I Kill Everything.....No More Tomatoes, Ever. - GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life Blog at Allrecipes.com - 187123

GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life

I KILL EVERYTHING.....no more tomatoes, ever. 
 
Jul. 24, 2010 4:48 am 
Updated: Aug. 15, 2010 9:59 am
Ok, time to face the music....I kill every vegetable/herb I try to grow.  I need to just realize that this is ot part of my DNA and move on!  This morning I am pondering that part of my personality that simply can't remember to water my tomatoes.  They are truly pathetic.  I ordered one of those Topsy Turvy things...even got a stand and put it right outside my window to remind me...but alas..withering vines do not call me.  My cucumbers are also sad...struggling to blossom amidst yellow leaves, they eek out one tiny bloom and maybe one stubby cuc.  My basil was doing well but now is shrivelled.  My strawberries resemble shrunken heads.  Have you seen Witchy Woman's pots outside her RV...beautiful I say to myself...what the heck is wrong with me that I can't remember to water a plant??  Sigh....so I declare to you and myself this year, that's it, I'm done..I'm facing up to the fact that I just am not good at this and vow to not repeat this pipe dream next year.  I'll buy from the farmers who know what they're doing and sooth myself with words like..."you're good at other things"!.....anybody want to buy a topsy turvy?  cheap.
In my Garden
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sedum autumn joy
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snowberry bush
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Comments
Jul. 24, 2010 6:38 am
LOL! It sounds like we need to exchange phone numbers so I can call you every night and say, "WATER YOUR PLANTS!!!!!"
 
Janet 
Jul. 24, 2010 6:46 am
Don't beat yourself up, you are probably so busy that it slips your mind. I have had to get myself into a routine by walking around the property everyday. We would have walkabouts everyday at my business to take a look at the property (safety) and I had 7 planters that needed to be tended to everyday. Now I have learned to do this at home as well. I have to incorporate the bird bath,feeders and plants as well so that everyone is happy. I too have a topsy turvy plant and it is doing okay. I lost 3 tomato plants because of ants eating at the base of them and I couldn't save these. Made me mad because they were doing really well and then......dead. Next year you will have to incorporate your walkabout, either before your day starts or at the end and you will be fine. Luckily we have had quite a bit of rain and the plants like real water then the stuff out of the taps anyday. Just go buy the tomatoes at the market for eating........lol
 
Jul. 24, 2010 10:34 am
I think you're right...some people just have the "growing" gene! And just thin', you boost the local economy when you buy from other growers. :-)
 
Jul. 24, 2010 12:11 pm
I suspect it is easier to have luscious plants in the Pacific NW than in the central part of the country. It has been so hot this year. I found I had to water the topsy turvey twice a day, there just isn't enough soil to hold sufficient moisture. Ah well, we can't all have green thumbs.
 
Jul. 24, 2010 3:08 pm
Hey, you can have plants that struggle even when you do water them ~ just try gardening in chinook country! If mine do well, it's only because I spend so darned much time out there enjoying and tending my garden and flowers (and even watering during winter chinooks when the winds blow!), because our growing season is so short and challenging. Don't beat yourself up about it. You probably could be good at growing things. It's a TIME issue, not one of having abilities or not. :D
 
Jul. 24, 2010 4:05 pm
You either have it or you don't. I had the most fantastic herb garden in England than just grew from strength to strength each year. Here like you I have killed every herb I have tried to grow. I would get so disappointed when yet another plant died, that I have since decided to move on, not to waste my time trying to grow something that does not want to grow. Just remember we can't be fantastic at everything. Thank you for the blog, glad I am not the only one!
 
cocojo 
Jul. 24, 2010 7:01 pm
You are all so kind!...sadly, I do have time and I have great intentions of a "walk about"...but it just doesn't happen consistently enough...weird,in other areas of my life, I'm very organized and consistent!...Witchy...you'd call,I'd remember and then forget 5 min. later LOL!........AND if you want a real laugh...I've been part of a Garden Club for 15 years and even been president 4 times...ha ha!...actually my yard looks pretty good...it's just those dang vegetables and herbs!!....oh, well as said...can't be great at everything.
 
Jul. 25, 2010 1:48 pm
LOL, I was just going to suggest you contact a gardening group in your area for advice as to what works in your area. Umm, I see that advice is not necessary! Maybe you could try this (that is if you do dishes by hand)-when I go to wash the dishes I use a clean milk jug to catch the cold water until it gets hot enough to do dishes. When the jug fills up, I let it sit over night and then go water in the morning while having coffee. Funny most herbs are pretty hardy. I have trouble with a few and the tropicals are brought in but most thrive. Good luck at the farmer's market. I have a friend that grows and sells at those here in my neck of the woods; she has nice stuff!
 
cocojo 
Jul. 25, 2010 3:03 pm
Cat hill...thanks that's a good idea for my front door planters...probably part of the problem is I have too many planters!
 
Jul. 25, 2010 11:18 pm
Nice to see you, Janet. :-)
 
Jul. 25, 2010 11:25 pm
Coco, I never can remember anything. And if someone reminded me, I'd forget within 2 seconds, not 5 minutes. I never did well with growing veggies years ago when I tried. They grew, but weren't very good stuff. And this year I tried growing parsley for the first time and I have one VERY, VERY TINY little plant. There's 3 leaves on it, not quite 1/2" diameter. It's the only one that grew and at this rate, it'll be big by about 2020. I forget to water it too. Things just don't stay in my mind cause it's too crowded with the 3000 other things I have to do. (I forget them as well.) And no, you don't have to be great at everything. I spent my younger years worrying too much about what I did badly, and it took forever to get myself to concentrate on what I do well. It's not like I never do stuff I'm no very good at, but I do tend to mostly stick with stuff I do well. Keeps the failures to a limit. LOL.
 
Janet 
Jul. 26, 2010 6:56 am
Now when I said I haven't killed my plants I should also mention that their isn't a lot of stuff growing on the plants as well. That I haven't been able to control, but I have at least given it water. I have 3 pepper plants, they are nice and green and lovely colour, but so far only 2 peppers in total. Lots of blooms, they dry up and then nothing as far as a veg. The tomatoes, one plant is giving me a lot, but I paid $3.50 for that one and I think it was just because of where I purchased it and paid for it, it knows not to disappoint the buyer. So when I talked about remembering, that is only because I have 20 other planters to water, I walk by those tomatoes and peppers, but I don't think there will be a lot to harvest off of them either. I don't consider having a green thumb, but at least hubby is looking at the plants and thinking I am trying, that's all that matters to me. I think next year I am going to purchase every plant for the $3.50 so that I know it should do well. Keep on trying..... that's all I have to say.
 
cocojo 
Jul. 26, 2010 11:09 am
Thanks ladies!...I did a chocolate camp for kids this morning and that went very well...that I'm good at! When I get my new computer any day now, I'll post some pics of my garden..right now, this computer is so old that the softwear on Word has stopped working!...but hubby surprised me the other day and ordered a new laptop. This one is literally held together with duct tape since I sent it flying on to the garage floor...had Bud Wilson on a leash and he moved way too quickly with the strength of an ox...I went flying...I'm barely 5'3...I don't walk the beast anymore.
 
Jul. 26, 2010 1:01 pm
Just put your hose and watering system on a timer, then you don't have to worry about it. another thing that helps is if you put down black tarp and then garden in the tarp, it keeps moisture in and the weeds down.
 
Janet 
Jul. 26, 2010 4:50 pm
Cocojo: I am intrigued; how on earth were you able to set up a chocolate camp for kids. How about us adults???? Kidding aside, I have made molded chocolate and tempered chocolate years ago and absolutely loved making them. Even make homemade turtle chocolates by boiling a can of condensed milk for the caramel. I would have loved to have started a business in this because it was certainly my passion. To be able to teach would probably be my second choice to actually making and selling. I would love to know about your history (I know you either owned or managed a chocolate business). Was it a factory or a small independent? Did you take courses yourself before all of this or self taught? I am thinking that if you make chocolates you will eventually be able to tackle the tomatoes and win. lol
 
cocojo 
Jul. 27, 2010 5:16 am
janet...off to do another camp this morning and then the last one on Thursday....I'll talk to you about chocolate business later...I have a lot to say!
 
Janet 
Jul. 27, 2010 5:41 am
Thanks Cocojo: I will wait for your reply. I would love to hear all about it.
 
Jul. 28, 2010 3:49 am
Anyone need an accountant? :-) An odd coincidence, there was a problem in a text I was working on with a student recently and the business was teaching baking classes or something.
 
cocojo 
Jul. 28, 2010 4:31 am
Thanks Erimess..my husband is my accountant..unfortunately he keeps me grounded in reality!
 
cocojo 
Jul. 28, 2010 4:52 am
Janet...Ok, here's some of the things I learned from being in the chocolate business.......I had 2 partners, we ran an out of our home Chocolate Truffle business and did other types of molded chocolates as well. The types of clients we had were: Weddings, Corporate gifts, personal gifts,Children's molding parties..preschools and personal parties.......It was a ton of work even for 3 of us so I would suggest if you are on your own you pick just 1 or 2 of those categories to concentrate on.....you need to become an LLC right away to be able to order with a tax number to order wholesale..and to protect your personal assets if anyone should sue you...you have to have decent start up money because in order to make a profit, you need to order wholesale and almost every company has a minimum order..you need at least a basement or spare room to store all of your supplies....the biggest issue for chocolate is shipping it in warm weather..once we had chocolate shipping across the usa, we had to have ice packs and coolers..it got expensive but you can't do without it...this is why it costs $40 to get a box of chocolates sent in summer......the other big issue is working with partners, I would not do that again...and these were my good friends...we are all still friends but it was difficult because of different levels of commitment...you have to be on the same page as to how much time/effort /money you will put in. We didn't understand how much of all of that it would take. I didn't have kids at home but the other 2 did and that was hard...so work alone or hire an employee is my advice...so you only have 1 chief!...Truffles were the most time consuming...probably local weddings were the best for favors..we could make molded hearts in little boxes and make them look pretty ..then deliver them the day of the wedding..so no shipping...you could probably handle that yourself if you just do that.....I still teach classes on making truffles and molded chocolate....and if you can handle kids...preschools love to have you come in and make molded chocolates with the kids..that's pretty good money...I charge $7/kid with a $150 minimum for the day..usually involves a few classes one after the other....that way I know I make $150/day for my time and supplies.........oh,also local corporate gifts were good...we made a big chocolate sleigh and filled it with truffles in boxes..good centerpiece or office gift and delivered it..that was a hit at $75.00....so hope that helps..keep it focused on one thing and keep it local and I think you could have a nice little cottage industry...our problem which caused us to stop was that we needed to go into a factory at the point we were at and my partners didn't want to make the time or the financial commitment. ..let me know if I can be of any more help!
 
cocojo 
Jul. 28, 2010 4:55 am
Janet...see Erimess...a good accountant doesn't hurt either!...keep your finances in order to make sure you are turning a profit! We had 3 husbands who all know finances and one volunteered to watch things for us and give us monthly reports.
 
Janet 
Jul. 28, 2010 10:49 am
Hi Cocojo & Erimess: Well I am already Incorporated and have a numbered company from my past business. I also have a pre-accountant that would look over day to day stuff and then a General Accountant for the year end tax returns. I was supposed to go into business the first time with a partner. I had 49 they had 51, so how does someone with 49 all of a sudden own 100%. This is a long story and kind of complicated but I went into that business alone and bought them out within the first year of operation. I really appreciate the information. One question for you is how did you market your business? You must have gone to trade shows or had a website? I am not sure what the rules are about home a based businesses (especially food related in Canada). I am guessing I may have to renovate the kitchen to be allowed to work out of home. Also you must have had to include a label with ingredients on them? If so you sent the product away to be tested? Sounds like you really built up an excellent business to have had to consider a factory. Did you end up selling the business? Where did your recipes come from? I wanted something home based or at least something small to be able to rent a kitchen. I agree I would never partner, better to have staff instead. I don't know about the home parties, but it is an interesting concept. Thanks for any answers to my questions.
 
cocojo 
Jul. 28, 2010 3:42 pm
Hi Janet..fellow Canadian..I grew up tin Toronto..now living in US...Don't waste your money on print adds..we found the best marketing was face to face..we joined a networking group, went cold calling on florist because of the wedding connection..did a few shows..not that great...did a newspaper article and then did a small magazine article..those were good...this was before facebook tookoff..or at least before I knew it did lol, ..we had a simple web site and were working on a larger e-commerce site when we decided to can everything...it was a huge disappointment but necessary and I just couldn't do it myself and we really hadn't banked enough to hire someone. In the USA, the health dept is not concerned about sweets, so my kitchen was fine. When we put our product in some stores, we had to have proper labels...we were also being looked at by a big food company but just as we were in the final stages of sending the last shipment of products to them for inspection,...they were bought out by Whole Foods ..who already had a truffle supplier...another life lesson learned....in my area the county has to approve small home business..this can be simple or difficult depending on if they approve you on round one and give you a general licence..round 2 all your neighbors are notified and have a chance to speak to whether they want a home business in their neighborhood. We got the simple licence.
 
Janet 
Jul. 29, 2010 2:30 pm
You grew up in Toronto? Now you live on a farm? What a drastic change, but I bet a good one. Have you been to Toronto lately? Thanks for the info I will have to look into the rules here, I have a vendors permit and oddly enough in my community it did not have to be posted but in other communities it does. It gives me a lot to think about and of course source out some good chocolate to work with.
 
cocojo 
Jul. 29, 2010 3:24 pm
I'm up and down to Toronto all the time..it's 8 hours from me. Still love that city. I don't live on a farm, just surrounded by them but I do have about and acre and a half....regarding chocolate..if you are sticking to molded chocolate I could recommend Mercken's chocolate , I know you can get it there. Also Peter's is another good one. Merken's chocolate melting wafers are not an artisan chocolate but they are easy to work with, no tempering, and most people like it. Even the white is good. When I did truffles, we imported artisan chocolate from South America...but I'll tell, you as good as it tasted it was temperamental!
 
Janet 
Jul. 29, 2010 5:01 pm
I have used Mercken's in the past, quite a few years ago now for the molded chocolates and "yes" it did taste good......Neilson's also sold in cases, but it was a little cheap tasting if you know what I mean......You basically drive by my home of Woodstock which is 90 miles west of Toronto. That is if you cross the border in Detroit of course..... Thanks for the info I appreciate any suggestions.
 
Jul. 30, 2010 1:24 am
I found it, I found it, accidentally. The problem where someone was teaching cooking stuff: "On November 30, a friend of Natalie’s asks her to teach a class at the neighborhood school. Natalie agrees and teaches a group of 35 first-grade students how to make Santa Claus cookies. The next day, Natalie prepares an invoice for $250 and leaves it with the school principal. The principal says that he will pass the invoice along to the head office, and it will be paid sometime in December" Ok, I'm sure that excited everyone, but I just thought it was a weird coincidence that I ran across this problem just a couple of weeks ago and here you are talking about teaching cooking stuff. (That's actually just one little part out of the problem that someone happened to post.)
 
Janet 
Jul. 30, 2010 5:06 am
I remember when my children were in kindergarten their school would rely on mom's like me to come in and make things with them. One teacher in particular would buy things for the kids constantly (she was retired but worked part time), she used a lot of her own money. It was so enjoyable to go to their class and see the things that they did with the children. I wonder if it is still like that today with all the working mom's out there. The children once went to see the circus in another town and they took a bus there and the train home. They also had a circus at the school where the children performed, there was an admission charge and I found a old fashioned popcorn machine and cotton candy to sell. I had to stand outside with the candy machine because it set the smoke detectors off. lol As hard as it is when they are little I certainly appreciated and loved those times.....Erimess: it's nice to see that this reminded you of the invoice and that you found it. Strange how that happens.....Cocojo: I bet you are developing some little ones into being chocolaiteers.... There is something soothing about making chocolates. I now remember when I used to make chocolate hearts suckers for valentines day and the kids would order the candy grams and send to friends at the school. I made over 1,000 of them every year. This was my childrens biggest fund raisers for their class.....I think I missed my calling way back then.....thanks for reminding me how much I enjoyed that.
 
cocojo 
Jul. 30, 2010 1:18 pm
http://www.choklitmolds.com/mainframe.asp Item *#173.....That's the chocolate mold wholesaler and the number for the chocolate bar mold......this is an idea for you if you work with kids....make your own chocolate bar. I let them put sprinkles in the mold, give them a dixie cup full of melted chocolate to pur into the mold, spread with a popsicle stick...when hard...wrap in tinfoil and then let them design a wrapper...I make one on the computer with a spot for their name and then they make designs on them..wrap and tape and they have their own personalized candy bar..they love it.
 
Janet 
Jul. 30, 2010 1:44 pm
Thanks for the website I will look this up....sounds like a fun time with the little ones and teaching them molding, and then giving them their own personal label. This is very creative and an unusual camp for kids. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.
 
Janet 
Jul. 31, 2010 6:44 am
Good morning: I checked out the website and the mold you used. It resembles a break apart chocolate bar, I had thought it would have been a different shape for a truffle. Did you what I call paint a layer of chocolate, let it harden and then put filling and then chocolate to top off the mold? This must have been fairly labour intense. Again, thanks for information, gets my creative juices flowing again. I will have to pull out the molds I do have a get reintroduced to them once again.
 
Jul. 31, 2010 7:18 pm
If it makes you feel any better, I think my little parsley that wasn't growing very well is now officially dead. :-) I did plant some more seeds though & we'll see how that goes. I'd like to have them growing inside in the winter if I can pull that off.
 
Janet 
Aug. 2, 2010 7:03 am
Hi Erimess: I believe an herb garden can grow in doors. I find that things I grow from seeds don't typically do as well as planting the actual plants. I have chives, dill and parsley in a large planter outside amongst pansies and even an evergreen that stays all year. I read somewhere to plant herbs with other plants and the planter actually looks quite nice altogether. Good luck with the parsley.
 
cocojo 
Aug. 4, 2010 6:29 pm
Thanks Erimess...and yes it does. JANET...somehow our communication broke down...the molds are only for the candy bars...i don't use molds for truffles...sometimes I paint the molds with colors and then fill them with chocolate...for the truffles, I make Ganache ..then roll them by hand and dip them in melted chocolate. Let me know if you need further info. or recipe.
 
cocojo 
Aug. 4, 2010 6:36 pm
finally figured out how to get a picture up here...so here's some proof that i do have some things growing!!
 
cocojo 
Aug. 4, 2010 6:37 pm
i guess the picture is at the top of the blog...lol
 
Janet 
Aug. 8, 2010 10:11 am
Recipes? You don't want to give out your secret do you? But if you do, I would love a recipe. I know how to make ganache and the dipping would be easy enough. But any recipe if you feel comfortable with giving would be certainly be most appreciated!!!! Your flowers are beautiful, you do have a green thumb! Tomatoes are easy enough to buy at the veggie stand anyway.....
 
cocojo 
Aug. 11, 2010 6:05 am
Janet...Id be happy to give you recipes...which ones do you want?
 
Janet 
Aug. 11, 2010 5:25 pm
Cocojo: What were some of your favourites to make?
 
Janet 
Aug. 11, 2010 5:26 pm
Cocojo: What were some of your favourites to make?
 
cocojo 
Aug. 12, 2010 5:46 pm
flavored truffles, kids candy bars...just using Merken's chocolate ..I let them put sprinkles into the mold first...wrap in tinfoil, then wrap with their own designed bar wrapper....chocolate dipped strawberries........large straight pretzels wrapped with a rope of caramel then dipped and rolled in sprinkles for kids....round pretzels with 1 Merkins disk into the center...melt in oven a few minutes and then top with an m&m..warning, these are addictive....molded suckers bagged and tied with ribbon....painted molded suckers....buckeyes...turtles.
 
cocojo 
Aug. 12, 2010 5:46 pm
let me know if you need any instructions on any of these.
 
Janet 
Aug. 13, 2010 5:32 pm
Oh my, I have done some similar molding. I have done suckers, painted molded (very time consuming), I love the suggestion of the Merkens disc and m&m, I did a rolo in the centre and pressed a pecan after warmed in oven to make a turtle. I also used to boil condensed milk in the can to create caramel and molded turtle chocolates with pecans or used almonds. Yum. What are buckeyes???? I am not familiar with that. What was your best seller?
 
cocojo 
Aug. 14, 2010 4:31 pm
My business was only in truffles..so that's all we sold. Buckeye's are a local Ohio recipe...Buckeye being a native tree that has large chestnut type things on it. The candy is a peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate leaving a small part of the peanut ball showing..to look like the "buckeye" from the tree. do a google search ..all the recipes are the same ...I don't use parafin in my dipping chocolate as some do. Let me know if you can't find it and I'll send you one.
 
cocojo 
Aug. 14, 2010 4:32 pm
I see there's a buckeye recipe on AR>
 
cocojo 
Aug. 14, 2010 4:36 pm
Be careful Janet ...they're addictive!
 
Janet 
Aug. 15, 2010 9:59 am
I saved this recipe, thanks for suggesting it. I think my mother-in-law makes something similar at Christmas. Looks good.....I never used parafin either but I think the Neilson's chocolate that I used to use had some in it because it was less expensive than the Merckens and it went a longer way....
 
 
 
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cocojo

Member Since
May 2009

Cooking Level
Professional

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Painting/Drawing, Charity Work

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About Me
Loving life at 50ish. Kids are gone and I'm focusing on my career! I enjoyed running a chocolate truffle business for 3 years and now teach adults and children about chocolate. I also teach hands on cooking classes at a local cooking school and am writing my first cookbook! Please visit me at my blog www.allrecipes.com/cook/givethemfood
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook almost anything but particularly enjoy Italian. I have been studying Vegetarian and Vegan cooking for the last few years and love to make healthy meals.
My favorite family cooking traditions
from scratch cinnamon buns on Christmas morning...they take forever but Oh! so worth it!
My cooking triumphs
landing my dream job as a teaching chef.
My cooking tragedies
when I was teaching myself to cook way back in college, I made these wonderful oatmeal raisin cookies for my roomies....only problem was I forgot the flour! The cookies became one big mass that overflowed the cookie sheet and made a huge mess in the oven!
 
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