Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Fall Lawn and Garden Update

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Harvest here in Northwest Iowa will wrap up soon. Lush green fields have been replaced with brown stubble. I enjoy watching the combines roll over the fields and grain dust fill the air. I often pause and reflect that harvest, whether it in a field or a garden, is the result of hard work and yields food for all of us. Here are a few updates and tips for preparing your lawn and garden for spring. I am savoring these gorgeous fall days! Have you taken the time to rake up (I mean play in...) the leaves? Leaves provide organic matter to the soil. Mulching mowers break down the leaves and allow your yard to benefit from its organic matter. Leaves also can be added to the garden. As they breakdown they deposit organic matter into the soil. Fall is a great time to divide most perennials. Dividing in the fall gives plants time to set new roots before the summer heat. Before replanting, add compost to the soil. This will replenish nutrients that were lost and builds the soil fertility. I am ready to put the lawnmower away for winter. I complain about mowing, but I’ll be the first to admit, I love a green lush lawn. To ensure a green lawn next spring, I apply a winterizer fertilizer. Winter care for your lawn is a great habit to start and your local garden centers will have what you need. I have a few favorite perennials in the landscape. Each fall, I collect the seeds from my favorites and save the seed to spread in the spring. Daffodils and Tulips! I just don’t think I can ever plant too many. Our 4-H Clover Kids planted tulips and daffodils in the city park. We tucked the bulbs into the ground and said, “See you in…

Do You Preserve Your Harvest?

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
It's that time of the year! The time when your excess harvest can be put to great use by preserving it for the cooler months to come. Grandma’s Kook-Kwick Pressure Cooker manual was handed down to me. The manual is most likely from the 1950’s and tells me that a properly filled pantry is the result of careful planning in advance. (more…)

On Gardening & Mother’s Day

Friday, May 8th, 2015
There is a nursery tucked into the rural Iowa Loess Hills which grows the most amazing flowers! I have been looking forward to visiting all year and finally my friend and I squeezed a Monday morning trip into our busy spring schedules. (more…)

10 Reasons to Visit Your Farmers Market

Friday, July 18th, 2014
While I wait for my garden to mature, I support my local farmers market and road side stands. I have always been grateful for farmers markets. They have given me fresh produce when I didn’t have the time and space to plant my own garden. During my youth, the farmers market was a source of income (and entertainment) for my family. (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 7: Soil for Raised Beds

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Gardening in raised beds is extremely popular and a great choice for a beginning gardener. I gardened in raised beds for nine years and had great success (minus a splinter or two). The best advantage to this form of gardening is the opportunity to fill the bed with soft, nutrient rich soil! (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 5: Map It Out

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Planting a vegetable garden, I am good at. Planning said vegetable garden, I am not good at. Writing this blog has been a bit agonizing as it forces me to sit down and make a plan, rather than winging it, which I am really good at. (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 4: What to Grow

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
If you read Tuesday's post, you know there are three important decisions to make before you get started with your garden.  We covered location and type/container, so now on to the really fun part, deciding what to grow!  (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 3: Decision Making

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Now that you have decided why you want a garden, let’s talk about how to get started.  A gardener never stops learning and though it’s easy to become overwhelmed in the beginning, we all have to start somewhere.  Don’t worry about failing at this point; the biggest mistake you will make is NOT starting!  (more…)

Nutrients in the Garden 2: Why Garden?

Friday, February 21st, 2014
Before we continue this new series, Nutrients in the Garden, I’d like to take a moment to explain why I am so passionate about gardening. Through this series, I hope to “garden it forward” and share basic how-to knowledge so that you, too, can grow to enjoy gardening as much as I do. (more…)

Garden Recipe: Pumpkin Puree

Monday, January 13th, 2014
Yes, those are pie pumpkins around Christmas decorations. Embarrassing as it may be, I thought that I would have used them before now. I should have made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we traveled for both holidays and I didn't have to do any baking. The pumpkins just sat and waited... Now that the holidays are over and we have settled back into our routine, I have made the pumpkins a priority! Frankly, I am surprised they did not rot! Making pumpkin puree is simple and straightforward. We are accustomed to the convenience of the grocery store, but I don't think we realize how easy food preservation can be. I’m not saying that I make everything from scratch but when I do, I feel a sense of satisfaction and pride. Better late than never; I first washed all seven pumpkins in the sink (they had a dusting of Christmas glitter on them). These left over pumpkins happen to be pie pumpkins, but you can make puree with all types of pumpkins, although different varieties have a different texture and water content. Next, I cut the tops off and removed the “guts.” I saved the seeds to roast and the rest of the pulp went into the compost. I cut each pumpkin into four to eight pieces. I put the pieces on baking pans, pulp up or down. Some people have a strong opinion on which way is better; I don’t think it makes much of a difference. You can form your own opinion when you make your own puree. Bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes or until the pulp is soft. Remove from the oven and peel the rind from the pulp. I started with a knife, but then realized it wasn't necessary…

My Garden Resolutions

Monday, January 6th, 2014
Whew, the Christmas season is exhausting! The tree is still up, suitcases sit full of dirty laundry, and new toys are strewn from one end of the house to the other. (more…)