February...Time To Think.... Gardening! - La Vida del Gitano Blog at Allrecipes.com - 266655

La Vida del Gitano

February...Time to think.... GARDENING! 
Feb. 6, 2012 11:15 am 
Updated: Feb. 18, 2012 11:30 am
Who doesn't love to garden?! Oh I know there are probably plenty out there that would prefer a concrete jungle.... but not me, I love to get my hands dirty in the warm soil as soon as Mother Nature's icy grip has left my yard...which incidentally, the way it's going around these parts, could be next week!  We have had an unheard of in AGES mild winter with only a scattering of a few flurries here and there and a few bitter cold days back in early Janaury.  But today, the mercury is to climb to 10C (50F) and the sun is a welcome ray of warmth on the still green grass of my front lawn...even the birds are confused, I think I witnessed some nest-twig gathering by a pair of sparrows...or perhaps they were just jousting with them...in any event, the birds are happy with the warm spell and so am I!
Now a couple years back, I seemed to have been bitten by the gardening bug.  Well, I actually have always 'gardened', but what I considered 'gardening' at the time was actually a lame attempt in the form of heading to the local garden centre in mid-May and purchasing some easy-to-grow Impatiens and a few other annuals and stuffing them in a couple pots along with a small plot out in front of the pool shed (mainly to try and disguise the big, ugly pool shed) and 'voila' ~ instant garden!  Then it was just pull the occassional weeds and re-planting what the squirrels dug up...or so I thought...
But every year, I have had to re-think what to plant in the plot in front of the pool shed... it is a raised bed with very good drainage due to the excess crusher-run stone that has migrated out from under the concrete pool deck  (with the help of tunneling chipmunks and lets not forget the skunk incident a few years ago, she excavated a wheelbarrow full in 10 seconds flat) and has mixed well with the soil to produce a superbly draining flower bed with full sun.  Now with that full sun, comes a price of having to water the dang thing daily or your cute, cheery annuals are soon wilted and scorching under the blazing sun.
I have tried 'Sunpatiens' (that turned out to not be so sun-loving), next it was 'Easy-Wave' Petunia's (they soon waved bye-bye under the heat), and then it was on to Verbena and Coleus, which actually faired a bit better and would tolerate a missed day or two of watering before they too, succumbed to the sun's scorching rays...sigh, I hated to see all that hard work and money spent on flowers only to see them keel over.
So during the winter of 2010/2011... I was searching on-line and through numerous gardening books looking for a plant(s) that could handle the well-drained soil and the killer sunshine....and then it dawned on me...  Why not grow VEGETABLES?!   It had never occurred to me to grow veggies before, I always thought of my garden as just a 'Flower Garden'.  Now pretty much from what I have seen out on the local farmer's fields, every vegetable that is grown for human consumption requires boatloads of sunshine!  and boatloads of sun I had! 
Well with that lightning bolt jarring me, I set to work deciding just WHAT kind of veggies to plant...what did I like, hmmmm....well tomatoes for one, I can (and do) eat tomatoes everyday, in some form or another, and being the lover of Mexican cuisine, peppers just had to be added to the mix too...all kinds of peppers! and herbs! Let's not forget the benefits of fresh herbs!  I had just come back from a trip to Mexico last Febraury and while there, I had taken a one day cooking class at 'The Little Mexican Cooking School' located in Puerto Morelos in the Mayan Riviera and came home with a booklet of Mexican reipes. In this booklet was 4-5 salsa recipes that would be perfect to utilize fresh, home-grown tomatoes and peppers!
So by mid-February, I had my large, sunny, living room window full of little peat pots containing Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeño Peppers, Poblano Peppers, Serrano Peppers, Anaheim Peppers and Bell Peppers, I also planted Basil, Chives, Parsley and Cilantro.   What fun it was to watch those cute little sprouts spring up through the soil in March and April and then set my lovely little seedlings in the killer garden patch in mid-May.

Well, the end result.... this was the BEST idea I have had in our 15 years of living in our current home! My vegetable garden not only flourished, but produced a TON of produce!  Note to self though, you do NOT need 6 cherry tomato plants for one person! (my hubby does not like tomatoes)...man, I was giving them away by the bucket load during July and August! :)
Come September, I was pickling peppers, making fresh pico de gallo and guacamoles, roasting and freezing peppers and canning salsas and sauces! But best of all ~ not ONE of my plants keeled over from the scorching heat! 
It is now that time of year again, I just got back from the garden centre with a new armload of seed packets and peat pots.... I am just itching to get back into the garden and this year I will have double the space! Last fall we were lucky enough to purchase a cottage in Northern Ontario and there is more than AMPLE garden space there (and my very own resident wild blueberry patch!) so half of what seeds I start here will be transported and planted once the ground warms up enough there.  Along with the veggies, I will be starting some perrenials and annuals that are Hummingbird favorites for the cottage as there are quite a few hummers that are regulars to our feeder, so to minimize their fighting (they are notorious, selfish little critters that do not share well), they will have some wildflowers to feed off of as well.
Here is what is on the agenda for growing this year! AND!!! I am so excited! They finally have Tomatillo seeds available here in Canada! I was able to get my hands on some fresh tomatillos at the local market for the first time last summer, so am really anxious to try my hand at growing my own this year!  Wish me luck!

Now... I am off to dig out the rest of my seed pots and get started!
I would love to hear what you like to grow in your gardens, or if you have any tidbits of advice or info to help out any 'newbies' to the gardening world, please feel free to leave a comment!

Feb. 6, 2012 12:23 pm
right now I am growing garlic
Feb. 6, 2012 12:31 pm
Ahhh, the feeling of some good dirt under one's nails....nothing like it! Can't wait for May and the gardening season, either. And the taste of a fresh tomato that is still warm from the sun....well, there truly is nothing like it. To Spring!!!!!
Feb. 6, 2012 12:49 pm
You must have read my mind! Since we haven't been covered in snow this year I have already been out in the gardens and getting a jumpstart on clearing them. It's a little wet out there today and I was just thinking it is time to get the seeds started. My tips-1. Know what zone you are in and pick plants suited for your area 2. Don't start out with a huge garden. Keep it smallish so it doesn't overwhelm you. To fresh fruits of the garden!!!!
Feb. 6, 2012 1:52 pm
Great blog. I promised myself I wouldn't buy any new plants this year until I get my front and side garden back in shape. I didn't get to finish getting it done last year after my foot started acting up. I am really hoping to get it in shape before dh decides to just grow grass. It turned into a weed garden by the time winter got here.
Feb. 6, 2012 2:20 pm
Holy Cats, gardening already? I'm out in BC, still pretty cold out. It's been a really odd winter, little snow, frequent above freezing stretches yet right now, its brisk out, -5C this morning. I'm excited about garding like you but man, we ain't quite there yet lol. I'm excited about using what may come out of the bottom of my composter, it will have been a year in June since I started with it, can't wait for things to thaw enough that I can turn it!
Feb. 6, 2012 2:47 pm
I'm glad I'm not the only one who already has a stack of seed packets. I can't wait to get the garden going. This year we're putting up a strawberry pyramid and planting a cherry tree. We're also planning 3 different kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, some heirloom "Mexican gherkins", and a few herbs. DH will probably pick up some pumkin seeds when I'm not looking. Hurry up, spring time!
Feb. 6, 2012 3:28 pm
Since I live in a condo I've just purchased my herbs and will be potting them up tomorrow. I picked up some beautiful opal basil (dark purple in color), regular basil, 2 types of oregano, mint, and rosemary so far. I like to put an annual or 2 in each pot as well just for color. Instead of growing cilantro, I grow culantro which is very hardy, long lasting and has very similar taste. It's a wonderful plant! By the way, the wild birds here in Florida are a bit confused as well. My conure is hormonal right now and after a trip to the vet last week it appears a lot of birds are of the same attitude.
Feb. 6, 2012 3:43 pm
Just got my seeds in the starter greenhouse yesterday! I can't wait for spring!!!!!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:07 am
Well, it looks as if you are off to a good start! Congrats on your vegt/herb garden. I love fresh herbs and veggies. I do not have a garden. I do not have a "green thumb". Our soil is orange and we get a lot of deer where we live.
Feb. 7, 2012 5:15 am
I like growing herbs. I wish more of them would last from year to year! I will try mint again, as many kinds as I can get! Maybe this will be my year! I will try oregano again! Basil is a must! I sure would love some cherry tomatoes! Like you, my plants need watering to survive. I just hope this is the year my plants grow and thrive!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:26 am
I would love to plant veggies but alas I have a veggie dog. She eats all types of veggies no matter how much I try to protect them. And forget the upside down tomato plant thingy. She can jump pretty high!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:49 am
We are already planning our garden, too! I cant wait! We are not able to have the farm I would like (lol) but we get enough that we can share with neighbors and friends a bit. I bought netting for the grape vines cuz I am done feeding the birds (and likely bats) with this next crop! I purchased dwarf Meyer lemon and clementine trees too. Super excited about them! Not many neighbors garden anymore, sadly. We use our fence to grow beans, cukes, pickle cukes and more on. We let the neighbors have whatever grows on their side... it is fun. :) Looking forward to seeing your garden grow!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:49 am
King Sparta ~ That is one thing I have been wantint to try and grow, maybe I will sneak in a plant or two :)
Feb. 7, 2012 5:50 am
chrisk ~ glad to see another person who loves dirt under their nails! :) (when I get a manicure every couple months, the girl really rags on me about the state of my nails) :P
Feb. 7, 2012 5:52 am
Cat Hill ~ excellent tips! always, always know your zones and definitely start small...otherwise you are overwhelmed in no time and then it just ins't fun anymore! Thanks for chiming in!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:52 am
DeniseY ~ it is tough to abstain from running amok in the garden centre... :) hope your foot is well enough this year so you can get your garden going!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:53 am
My new veg last year was asparagus, it does take one growing season of just watching it grow but I know it will be well worth it. We do have it growing on the side of the rural roads but it gets picked right away so I never seem to find any.I live in south east Mi and can't plant until lat April or early May. Happy growing to all.
Feb. 7, 2012 5:54 am
Raedwulf ~ It has been a totally whacky winter here, so I guess I just can't help myself! :) but at least I can start my seeds now even though it will be 3 months before I can get them in the ground! and I too got a composter last fall at the cottage - so am very anxious to start with that too! :) Thanks for stopping in!
Feb. 7, 2012 5:55 am
ruby sparkle ~ what are Mexican gherkins??!! never heard of them! now I am curious.... off to google I go! :)
Feb. 7, 2012 5:56 am
Lace ~ it just goes to show you that even in a condo - you can grow fresh veggies and herbs! good for you! I wish you lots of success in both your indoor gardening and culinary use thereof! :)
Feb. 7, 2012 5:57 am
Terry ~ see? like minds eh? I was so excited last night I was drawing out a plot of what to plant where once the ground is ready! :)
Feb. 7, 2012 5:58 am
luv2cook ~ deer are majestic but PITA creatures :) There are lots of flowers that you can grow that deer do not like and will survive the orange soild..do some research! or... maybe that will become another blog topic??? :) Thanks for poppin in!
Feb. 7, 2012 6:00 am
sueb ~ I planted a mint plant last year and was hacking away at it all summer as it tried to take over the entire garden...that stuff goes crazy if not kept in check! once a week I was out there with lareg pruning shears cutting the runners that were heading out in all directions! God luck this year with your garden! I hope the weather cooperates for you!
Feb. 7, 2012 6:01 am
Dog Fish ~ LMAO!! gives a whole new meaning to the word 'Veggie Dog'! :) what a little stinker! I did have an upside down tomato planter, lasted three years before it fell apart (they say they only last 2 seasons, I squeezed and extra year out of mine) great invention it was! :)
Feb. 7, 2012 6:02 am
WFDM ~ you obviously live in a area that citrus trees thrive in! I would so love to grow citrus trees! but they would keel over from the harsh winters we have here - keep me posted on your new successes this year!
Feb. 7, 2012 6:06 am
That's the problem Gitano. She ain't little!
Feb. 7, 2012 6:08 am
LOL! awwww...but it could be worse, she could be raiding your chocolate stash ;P
Feb. 7, 2012 6:15 am
She did sneeze on a plate of freshly made brownies we were serving at a party! Her head is higher then the kitchen table they were sitting on! It was observed by many. I threw them out needless to say!
Feb. 7, 2012 6:29 am
Hi guapa, Envy the garden. I do miss it from Scotland. Mainly shrubs and herbs with a few veg like spring onions and lettuce. Neither of us really like annuals so never grown them much at all. Out here I don't have a garden due to lack of space. However, grow masses of fresh herbs in pots. Most grow great here but need looking after re water. Basil, oregano, chives, thyme, marjoram, parsley, rosemanry, bay, chillies, lemons, sage,mint,two kinds, nasturtiums, great in salads, etc. I wish you all the best re garden. Some think of it as work, I thoroughly enjoyed it and helped me to relax. I'm an amateur though compared to the "Boss". She really has green fingers and still grows a few shrubs and many cactii for pleasure. Colour is the name of the game.cheers.
Feb. 7, 2012 6:45 am
Agreed, craziest mild winter ever here too. Well, except for the flood, but other than that, I'm ready to get out and get some exercise turning the dirt and getting going again too. Glad to see you found some Tomatillos. I was going to send you some seeds. Be careful they will behave just like your cherry tomatoes and you will have millions.
Feb. 7, 2012 6:56 am
We are going to have a fence put up to keep the critters (dogs) out of the garden! I am really excited. I am like you, I LOVE tomatoes! We will have cucumbers, onions and maybe some green beans! Can't wait!
Feb. 7, 2012 7:07 am
Don... always obey 'su jefe' :P I guess you have to take your climate into consideration over there in the sunny south of Spain :) Thanks for chiming in!
Feb. 7, 2012 7:08 am
Avon! good to see you here, and yes, if I wasn'at able to find the tomatillo seeds, I was going to call you :) and I will be mindful of how many I plant, I think 2 should be good.... *hope*! :)
Feb. 7, 2012 7:09 am
What is with the dogs over-running gardens Shanon? you are the second one to comment about that... I have never had a dog (just cats), I guess they DO eat everything??!! :)
Feb. 7, 2012 8:26 am
Hey there Gitano. To answer your question above: Mexican gherkins are strange members of the cucumber family. They look like tiny little watermelons on thready vines. They taste slightly lemony. I buy the seeds at www.rareseeds.com. My suggestion is to hide your credit card before you go to the website-so much temptation!
Feb. 7, 2012 11:08 am
Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only one thinking ahead to the garden. I'll be starting mine next month. All I have is a little balcony though, so I'll be growing mostly flowers and herbs. I'm trying to figure out how to keep Mr. Squrriel out of my marigolds this year. I had to replant them four times before they actually died. I'm so looking forward to green things again!
Feb. 7, 2012 12:48 pm
The citrus trees are the dwarf variety and don't get very tall - about 4-5 feet. I can bring them indoors! How cool! We have had an exceptionally mild - if not warm- winter so far. My neighbor was out mowing his lawn today! WHY - I don't know (no grass growth!) but there he was! LOL :)
Feb. 8, 2012 5:03 am
Space constraints here too so we are limited to potted herbs around the deck. Not enough sun for tomatoes (have tried for years; potted, upside down) and never a go. I try to find a new best friend every year when the home grown tomatoes hit. Very jealous of those with just a small sunny spot!!
Feb. 8, 2012 5:36 am
Still too early for anything to be digging in my garden other than some crows though I have turned the dirt twice during recent warm spells. It will be tomatoes of varying kinds, hot peppers, sweet peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, beans and berries in our garden again this year. I just hope I get a little more help from my wife & kids this year.
Feb. 8, 2012 6:19 am
Last year I discovered Ramapo tomatoes and I am excited to plant them again this year. I never had more perfect tomatoes. Tasty as well as beautiful.
Feb. 8, 2012 6:35 am
Oh how I love to garden! We've had a much milder winter than normal here in Wisconsin, too, and I really have the gardening bug. I'm on the hunt for a small greenhouse currently, so that I can get my pots started. I grow most of my stuff in container, because our soil here is not so good (due to the black walnut trees), but I'm thinking I'll also try a couple of raised beds this year. I'm planning tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, greens (many kinds!), strawberries, squash, peas, garlic, onions, and many kinds of herbs. I can't wait to begin! I grew up in the Southern US where the growing season is blissfully long, and it's been a challenge for me to adapt to a northern climate. I've tried to compensate by immersing myself in gardening for as long as I can during the year. Great blog!
Feb. 8, 2012 7:02 am
Gitano~ Dogs just run crazy! They really don't eat the garden, just trample it down! :) Rabbits are a whole other problem! Don't know how to keep them out!
Feb. 8, 2012 7:54 am
Gitano, I hope you enjoy your garden, both by the pool and at the cabin. I have been itching to get my seeds started indoors but will wait another week or 2. If I do not get a good start on toms, celery and peppers, they do not mature in time. I apprectiate the 4 seasons we enjoy as we can actually grow veggies here without the scorching heat. If you are planning on setting out plants at the cabin, I would grow the cooler crops that can go directly into the ground and save your sun loving toms and peppers, maybe cucs for the pool side. Enjoy whatever you grow, the benefits are huge both on the pocket book and your health:)
Feb. 8, 2012 8:41 am
Amanda ~ glad you at least have a balcony to grow things on..as for the squirrels, good luck! they are rats with furry tails and hard to deter.. WFDM ~ dwarf varieties are a good idea! I have an indoor grapefruit tree (wee thing, under 2ft tall) that I put out in it's pot in the summer, but come September, back inside she goes! :)
Feb. 8, 2012 8:42 am
Maggi ~ too bad you do not have the space, but at least you can grow herbs! Doug ~ I know my garden is overshadowed by yours as I remember your garden blog from last year! I hope you get the help this year from your family! it is the least they can do seeing as you cook so many yummy things for them! :)
Feb. 8, 2012 8:43 am
Shorecook ~ I have never heard of that type of tomato before! now it is time to google them :)
Feb. 8, 2012 8:44 am
wisweetp ~ it is definitely hard getting to understand and adapt to a different climate - but hang in there and good luck! :)
Feb. 8, 2012 8:45 am
Shanon ~ bunnies here too, I have successfully used bloodmeal in the garden to deter them, and my yard is dog proof with fencing all the way around, but the bunnies have found a small hole under the chainlink in one area that we keep trying to fix, but they keep digging back out again :)
Feb. 8, 2012 8:47 am
RNG ~ there you are! You must have company, you have been MIA for a while here :) Thanks for the advice on the toms and peppers at the lake, definitely cooler up there but the neighbour has a big garden and grows a ton of stuff with no issues, his only problem is the deer, he has an electric fence around his garden now to keep the critters out :) Perhaps your boys need to visit the cabin to help him out this summer ;P
Feb. 8, 2012 9:01 am
I'm so excited for you. I've never grown anything from seeds, but a couple of weeks ago I bought some seeds and I can't wait to start planting. Wish me luck too!
Feb. 8, 2012 9:24 am
LOL, yes I do have a very important visitor at my house:) Our boys would love to help you with your garden pests, just send air fare:D I would stop at your hair dresser and ask her to save the cut hair, nasty, perhaps but if you spread the hair well outside the garden or even in the trees at the back of the property, the smell will keep the deer out for some time. It would need to be replaced monthly (use gloves and toss it around). Also Christmas tinsel tied to trees or on stakes and string throughout the garden might scare them off. Planting some herbs, such as sage, or marjoram could help, also marigolds give off an odour and can help with the deer. But if all else fails and they want your veggies, little will help, maybe a scarecrow? or rodeo clown dsiplayed on some 2X4s with many moving strands of a torn shirt would also be helpful
Feb. 8, 2012 1:46 pm
Mexican Gherkins sound like lemon cucumbers-I wonder if they are the same thing? I'm knocking on wood over here, there is still time for nasty weather. Last year was my first garden and it was a big learning experience! I tried tomatoes, red bell peppers, beans, radish, carrots, leeks, green onion, basil, cilantro, parsley, lettuces, chives, and mint. The only things that grew or didn't die were the tomatoes, lettuces, and carrots! I have always had a brown thumb, but I am determined to turn that around! I'm thinking about installing a drip irrigation system this year. We already trimmed trees for home safety, which will allow almost full-sun to the garden this year. Best of luck to us all!
Feb. 8, 2012 5:15 pm
I plant parsley, sage and rosemary in a 24 inch window box to hang on my deck. It is nice to have fresh herbs and some to dry too.
Feb. 9, 2012 12:18 pm
As you plant herbs, becareful with mint! Horribly invasive. My grandparents planted a small area of mint when they bought their 2nd home in Santa Barbara back in the 60's, Its took over that area and is still there today despite many MANY attempts to pull it up, I have a "decoration" wheelbarrow full of mint so I always have it when I need it and dont have to worry about it taking over my beds. Pick up "The Vegetable gardeners bible" it has a world of wealth and knowledge that I depend on year after year. I've found that romas make the best salsa too. Kale does incredible in cold weather and makes an incredible addition to potato soup. Look up Donnas square foot garden on YouTube, she has alot of home remedies on keeping everything healthy and remember to rotate your veggies, I didnt my first 2 years and by the 3rd I definatly saw a difference in my produce. Get some purple jalapenos, purple tomatillo and purple tomatoes.. With some cilantro red onion, garlic and a shot of vinegar and salt it makes incredible PURPLE salsa, even my picky eater 5 year old goes crazy over it, though I ommit the jalas for her for a more kid friendly version. You should dig up a patch for asparagus, it takes about 3 years til you can do your first full harvest but its sooo worth the time, nothing like fresh organic just cut asparagus spears.. I really need to get my garden in order.. we got a puppy last year thats wrecked havoc on my beds and greenhouse, gets hard with a new baby though.. Happy gardening!
Feb. 10, 2012 3:58 am
1st Lady ~ Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and of course - best of luck to you and your gardening this year too! :)
Feb. 10, 2012 4:00 am
RNG ~ LOL! Rodeo clowns, now THAT would be a sight to see! I will mention that to the neighbour (who loves to shoot deer as much as your boys do!) the cut hair is an interesting idea too! Gracias chica :)
Feb. 10, 2012 4:02 am
*~Lissa~*...you have so much enthusiasm that I am sure you will conquer that brown thumb and convert it to a green one this year! Good luck! :)
Feb. 10, 2012 4:02 am
margiejo ~ even a window box works for herbs, and I agree, nothing like fresh herbs in your cooking! :)
Feb. 10, 2012 4:04 am
rockable ~ thanks for all the great tips! I have seen the purple tomatillos at the market last summer, but all I could get for seeds were the green and yellow here, same with purple jalapeno's, never seen them either! I love the idea of an all purple salsa! :) I will have to work on that one! Thanks for chiming in - I appreciate everyone taking the time to stop by! :)
Feb. 10, 2012 5:15 am
Scored some manure at a local farm and have shavings from the hubby's workshop...yee hah!
Feb. 10, 2012 5:24 am
kim ~ manure (sheep or horse) is about the best thing for gardens! lucky YOU!! :) When I had my own horse years ago, I would bring bags of aged manure home for my flower gardens and they certainly enjoyed it! :) Best wishes for a fun growing season!
Feb. 10, 2012 6:13 am
I grew tomatillos last year and so you now they are much like cherry tomatoes. You only need a couple. If you harvest them before the casing splits the green tomatillos are great for salsa verde but if you leave them till they start to turn yellow they are quiet sweet I made those into a tomatillo and lime jam. Delicious!
Feb. 10, 2012 8:54 am
Kane 101-the best way to double your money is to fold it in half and place it back in your pocket-but you keep promoting:P
Feb. 10, 2012 8:17 pm
Hi Everyone- 1st let me share a great tip I read in a magazine right b4 Christmas. It said to cut tree boughs n use 2 put over ur bulbs. I have some very brave squirrels that seem 2 b holding a grudge against me 4 knocking the nest they started outside of my daughter's bedroom window when we 1st bought our house. I was thrilled 2 find that it did work- though u should try 2 keep them tied or wedged into ur pots. My squirrels started to knock over my pots or clear a corner 2 reach in2. Last year I started my own garden which didn't work out as well as I would of liked. I had problems w another type of pests- my neighbors wild kids. N I actually borrowed 'land' from the apartment building bhind me bcuz I have no earth lol. But after too many arguements n headaches I dug out all my plants n potted them in my yard. I also started late in the year so my heavenly blue morning glories bloomed at the last second n my moonflowers never got a chance 2 bloom. So I started my seeds in the beginning of Feb n just hope that I didn't jump the gun. I'm also gonna give veggies a try this year n bought some chicken coop fencing 2 box in my veggie pots. I'm just growing peppers, vine tomatos, n string beans. Also trying 2 bring my pumpkins back 2 life. Started those by a complete accident n decided what the heck?!? Let's just throw some dirt on top nsee what happens. Idk what I'm gonna do if they do start growing again lol
Feb. 10, 2012 8:39 pm
I fight the winter blues by starting citrus trees on my window sill. Remove the seeds from limes, oranges, and lemons. Rinse away the pulp and juice and place them in a damp paper towel or coffee filter( the seeds will rot if you get the paper towel or coffee filter too wet). I make a folded square packet out of the seeds & paper towel. Place the packet in a plastic fold /lock sandwich bag on your kitchen counter near a window so it receives indirect sunlight. I check the packet weekly to make sure it is still damp. You'll see long white roots sprouting from the seeds after a few weeks. I put potting soil in small starter pots and add the sprouted seeds (two per pot). Make a mini greenhouse by placing sandwich bags on bottom & top of the pot. Place your pots on the window sill. Keep soil damp until green leaves & stems are visible. I have 12 inch citrus trees in planters that I started last winter. I fertilize them with left over coffee from my coffee maker. This is a good project for the whole family. One family member can grow a orange and another a lime citrus tree. I'm trying to root Meyer Lemons and Clementines oranges now.
Feb. 12, 2012 6:23 am
What a creative way to get good soil!! Lol! Could I just come up and go shopping in your canning storage closet?? Looks great!:D Nice blog!
Feb. 12, 2012 1:20 pm
rOckabLe and LeilaE - Would you share your recipes for purple salsa and tomatillo & lime jam in the recipes? rOckabLe - also any cheesecake recipes - YUM! Great blog and only hope my summer foray into pot gardening do better than I have been able to do so far!
Feb. 12, 2012 7:32 pm
I have a geranium almost ready to bloom in my window, last time that happened was Christmas Day. Cannot force myself to go outside when it is still freezing at times to do gardenly stuff.
Feb. 13, 2012 3:33 am
lydiapurpleseller ~ I have a grapefruit tree given to me by my daughter several years ago, it was a cutting from a larger tree and is still going strong, albeit it is a slow grower. I love the smell of the blossoms in the spring and have had grapefruits off it that were really juicy, but a little tart (white grapefruit). I think I may try and start a lime seed with your suggestion! Thanks for your contribution here!
Feb. 13, 2012 3:34 am
mickdee, you are welcome anytime in my cold storage room! :) and yes, between the chipmunks and the skunk, I most definitely have well drained soil! I let the chipmunks stay, but the skunk family was evicted for obvious reasons! ;P
Feb. 13, 2012 3:35 am
sundancegal ~ I agree, I would love those recipes too! :) Hope she comes back here to see the request and posts them!
Feb. 13, 2012 3:36 am
Phoebe ~ I have not ventured outside in my garden either, so starting everything indoors keeps me sane and looking forward to when I CAN get out in the garden! Lucky you that your geranium is blooming again! I have never been successful with geraniums...have no idea why! :)
Kim P. 
Feb. 13, 2012 6:47 am
My gardening area is limited (I live in a condo), I tried the topsy-turvy planters last year on my deck for my cherry tomatoes and they went wild!! All of the herbs are planted in pots, so I have all of the standards. I am going to try and dig up a bed in my back area (It's already there but overgrown)and see if I can expand my garden. My hubby actually has a much better green thumb than I do (thank goodness!). Go Spring!!!
Feb. 13, 2012 10:33 am
Gitano, my secret for blooming geraniums is .......bunny poop!! I have several rescue bunnies and in summer I make "bunny tea" and water my flowering plants and hanging baskets with it, best natural fertilizer in the world! : ) Kim P., I think herb pots are beautiful and unique, I often stick a geranium or a couple of marigolds in the pot as well and that adds a nice touch.
Feb. 13, 2012 11:24 am
LOL! 'Bunny Tea'!!! Now THAT is a new one on me!! No wonder your plants are so healthy! good tip...we have lots of wild bunnies around here and they are always leaving their little 'presents' around my yard :)
Feb. 13, 2012 1:35 pm
Any advice if none of my windows in my house face South? I have great luck outside with my veggie garden but I am a bit nervous with my window selection....
Feb. 13, 2012 8:42 pm
how do these lazycash jerks get in here and how do you send them off into cyberspace? forever
Feb. 14, 2012 4:37 am
Phoebe ~ I keep banning them (which automatically deletes their comments), you should see the list of banned user names I have in my 'manage banned user' folder! egads! These people need to get a LIFE! They really think they are going to entice home cooks here to earn extra money with a scam? we are WAY smarter than they are :)
Feb. 14, 2012 4:38 am
kimgatgen ~ if you have no sunny south or west facing window, then you will have to resort to grow lights, check out a garden centre for a small setup that will at least allow you to get a jump start on your seedlings! :)
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Living In
Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Member Since
Apr. 2007

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Mexican, Italian, Low Carb, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy

Knitting, Sewing, Gardening, Boating, Walking, Fishing

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About Me
I am a Real Estate Agent (visit www.deborahlsykes.com), A Mom to two grown kids, A Wife and I love to collect recipes! I have so many creative outlets at the moment...it is a wonder I have time to work :) I knit all kinds of things, I design, create and sew custom-made Aprons, Totes & Vacation Handbags ~ for further info, please visit http://www.lagitanacrafts.com, I also JUST (Oct/13) purchased a loom and am learning how to weave AND I blog my heart out at www.ournorthernhomestead.com. I used to blog here on AR but felt the need to compile everything into one site, cooking, sewing, crafts, DIY, and funny cr@p that happens to me at our cottage and life in general. So pop on by and say hello!
My favorite things to cook
BBQ Chicken Penne Pasta - my husband ADORES it! Anything with rice or pasta, along with a killer bbq chicken pizza!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Easter Paska bread - my kids pester me every year to make it! It takes all day but well worth it.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that turns out well! ;)
My cooking tragedies
When I first got married many years ago, we got our first microwave and I attempted to cook carrots in a corningware dish with a glass lid...anyway, I inadertantly set the timer for 25 minutes and went out in the backyard, next thing I knew the glass lid of the corningware was a molten mass and the carrots had turned into little charcoal briquettes! My husband has never let me hear the end of that one! :)
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