Make!

Day 4
Plants are like children: they keep growing even when I'm too busy to notice.  I never said the project days would be all consecutive!

These are the six nursery containers I planted with vegetables 13 days ago.  I'd love to see your progress!  Post pictures and links below, along with any questions you have.  Here are mine:

The bean seeds came up and already have flowers.  The tomato and pepper plants have buds too.  The peppers have doubled in size.  All three squash seeds came up well!

The lettuce is suffering.  It came up well, but the constant rain has beaten it down and made mush of the leaves.  It's also kinda leggy.  When any plant gets stringy, it is not getting enough light.  Lettuce likes cool weather so I put it in the shade, but it also needs more light than I have given it.  Maybe it will recover.  Maybe it will need replanting when the weather cools off.

Both beans and squash make great...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Grow Money Day 7: Choose Undead Plants

Self-seeded in the cracks of the driveway.
Eight Years ago we bought a foreclosed house.  The flower bed was hard as Georgia clay that had never been dug and spent years baking in the heat to become a Georgia brick.  The front brick bed was especially unsightly.

Fresh from selling my garden center, I had sworn off anything that ever needed watering.  Ever.  In the words of Taylor Swift, who was probably just learning to play guitar back then: Like Ever.  

I bought a couple of black-eyed-susans in gallon pots from the clearance section of a garden center.  They were $2 each. They looked pretty dead, but as you can see from the picture on the left, they have recovered! 

They have even reseeded in the cracks of the driveway (pic 2) and surrounded the AC unit by the back porch.  All without my help.  My husband has pulled out a lot.  He sprays weed killer on the escapees out front.  We just mow the ones that are in the back lawn.  I dug some for a community garden and gave some to my mom and I STILL got written up by the HOA for having an overgrown flowerbed.

Here's the professional three-step to choose an undead plant:...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Grow Money Day 6: Squirrel It All Away For The Winter

Long term prosperity takes planning.  This little plan is just a tiny replica of a bigger plan.  It's time to start storing up prosperity for the winter!  

Let's dry all your tasty herbs!  Don't have any herb plants?   If you have been following along in your blog as we took each baby step toward financial stability and quality of life improvements you should have leftover soil and fertilizer.

The vegetable plants are on auto pilot.  Water them if they wilt.

While you wait for your harvest, let's expand our financial and quality-of-life improvements...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Money Tree Day 5: The FAIL!

The best part of a complete FAIL is the nice publicity it gets you.  I got a real review from somebody who is not a friend or family member!  Maybe it's not technically a review, but to me it's just as good!  It's at Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes.  Stranger things have happened.  But not to me!

The FAIL I allude to?  I mentioned it in a foreshadowing post last week:

I tried to grow food from garbage.  It led to some interesting discoveries, but overall: FAIL.  People post this stuff on the internet and all I have to say: They have nothing else to do if this worked for them.

Even when I owned a garden center and my main job was to grow stuff and keep it alive - this project fell through the cracks.  Yep, people have been trying this since BEFORE the web!  It must have been the Elizabethan period, before everything landed on your screen with directions.  People had the THINK of ways to make something work and maybe TALK to their friends and get everyone thinking.

Like Cavemen.

The beginning of the experiment worked well and only encouraged my cheap tendencies.  I used...