Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Don't Know What Were Doing

Weeds, Weeds and More Weeds!!!

Honestly, I didn't know what were plants and what were weeds until it was much too late. Here is my pile of weeds from my garden and I'm not where near done. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE ARE DOING! Despair. And I'm pretty sure I accidentally weeded some of my phlox.

Last year, we had all new soil. Only the morning glories were able to sneak there way through the layer of soil we added to fill in the hole where a garage once stood. This year is a whole 'nother story. Suggestions? I just cannot keep up with all this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We thought about canning last year when we got an abundance of tomatoes at the end of summer. Instead, we made tomato sauces and froze them. However, we were left with an overstuffed freezer.

This year we thought of canning again, but it has been so warm (and we have no AC) that we didn't want to add too the heat of the house. However, the past couple of days the heat has been manageable...and my hubby has become a canning machine!

I cannot take any of the credit. He's in the kitchen canning right now. With help from a cookbook (recent gift from my mother-in-law) In the past three days he has canned:
  • Pickles (cucumbers)
  • Beets
  • Beets and potatoes
  • Beans (green and waxed)
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
I hope that this is a way to bring some of the flavors of local and garden grown food into the long Minnesota winter months.

We are looking for ideas and recipes. Please share!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Everyone Deserves Fresh Produce

During the year, so many Minnesotan families find themselves unable to meet all their expenses. They may need to go to a food shelf to meet their dietary needs. Sometimes the selection of food can be limited to shelf stable products of modest dietary needs

This past weekend, John and I got to do good while spending time at our favorite place. Near the end of the St. Paul Farmer's Market, we joined a small team of volunteers to collect donated produce and items from the vendors for a local food shelf. We had a blast. People were very generous, giving many of their expert products. We collected almost 1,000 pounds of healthy produce. We didn't collect more, only because our van was full. Then we carted the items over to the Neighborhood House food shelf.

The Neighborhood House in St. Paul does amazing work serving the community. Among its many services are its food shelf. It operates the largest single site food shelf in Ramsey County. In 2009, the Neighborhood House Food Shelf served over 38,000 people about half of them children and distributed over 620,000 pounds of food.

I am so proud that this food shelf will be providing its patrons with lots of fresh produce options and organic products donated by the generous farmer's market vendors! I hope this will allow those who have come across hard times provide healthy food for their families and keep dignity in their hears.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Tomato Has Arrived!

Our first tomato is ready to be picked! How exciting! Looking forward to more delicious flavorful tomatoes.

For those of you keep track, this tomato is not from one to the giant tomato plants we have growing in the ground. Our first tomato arrived from an upside down plant growing out of an old milk carton.


I just cannot get over how unbelievable these lilies are! The were the last of my lilies to bloom and well worth the wait! Unfortunately, most of my other lilies are already fading.

The honestly don't look real. The have a reaching, cone like shape with big showy blooms. They look like the flowers Dorothy encounters when she enters Munchkin Land. They have an unbelievably beautiful fragrance that fills the air in our entire backyard. LOVE THEM and thought I'd gloat about them.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ground Cover

We moved into out beautiful home in October. Our house has a hill in front of it that isn't ideal for growing grass. It is a pain to mow (which hubby has to do as I am allergic to grass) and John was noticing that were were getting run-off on the sidewalk after it rained.

Hubby talked to one of the master gardeners at the farmer's market and came up with a plan. We would replace the grass on the hill with ground cover. This started a slow experiment for us that has yet to be even half way completed. Ground cover plants aren't cheap and they need time to establish themselves and spread. However, after seeing how difficult it was to build a rough retaining wall in the back of our house, I have given up on dreams of a 2-set retaining wall in the front of the house (with a rose garden on the first plateau) and am starting to embrase the grownd cover. This year we even decided to spead it out a bit after I took the pictures. Keeping my fingers crossed that in the next 5 years we can transform the whole front hill of our house into hearty, drought resistant ground cover. Who knows if we will ever get there? I just know that this project has grown on me.

Front of our house. Grass on one half; ground cover on the other. Which side do you like best?

Here is what came up naturally this spring. It looks pretty space. However, the plants have spread out and we have expanded it and filled in a lot of the spaces since then:
Some close-ups of the different plants. I really think it is pretty to get a wide variety of plants and textures: