Kelly’s 2012 To-Do List

Even the kittens will help, not hinder, the New Productivity of 2012. I feel like Erik really threw down a challenge with his mammoth resolution list, so here’s my to-do list for 2012. It’s much less ambitious. I think I’ll schedule the concrete activities for certain weeks and months, and post a calender to keep me on track: -No lingering over breakfast, no excuses such as “just one more cup of tea” or &#...

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What Are Your Favorite Compost Materials?

...ot of expensive lab tests. And I never seem to have enough materials even for our modest vegetable garden. So in the past I’ve used: horse bedding chicken manure from our own chickens alfalfa hay (kinda spendy these days) straw (takes a long time to break down) spent grain from a local brewery vegetable scraps from the farmer’s market Once again I’ve got to build another pile and I’m interested in hearing from readers a...

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Our favorite way to cook zucchini

...water bubbles off. Saute until there’s no water pooling at the bottom of the pan. Until you start to run the risk of browning the zucchini. Then take it off the stove. Add salt and pepper to taste. How long will this take? It varies by how much zucchini you’re cooking, and how wet it is, how deep the pan is, etc., but for a general guideline, when we shred up one big boy, enough to fill a 11″ skillet, it takes 20-30 minutes t...

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Compost Bin Project From Our New Book

...ized pile.  I’ve got two bins, side by side, but wish I had three. Mine also look like hell since I put them together in a hurry. I much prefer the bin the folks at Motuv in Kansas City created: To answer ahead of time a question that always comes up–am I concerned about contaminated pallets? In short, no. A longer explanation will have to wait for another blog post. Leave a comment on how you store compost. And if you’ve g...

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Vegetable Garden Update: Too Much Salad

It’s amazing what you can grow in just a 4 foot by 8 foot area. From top to bottom in the picture above: Escarole mix: Misticanza Di Indivie E ScaroleLettuce: Lattuga Quattro StagioniChicory: Cicoria Variegata Di CastelfrancoDandelion GreensSwiss Chard: Verde Da Taglio Approximately half the bed is devoted to salad makings. Combined with another 2 foot by 4 foot area of arugula elsewhere in our yard, we’ve had a whole lot of salads...

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Advances in Gardening Series: The Perennial Herb Bed, Patience and Plant Spacing and Breaking Your Own Rules

.... First, it makes both financial and horticultural sense to plant young, small plants. Small plants are cheaper, they catch up with the gallon-sized perennials in no time at all, and will probably be healthier in the long run. The second is a question of spacing. Perennial plants used in landscaping tend to be bushy things, plants which will need some room when they grow up. Too often they don’t get the space they need and end up looking pa...

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Sun Bleaching Really, Really Works

Line drying in the sun is a time honored means of brightening whites. But I had never guessed how effective it can be. I have a pair of white bath towels which developed mysterious, spreading yellow stains all over them, stains which I could not remove no matter what I tried (Borax, oxygen bleaches, stain removers), and which I may have actually worsened by a final, desperate flirtation with chlorine bleach a few years ago. The towels were in...

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Dumpster Herb Score

...d feral fruit.  It looks like they were clearing out their plants and flowers for Valentines Day, because out by the cardboard piles we found a grocery cart heaped full of wilted flowers and random potted mums. (Joes really needs to start a composting program, don’t you think?) We sorted through the cart and found four potted herbs, only slightly distressed. One was a lemon balm, which I’ve wanted for some time. The others, I admit, I...

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My Sooper Seekrit Compost Pile

...so. That’s kitchen waste for two people who cook a lot, but no yard trimmings, obviously.  I’d dump the pail in there, and cover the scraps with handfuls of hay or dry leaves. Sometimes the level would raise high, but this stuff shrinks fast, so it maintained a level one tire deep most of the time, and would have done so until compost started building up at the bottom. Eventually I would have put the top tire on the ground and shove...

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I like my chamomile stressed

...It shoots up overnight and throws off blossoms like crazy, its one goal being to spread seed before it dies. In the past, I’ve harvested chamomile from volunteer plants in my yard. I never planted or tended them, but one or two would get about knee high, and from those one or two plants I’d gather all the flowers I needed by remembering to pick a handful every time I went in the back yard. The thing about chamomile is the more you pi...

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