It’s Coming…

As promised by the weatherman, it’s warm enough to do some yard work and I found some goodies.

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Peonies…

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Flox…

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Crocus!
This is the one time of year I will gladly brag a little to my northern family.  They can remind me of this when it’s 110 degrees in August and I’m watering twice a day.

A Little Nudge to Spring

I am ready for spring!  I don’t know about you but this winter seems to be dragging.  It could be that my family has been cooped up for three weeks alternating sickness or the fact that we’ve had almost no snow to play in this winter but I am so ready for spring!  What do I do when I’m ready to see some new life and encouragement?  I plant things.

Seriously, I know it’s only February but one of the benefits of living in the South is sometimes these winter experiments work!!!  So, the other day I drug out my little shovel, my rake and my newly delivered bag of seeds and headed to the back 40 (square feet of raised bed.)  After a quick perusal of my stash I decided to experiment with sweet peas, broccoli, radish and beets.  Their not called winter veggies for nothin’ (I hope!)  So in they went with a good dousing of MegaSea from Sweetcorn Organic Nursery and a healthy sprinkling of MegaStart worked into the soil.

I have hopes, high ones!  It’s supposed to be 60 dregrees today so I’m thinking I should be picking peas by Easter, right?!?  Well, maybe my patience will be exercised in this endeavor, but the hope that spring is coming will keep me encouraged for another few weeks til I see the redbuds showing signs of life.

Winter Harvest

DSCN4169What a discovery!!!  The kiddos and their buddies offered to dig up one of my beds so I could be ready to plant.  They discovered our potato plants were NOT a failure!!!  24 good ones and a few rotten for the compost bin!  If you’ve never had fresh potatoes you need to try them; it’s enlightening.

In case you need an idea how to cook them, let me share our favorite scalloped potato recipe.  It’s tried and true and absolutely scrumptious.

Simple Scalloped Potatoes

Simple Scalloped Potatoes

I’ve tried cheesy, I’ve tried buttery, I’ve tried spicy, complicated and highly recommended but NOTHING beats this recipe for scalloped potatoes.

6-8 Potatoes, peeled & sliced

Salt & pepper

Heavy cream

Tricky, I know.  Place a layer of potatoes in a buttered dish (make sure your dish is not too shallow – this will bubble up).  Sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper.  Layer potatoes with salt & pepper until you use up the potatoes you’ve prepared.  Pour heavy cream over the potatoes until you can see it coming up the edge (full but not drowning.)  Bake in 400 degree over until brown and bubbly (45 min to an hour)

Cedar Arbor… update

arborI would love to share my easy-peasy 1…2…3 directions to building my cedar arbor but it just wasn’t.  I found directions for the project at thevioletfern.blogspot.com and I’m thankful but it took 3 days, 5 children, 3 adults, 1 saw, 1 sawhorse, 1 drill, 1 measuring tape, several pencils, 2 bandages and a bunch of wood screws to get it done.

As you can see the top is still a little bare but a wind storm tore a branch from our front sycamore tree so with a little help from my kiddos and friends (whoops!  add 4 more to the children tally) we will have the branches for the top today.

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Seed Time! with update

newLogoSmallerUpdate: Brian at SweetCorn offered my friends a great coupon.  If you order between now and March 15th enter the code THANKYOU15 to receive 15% off your order.  Most orders qualify for free shipping as well!

Today’s the day I dream of since Christmas.  It’s time to order my seeds.

I’ve had amazing success (despite my haphazard habits) with seeds from this company.  They have soil amendments and nutrients that have produced incredible results in my kitchen garden and two raised beds.

My shopping list this year includes

Spring:  Atomic Red Heirloom Carrot, French Breakfast Heirloom Radish, Snowball Heirloom Cauliflower, Little Marvel Heirloom Pea, Di Ciccio Heirloom Certified-Organic Broccoli

Summer: Jalapeno M Heirloom Certified-Organic Pepper, Early Sweet Sugar Pie Pumpkin, National Pickling Heirloom Cucumber, Chives Heirloom Certified-Organic Herb, Acorn Queen Heirloom Certified-Organic Squash, Crenshaw Heirloom Cantaloupe, Crimson Sweet Heirloom Watermelon, Aji Dulce Heirloom Pepper, Costoluto Fiorentino Heirloom Tomato, Cocozelle Italian Zucchini Heirloom Squash, Chioggia Heirloom Certified-Organic Beet, Asian Yard Long Asparagus Pole Heirloom Bean, Martian Giant Slicer Heirloom Certified-Organic Tomato 

Experiment of the year:  Violetta Di Chioggia Heirloom Artichoke Seed 

Every year I seem to think I have much more acreage than I do but we’ll see if I can fit it all in!!!

Cedar Garden Arbor

Qualified assistance at it's best
Qualified assistance at it’s best

I’ve been thinking about building a trellis for awhile.  After planting pumpkin and butternut squash in our two raised beds an

d having them trail up a lovely piece of chicken wire (supported by a broom handle when the fruit got too big) I started thinking of a permanent structure.   As usual, my thoughts went to lofty, complicated and usually expensive solutions involving trips to the depot, digging big holes and concrete.  And I wonder why my husband cringes when I start talking about these things.

Well, my neighbor just finished a cool cedar play set for our local elementary school constructed of reclaimed wood from our local nature center.  I attacked him as he got home one day with a load of extra poles.   He graciously relented to my pleading for enough poles to build my structure.

My three kiddos started their home school day with a lesson in working together as we hauled the poles down the street together to the back yard.