Saturday, March 16, 2013

Seed Starting, my favorite time of year!

Excitement builds, as it is my favorite time of year! Seed Starting!!!!
 Starting seeds to me means a new start and great possibilities! I do love growing from seed. Every year I like to try a few new varieties as well. This year I am gearing up to grow about 100 tomato plants. No more then 150 at most! I realize it seems like a ton of plants, some are are for me, some for school gardens and I will be selling a few. 

 Seed starting has become a passion. Researching different blends for starting seeds. Finding the right blend to suit me. I know I know, some people just go out and buy a pre-blended bag of seed starter. I too, used to do that once upon a time. As I realized over time I get more bang for my buck by making my own blend and twice as much. Many people make blends to suit what they like and the medium that works for them.

Seed starter blends are fun to make. It is almost like baking, mixing all your ingredients to make that perfect cake. All the ingredients I am mixing up will give your seeds a great boost into a seedling life until they become beautiful starter plants for your vegetable garden.  

My recipes is as follows:

Sphagnum Peat Moss
Worm Castings (not shown)

Medium size containers work well for mixing up your blends. Make sure the container you are using is clean. I use a small shovel for measuring. Eyeballing how heaping the portions are! The reason I add worm castings is to add some nutrients to the seed starter mix, an extra boost. I have also used rabbit poo in my seed starting blend as well. It is really just a matter of what you like!

 5 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss
1 part Perlite
1 part vermiculite 
2 parts worm castings

Mix really well. then moisten your seed starter mix unit you can make a ball of soil in your hand and it crumbles loosely yet still holds form.

Your starter mix is ready for the next step, filling the containers you will be using to start your seeds in. I am using these up from last year. They work pretty well.

A variety of tomatoes are being planted with this batch of starter mix. Some green, red, yellow burgundy and orange tomatoes. I like variety. 

Remember to label what you are planting. I use clothes pins and clip them on to the ends of the rows. I am planting 2 rows of each tomato.

After I have planted all my seeds I sprinkle a little bit of perlite across the tops of my seeds. This helps with drainage and protects my seeds.. I then lightly water my seed starts. I am growing my tomatoes in my greenhouse. A greenhouse allows me to get a head start on the growing season and keeping my seedlings safe from the elements. 

Do you have your own blend of seed starter that you make! Have you ever thought of making your own? Give it a try. Another great way of getting your seeds off to a great start.

Happy Gardening!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Got Lemons? Get Spicy!

You know the old saying, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 
Californians are lucky people. Citrus is in abundance this time of year!
 If you grow citrus, you know what I am talking about! 

I received a large amount of lemons! Trust me, you will not hear me complain! 
This is where you become creative. There are so many different things you can use with lemons.

In my search of what to do with excess lemons I stumbled upon many recipes for dry rubs using the lemon rind. My family always likes to try new flavors.

As my creativity kicked into action, Rosemary Lemon Pepper Rub was born! 

First I clipped some Rosemary ahead of time to dry it out a bit.
Have you ever zested a lemon, it's fun in my opinion. Just remember you don't want the white parts when zesting, its called the pilth. Pilth isnt very tasty.

I love using different herbs. This recipe is one I created using the flavors I enjoy. You can alter this recipe and use herbs that you enjoy most. Once you decide on the herbs you want to use give them a good mixing.

Final result, Extreme Deliciousness! 
If you grow large amounts of herbs in your garden, dry them and use them to make your own rubs. 
You can have delicious homemade rubs throughout the year. This particular rub will last about 3 months. Trust me, it wont last that long anyway once you try it!


1/4 Cup Fresh Rosemary Chopped (dry it out for a couple of days)
2 Tbls. of dried Oregano
2Tbls. dried Sage
2Tbls. dried Garlic Flakes
1/4 cup Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
2Tbls Red Pepper Flakes (add extra Tbls. for a bit of kick or pinch of Cayenne)
4 to 6 Tbls. of Lemon Zest
Mix Herb mixture well. Put all the contents of your mixture into a jar.

This recipe is enough for one batch or small jar shown above. I use this amount on one whole chicken! This recipe is also delicious on fresh fish. We love to take this herb rub when we go camping. We use it on the fresh fish we catch!

Do you make your own Herb rubs? 
What are your favorites? 
Let me know if you try this one and how you like it!

Happy Gardening Friends!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

~Eco Monday~

Pallets Pallets Pallets..... They are everywhere! 

The uses I have seen for pallets are amazing!
Even I use them for different things in my garden. 

Pallet Compost Bin

I use them in my greenhouse as a floor. They are useful for making raised garden beds. I have even built a composting bin with them! 

My latest Pallet creation was for a Home and Landscaping show here in Sacramento. I was show casing different ways to grow a garden. Gardens can be grown pretty much anywhere and in most things. It is all about creativity! 

Most people think recycling pallets may not always be a great idea. They are worried about what the wood may be treated with and or what products may have leached onto the pallet. 
To these people I say, don't use pallets if that is a concern for you.
You can always pressure wash your pallets and try to make them as clean as possible.
 You can even spray them with some Eco friendly paint like I have below.

Pallet Herb Garden

With this pallet I wanted a bold color. Col-bolt Blue caught my eye as I was browsing Orchard Supply Hardware.
 The long window hanging baskets were also at Orchard Supply on clearance at just 3 bucks each, total score! I bought 10 of them in two sizes.
 As the gears in my head were rolling I thought these planter baskets would be perfect to screw onto the pallet. 
I spaced them far enough apart so the herbs and flowers would have plenty of room to grow. 

TA DA..... my Vertical Herb Garden was born.   

The next one I will make will be for Strawberries and loose leaf lettuces.
 One thing I love about this Vertical Pallet Garden, is that I can move it anywhere in my yard.
 The Pallet garden will be nice near my patio tables, also making a nice focal point when eating our summer meals in the backyard! Maybe even a conversation piece.

Have you used pallets in your garden?
If so, how are you recycling them?
What are you using them for?

Happy Gardening Friends!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sacramento Home & Garden Show

There is a great show coming up for Sacramento! The Home & Garden Show at Cal Expo the 25th-27th.

I am very excited to be a part of it! I will be demonstrating different ways to grow Vegetables!  I will be doing raised beds and vertical gardens. I will also have some recycled items as mini gardens.

So hey, if you are around come say hi. Enter to win my booths raffle of garden goodies! I hope to see you there!

Here is a link to the show!

Happy Gardening!!!