Posts Tagged ‘Dee McKenna’

Getting Started in the Garden

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
I finally got to my happy place, the garden! I have been dealing with a bit of garden guilt! The seed packets, transplants, fertilizer and hoe have been sitting at the garage door calling me to be planted and used. It felt great to dig, plant, and water. The garden is only half way planted but I am completely satisfied today! All three of my girls helped plant. We planted sweetcorn and potatoes for the oldest, sunflowers for the middle daughter and for the youngest, carrots and green beans. Over the years, they have their favorites. (more…)

5 Fun Activities to Celebrate Earth Day!

Monday, April 18th, 2016
Dig into the Earth on Earth day. Less than 3% of the entire Earth’s surface is ideal for growing our food.  So why not, dig in and experience it. Here are some fun ideas: (more…)

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…)

Garden Calendar: August Tips

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
It was a root and tuber kind of weekend; we pulled carrots and dug potatoes. The harvest makes me thankful for the hours of sweat I put into keeping the weeds out and the soil fertile. August finds me in the kitchen preserving produce from the garden. It makes for some long days but it is well worth it! (more…)

Gardening Calendar: May Tips

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Lilacs, asparagus and rhubarb! They are spring traditions that bring fragrance and nutrition to our home. I have sprouts in the garden and flowers on my deck. Spring makes me happy; I hope that you are enjoying spring, too. (more…)

Gardening Calendar: April Tips

Monday, April 20th, 2015
The grass is green and the trees are budding! When you head outside here are a few things you can do around the house and garden. (more…)

Educate Your Community & Earn Money For Your FFA Chapter

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Attention FFA Chapters and FFA Advisors: Educate Your Community & Earn Money For Your FFA Chapter. The Nutrients for Life Foundation is accepting application for the 2014-2015 Helping Communities Grow program! The Foundation wants to partner with FFA chapters to educate the local community about the importance of crop nutrients in food production.  Fertilizer is responsible for 40-50% of the world’s food production. It is a key ingredient to reducing and even eliminating famine. Ford West, former president of The Fertilizer Institute, tells how valuable fertilizer is to humanity.   “There are signs, though, that the day is closer than ever before when famine could be eliminated. Untold numbers of smart people are applying themselves to developing the science of crop production all around the world. Advances in crop genetics, plant health, and production technology all contribute to the ability of modern agriculture to produce more than ever before. But, in the midst of that progress, it is still fertilizer that feeds the world. Land use, human nutrition and the carbon cycle form an intricate set of relationships. Healthy plants use carbon dioxide, give off oxygen and increase soil organic matter, thereby enhancing soil fertility. Harvesting crops removes nutrients in the form of our food, and those nutrients must be replaced to nourish the next crop. For these reasons, soil fertility and fertilizer will remain key components of feeding the world’s hungry population. Our overall standard of living is made possible largely by farmers’ work to produce abundant, high-quality, affordable food. However, as agriculture has grown more productive, fewer people understand it. Agriculture should not become isolated from society. We cannot allow the idea that “food comes only from the supermarket” to take root. It is nearly impossible for people to make good decisions about any subject unless those decisions…

Nutrients in the Garden 20: Pumpkins & Peanuts

Monday, October 6th, 2014
We did it! For the first time ever, we grew pumpkins and peanuts! Adding new crops to the garden keeps our fingernails dirty and our interested peaked. From one seed packet, costing $1.99 we picked 15 pumpkins!! If I had bought 15 pumpkins at $4.00 each, I would have spent $60. Growing the pumpkins was relatively easy this year. I fertilized twice, watered regularly, hoed weeds A LOT, and didn’t have any insect problems. We are definitely going to plant pumpkins again next year. Who knew they would be so heavy? I didn’t know anything about growing peanuts. I wanted to try something new and peanuts were for sale with the other seed last spring. I said, “let’s try it,” and threw the packet in the shopping cart. I am so glad I did. We have been talking about the peanuts all summer, anticipation of what it growing beneath the soil. Our plants were just beginning to turn yellow and that is when the seed packet said to harvest.  We pulled the plant up and much to our amazement, there were cute peanuts attached to the roots. We shook the soil off and studied the little nuts! Although they are harvested, the peanuts have to dry before we can eat them. We are going to hang them in the garage for a month. Oh, I hope they taste good and don’t disappoint my hopes! I think we will try them raw and roasted.  Did you know that it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Could this be the beginning of a Halloween costume? I would recommend adding pumpkins or peanuts to any home or school garden. Kids easily related to the big orange squash and the delicious taste of peanut butter. Both of…

Nutrients in the Garden 20: End of the Season

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Here we are at the end of another garden season. The hail set me back, for some of you it was grasshoppers, deer or disease. As I harvest the last of the summer veggies, I am taking notes on what grew well and what didn’t.   (more…)

Problem Solving: Weeds

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
For the first time ever, I used the lawnmower in the garden! Yep, the weeds were so bad; I decided to mow them down. It was a quick solution to a weedy mess! Don’t worry; I didn’t mow the entire garden, just one small section that got out of control. The garden looks better and I don’t feel guilty about letting the weeds get out of control.  Problem solving and gardening go hand in hand! Mowing was the answer this time! (more…)