Posts Tagged ‘garden’

crimson and clover

nothing quite says, ‘you should just stay in bed this morning’, when your alarm clock goes off while its still dark out and you can hear the pitter-pattering of rain pouring down outside

do i really have to walk to the bus stop today? was the first thought that crossed my mind… there’s something none-too-settling about getting on a bus in the morning with wet cuffs and soggy shoes that never seem to dry out by the time you make it to work… yes, that is usually me squeaking down the hallway

wait one HOT second – the hubster was still here! which means one GREAT thing – a RIDE to the bus stop, SCORE!! i guess he got my ESP memo and decided to ferry it in this morn… sweeeeeet :0)

but complaining about the weather is something i decided – after an impromptu conversation while waiting for the elevator yesterday – to NOT DO any more. why continue to complain about something you have absolutely no control over? Mother Nature is going to do whatever she pleases, so we just have to take what we’re given!

and come to think of it, i actually kind of wanted it to rain today. midway through last week my package from Territorial Seed Company came in the mail… including a big ol’ bag of crimson clover seeds (i talked about the green manure/living mulch/cover crop concept in THIS POST)

i tore out the rest of the withering plant remains from the garden this weekend – but left the second crop of beets and carrots to continue to grow – tilled the soil, spread about the seeds, covered them in a thin layer of top soil and watered away

and NOW… we sit back and wait for the seeds to sprout. hopefully today’s rain will give them the jumpstart they need to begin to work their magic on my soil 🙂

living mulch

living mulch
aka green manure
aka what the heck are you talking about MEL?!

yeah, i was just as amazed this past weekend when i heard about this concept by, none other than, Farmer T… yes, as you can tell, we discuss farming and gardening topics quite often

using {specifically white dutch} clover as a cover crop is nothing new to the gardening scene – just mine i guess – THE MAN (Masanobu Fukuoka) wrote extensively about this concept and you can read lots more about him HERE

his method of farming is pretty simple:
no machines
no chemicals
no weeding

just my style!

so what is living mulch?

straight from Wikipedia:

a cover crop interplanted or undersown with a main crop, and intended to serve the functions of a mulch, such as weed suppression and regulation of soil temperature.

planting white clover in your garden can reap many benefits:

it prevents most weeds and grass from forming in your garden beds

the same as ‘regular’ mulch does, the clover absorbs most of the sun before the soil does

it will level out the nitrogen in the soil to help the plants grow

can help break up a hardpan and greatly improve tilth

which are needed to pollinate fruiting vegetables

how do you get started?

hit up a seed company (like these guys), order yourself a bag o’ seeds
scatter the seeds around your garden in the areas you want it to grow (preferably on a not-so-sunny day)
sit back and wait for the seeds to germinate and begin to grow into your very own
no tilling required

luv a loofah

did you know you can grow a cucumber/zucchini-looking plant in your garden that can not only feed your family, but make it so you never have to buy a sponge at the store again?!

i learned about the Luffa plant this week and just had to share my findings!

most people – like i did – think loofah sponges come from the sea… they actually grow right in a garden inside of a vegetable that looks like a zucchini sized cucumber

the luffa plant is a member of the cucurbit family (like cucumbers, gourds and pumpkins) and can also be refered to as loofah, smooth loofah, loofah sponge, loofa, luffa, loufa, loufah, sponge gourd, Chinese okra, elephant okra, and dishrag gourd

the vines of the plant can spread or climb up to 30 feet, so plan on a lot of space if you’re going to be harvesting these. it takes about 4 months from the seed sprouting to get a sponge or just 3 months if you plan on eating it. if you’d like some more info on how to obtain seeds, grow and harvest this kewl plant hit up this site (

and surprisingly, there are a LOT of recipes floating around the web that use this… some examples:

Stir Fryed Luffa Squash

Steamed Luffa with Garlic and Chili Pepper Oil

Luffa Squash with Mushrooms

hmmm… sounds like something neat to add to the garden for next year!


its herb dryin time

man, i wish that went along better to the tune of Peanut Butter Jelly Time

anyways – that time of the year has come when the first frost is just around the corner and you realize you have this BASIL beast growing away in your herb garden

what do i do with it all?
wellz – the past couple of years you could bob and weave your way through my garage during the beginning of the fall, trying not to knock into one of the zillion bushels of herbs drying out. this method does work well, but, being the rather impatient one that i am, this year i just didnt feel like waiting the couple of weeks that it takes, then having to bag/jar it all up to either freeze or store in the pantry

thankfully Farmer T did the leg work on researching this awesome Dehydrator which takes just ONE DAY to dry out two 8oz jars of herbs – tooooo cool right?!

this is what just 4 stalks of my plant looks like laid out on the drying racks (oh yeah – and when the directions say to ‘cut the leaves in half lengthwise to aid in the drying process’, you may want to actually listen to them. they may have tested this a couple of times!)

of course – my trusty sous chefs were on hand to assist in all herb-prep matters

here’s just a couple of hours in – already starting to shrivel up

and boy were the pooches pooped by the 24 hour mark!

keeping a watchful eye on the dehydrator is such a tough job :0)


i ended up ordering another set of racks (they come in packs of two) and two more sets of the fine mesh tray inserts that lay on the rack to prevent smaller herbs from slipping through the cracks

i have sage cooking away in there now, ready to pack in jars when i get home from work tonight… LOTS more herbies in the garden to dry out for the season!!

lazy mondays

just dropping in to let you know i am still here!
yes, i survived the wine festival and even made it home with a clear enough head to cook up the acorn squash thats been growing away in the garden

we had a great labor day weekend, i hope you enjoyed yours too
as you can see by the pooches, we’re spent – but loved every second of it!

i’ll be back tomorrow with a more thorough post {i promise!}

the rest of the week will be filled with:
a trip to the beach
the wine fest – reviews and pics
acorn squash delicioso-ness
a ‘Mel’s homemade salsa’ giveaway
and a couple of new additions to the BLOG :0)

simple salsa recipe

while the carolinas were getting blasted by hurricane Irene – and the Jersey shore was anxiously awaiting her arrival – i thought there was no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than being in one of my favorite places, the kitchen, for a couple of hours with one of my favorite people, (my Grams – one of our hurricane house guests) making some salsa and canning it up for future consumption and gifts for family and friends

i found THIS recipe through Simply Recipes and pretty much followed it to a T. it worked perfectly and the end result was so incredibly scrumptious! just the right amount of spice and the fresh ingredients from the garden tantalized the tastebuds in my mouth like no other

we now have 12 jars of this goodness… yuuuuup – they ALL ‘dinked‘!!!  i think i’m really getting the hang of this whole canning thing now – and my new kit worked awesomely, i love it and highly recommend it to anyone, plus you can’t beat the price – $30!

the bestest part = there was a bowl’s worth of salsa leftover that didn’t make it to the jars and we got to enjoy it ‘fresssssh off the presses’ while we had our eyes glued to the weather channel and listened to the wind and rain beginning to roar by


perhaps you have seen some of these crazy – should be dwelling on mars – creations popping up in your yard over the past few days

pimp myspace

i have seen a bunch on my walk to and from my bus stop in the morning and couldnt help but take a pic … yes, that weirdo on the side of the street taking pictures in your front yard probably was me!

so – like usual, the questions started brewing in my brain:

why are we seeing them?
what do you do to get rid of them?
how can they effect us and our pets?

WHY they form:

the record breaking recent rainfall we have been experiencing is definitely a major contender in the reason department. but also – per the weekend gardener

Lawn mushrooms are simply the product of fungi infested in your yard soil in one or more areas of your yard. They are actually the fruit of this fungus, and feed off different sources that could be present.

Lawn mushrooms feed off decaying matter such as:
Old mulch
Animal waste
Rotting tree stumps

Abundance of food sources for the fungi in your yard soil will pretty much ensure the presence of lawn mushrooms in your yard. The more food sources for the fungi, the bigger the lawn mushrooms will grow.

That’s the reason sometimes the lawn mushrooms will be very large, and sometimes they will be very small. It all depends on the amount of food sources the fungi has available.

WHAT to do with them and about them:

if they are already popping up in your yard you can pick them – mainly if you want to deter children and pets from eating them – and throw them away, but by the time they have formed, you are already too late, because they are forming from underground mycelia.

controlling them:
reduce over irrigation
improve drainage
remove thatch and aerate

i don’t think i need to say this, but you never know who’s out there reading, DO NOT eat them… surprisingly the APP is reporting that many people in the Garden state have been hospitalized due to eating mushrooms they found  and thought were edible

HOW they can affect us:

well, as you can read in the article linked above, you can end up in the hospital from ingesting them.

symptoms of mushroom poisoning range from GI issues like vomiting and diarrhea to death. they can be especially fatal to pets too – so if you see them in your yard, get rid of them before fido decides to have one as an appetizer

PS – i really hope this post didnt turn you into wild ‘shroom haters
most of them dont harm your lawn or cause any damage, they’re just nature being nature, decomposing organic matter and releasing nutrients back into the soil for plant growth