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Garden tips/thoughts for next year
08/30/2013 08:03 AM
1. Only plant ONE marigold plant, or plant multiples with the express purpose of digging the rest up as seedlings and planting them elsewhere around the yard. The three that are in the veg. garden this year are now crowding out the basil and the carrots.
2. Don't plant the marigold next to the carrots! It's tempting, but their leaves look very very similar, and they're both sort of feathery and get intertwined.
3. Be patient with the carrots. Wait until a bit of orange top is showing before harvesting.
4. Do something around the box to prevent plant growth - put down mulch or mats?
5. Get sturdy poles for vining plants (cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini?). Ask the next-door neighbors where they got theirs.
6. Plant at least 2 kinds of tomatoes - I'm thinking a cherry/grape variety and a larger variety. Some of them the kids will eat, and the rest can be made into sauce.
7. Start harvesting full mint stems BEFORE it starts trying to take over the whole garden. The stems can be hung up and dried.
8. The plants need a LOT more water in the summer. I definitely underwatered them this year.
9. The pepper plants will actually flower & fruit multiple times. Look up how to hand-pollinate them to get more fruit. (As of the end of August, one plant has had 2 peppers, one at a time, and the other plant FINALLY has its first pepper growing.)
10. If I plant chives, put them next to one of the walls of the box. In the center, they get hard to reach & harvest.
07/15/2013 12:13 PM
So, for anyone who hasn't heard me gushing about this already: For the first time in my life, I have a vegetable & herb garden. Using the square foot method (more or less) in a 4x4 raised box.
The good so far:
- enough lettuce for salads several times a week. I especially like the "Ithaca" type - curly and crunchy
- mint and chives going like gangbusters. Mint tea, anyone?
- the one lonely bush tomato plant ("Early Girl") looks like it's going to produce dozens of tomatoes.
- I have broccoli seedlings growing in my house, ready to transplant soon!
- One type of flower I planted from seed never even came up. I later planted a cucumber plant from my mother-in-law.
- The basil I planted from seed took FOREVER to come up, and most of the seedlings didn't make it. I have one lonely basil plant and it's still small.
- I just had to uproot most of the lettuces today. The red leaf & the "buttercrunch" started to bolt (growing huge stems - probably because I neglected them last week), and both the red leaf and the Ithaca were starting to have some sort of leaf rot. So I pruned back the buttercrunch and got rid of the others.
- The onions I planted are "done" (tops falling over) but still tiny.
- The carrots I think aren't in loose enough soil - the one I picked out was a few inches long, but no thicker than the stems growing above it. Tiny.
- I keep getting mushrooms, which are highly annoying.
- I planted 2 pepper plants: one only has a single pepper, and the other has none (but I think I see buds).
Movie: Sitting Pretty
07/07/2013 06:38 PM
Last night, I watched Sitting Pretty, the original "Mr. Belvedere", with nightskyre. It started as a curiosity, since I am mildly familiar with the Mr. Belvedere TV series from the 1980s, and I like some classic films. I figured we would watch part of it, find a stopping point, and go to bed.
However, once the movie got past the set-up of the suburban neighborhood, the nosy neighbor, the mildly bratty kids, and the awful dog, I was riveted. The humor and the story kept moving along. We laughed out loud several times, and held our breath when Mrs. King and Mr. Belvedere innocently get into compromising situations (which would not be scandalous at all today...)
Loved the way in which Mr. Lynn Belvedere gets his revenge on the nosy neighbor in the end. And although he continues to protest that he can't stand children, you see a hint of a twinkle in his eye when he tells the family he'll be staying for another two years... and begins knitting a sweater for kid #4.
Ham "Sandwich" Pasta Salad
06/15/2013 10:04 AM
For posterity's sake, before my newspaper clipping disintegrates. According to the newspaper clipping, this is originally from the 1997 cookbook "Desperation Dinners!" I've been making this for about 2 years, and it's always a hit.
Start to finish: about 20 minutes.
Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side dish (I often double it to feed our whole family).
- 1 cup dry elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup "light" mayonnaise (we usually use regular mayo, but the recipe calls for light)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (we usually use yellow mustard, more kid-friendly)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cooked ham (either leftover ham from a different meal, or deli ham)
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2. While the pasta is cooking, combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Add drained pasta and stir well. Serve over lettuce leaves if desired.
Balsamic Tortellini Salad
06/15/2013 09:55 AM
For electronic posterity... since I've been making this recipe long enough that I'm on my second hand-written copy (I don't even remember if the original recipe was in a book or online).
Begin making this an hour before you want to serve it. I've done it in as little as 30 minutes, but it's better if the tortellini has time to really soak up the vinaigrette dressing.
For the marinade/dressing:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp oregano
- scant 1/2 tsp salt
- about 1 pound of tortellini (frozen or fresh)
- 6oz (at least) of spinach (or lettuce - I usually buy a 6-8oz pre-washed bag and use the whole thing)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
2. While tortellini is cooking, combine all the "dressing" ingredients in a large bowl (use a whisk or shake it up in a jar and pour into the bowl).
3. When the tortellini is finished cooking, drain and run cold water over it until it's close to room temperature.
4. Toss the cooled tortellini with the dressing; refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Remove from refrigerator, stir to move the dressing around again, then add greens, onions, and cheese. Toss and serve.
Optional: add grape tomatoes to add a little color to the salad.
Remember to vote!
11/05/2012 07:25 PM
Had a friend ask me to re-schedule something tomorrow for later in the day so he could make sure he had time to vote. Later realized this is his first chance to vote (he's 18). Hooray for representative democracy! I will celebrate by once again voting for my local reps and for a presidential candidate with no chance of winning. ;)
Also had a long talk with my mom today about political issues. Reminded me where I get my slightly off-kilter stance on certain issues. (I am definitely not a party-line voter. If I had to sum up, I'd say I'm conservative fiscally - except when it comes to local schools; and moderately liberal on social issues.) At least when WE talk politics, neither one of us comes across looking crazy. :)
In other news, took BOTH kids to Payless tonight to get new shoes. Some called me "brave". I'd prefer to think of it as "crazy". After an hour of running and chasing and calling and fixing and dropping and fixing again, we made it out with 4 pairs of shoes - 2 for each kid. Success!