Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Wanted to let you all know that we have revised the Small Town Living Compilation Cd's to encompass all issues of the magazine through to Aug/Sept. 2009! That means that you receive 18 issues of the magazine on a cd! Over 1,000 pages of information!
What a terrific gift for yourself, a friend, or family member!
Stop by the website at www.stliving.net to order your copy now!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Spring/Summer garden season is pretty much behind us now,but that does not mean that we cannot be doing something in our yards or gardens that will be of benefit to them come next Spring when the gardening season again starts in full swing. So just what can be done in and for the garden during those dull,gray days of late Fall and when those cool days of December are nearly upon us?
Well this is the time to actually look around and access your garden and yard.
Are there any limbs that are dead or dying on any of your shrubs? Now is the time to remove them.
Don't just discard them against the curb..you can actually make a small pile of them against a fence to assist birds during the winter months to have a bit of shelter.After the snow and cold has passed, then of course feel free to discard them.
Have you had a lot of leaves fall from the trees in your yard this Fall? Rake them up and instead of bagging them up and putting them out on the curb, use those leaves to mulch your flower beds to keep your plants extra warm during the winter. The mulch of leaves will help protect tender roots and as the leaves decay they add nutrients to your soil. If you have an over abundance of leaves, add the extras to your compost pile.
Although a lot of the plants and flowers that we are used to seeing bloom during the Spring and summer have now gone dormant, we can still add a bit of color and fun to our yards during this time. How you might ask?
Well, late Fall and Winter time is a terrific time to start helping the birds in your backyard.
Set up bird feeders and keep them full. Provide a daily clean water source.
String popped popcorn onto the branches of the trees in your yard for a bit of festive decor. Totally "for the birds".
Slice orange pieces very thinly and string them onto string for the orioles.
Then don't stop there with enjoying your yard and garden and what it had to offer this year..check the shrubs and trees in your yard for any abandoned,left over nests from the Spring time. Place the nest into a paper bag and spray with a bit of bug spray and seal, Let set for a week then remove and decorate with fake birds and fake eggs if you'd like. Have a few branches that you've snipped from a few trees? Bring a handful of them in and arrange them in a clear glass vase..string them with a few bits of bead garland for flair or create a few tiny colorful tissue paper flowers and hot glue them to the branches.
Or attach small fake birds to the branches.
Have a few Fall leaves that you have gathered? Frame them in a picture frame.
Have fern leaves? You can use them as stencils by painting onto the leaves with green paint then lightly pressing them onto fabric. Use the fabric to create new toss pillows for your couch.
These are just a few ways that even though the garden may not be in bloom during the Fall and Winter..you can still enjoy the beauty of nature.
Just a bit differently..and a bit "outside of the box".
Have fun decorating and enjoying nature and your garden year round.
~The Victory Gardener!~
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Shame on me for not having posted here in a while. Please forgive me. I've been a wee bit busy as of late. But..here I am again.:0)
And here are a few gardening tips for you!
Let's talk about Trees:
This is the time of year when those that have had a garden this Spring and Summer have begun the process of either sowing their Fall gardens in areas that still have not encountered freezing temperatures(things like broccoli,snow peas, and lettuces), or for those that have already encountered frosty evenings or even snow those gardens have been laid to rest for the year.
What has been leftover has been either tilled under, or uprooted and cast into the compost bins to become soil addends for next Spring.Or quickly canned up to use for the winter pantry.
So, what to do when the garden season has drawn to a close?
Start planning for the next season!
If you had the joy of planning and planting out your first garden this past year you have no doubt learned quite a bit through the process. A few of the what to do's and what not to do's. Write these things down in a garden journal. Yes!... you should create a garden journal if you have not done so yet.
In another post I will share with you how to start a garden journal, so don't panic if you hadn't thought of that... you can just start one for next year. No worries.
Anyhow..back to the topic... So..now that the garden has been put to rest you can start planning for next year.
I'd like to suggest that you start thinking about trees.
Do you have trees in your garden area,or in your yard that are actually dual purpose trees? Trees that provide both shade and food?
If not, this is the time to start thinking about expanding what you grow to include fruit or nut bearing trees.
Gardening does not just include a vegetable plot, but gardening also includes fruit and nut producing specimens as well.
Early Spring is a good time to purchase and plant fruit trees and nut trees. Why? Because if you live in an area prone to freezing temperatures and you try to plant trees right ahead of frosty temperatures or snowy nights...well your trees will suffer. The young trees will not have had a chance to get their roots established well enough to withstand the elements. Where as trees planted in early spring have a little bit better chance to slowly get themselves established for the seasonal changes to come.That is not to say that some specimens can't be planted in the Fall, you just must be very careful that the tree has plenty of time to begin to get established before cold and freezing weather sets in.Root systems on young saplings/young trees are tender.
When choosing a fruit or nut tree variety do your research!
Look at the growth descriptions of the plant. How tall does it grow? How wide do the branches spread out? How long does the tree live?
Also an important thing to consider..what zone does this plant grow best in?
What are the water requirements? Does it need fertilizer, or any soil amendments to grow at its best?
Does it need another tree to help pollinate it to bear fruit?
Is it actually something that you and your family will enjoy eating the fruit from?
These are all factors to consider in your choices.
Then, by all means..when your tree or trees arrive from the nursery..that is if you have ordered them from a catalog or other source. Make sure that you follow the planting directions. Don't get in a hurry and think that you can just plop a tree in the ground and be done with it, and that you will have stellar results. It doesn't quite work that way.
Take your time and read the planting instructions.Make sure that you dig the hole properly. That you have the root ball at the correct depth. That you have adjusted the roots properly to allow them to spread out and to be able to grip the soil.
One thing that folks tend to do with young trees is they plant them, then forget them.
Please do not do this. Your young trees will need plenty of water for the first several months to 6 months, to even a year after being planted to establish their root systems properly.Of course do not drown them either. If you notice any curling of the young tender leaves, chances are your tree could use a bit of water.
Now where to find sources for good nut and fruit trees?
Here are some places to get you started.
Now is the time to request catalogs from these companies. It is always fun to start getting gardening catalogs in the late Fall and early December when the gardens have been laid to rest..that is the time when we can fight a bit of the cabin fever that winter chill brings by pouring over lovely photos of things that we wish to grow and plotting and planning out next years gardens.
Provides some heirloom varieties of Apple Trees, also dwarf varieties for those with small yards.Cherry trees, blackberries, blueberries and more.
Provides Banana trees, and fig trees,pomegranates and more.
~The Victory Gardener!~
Monday, October 5, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Rake the fertilizer or compost into the soil. Create mounds that are at least six inches tall, as the collards can have roots that reach about two feet in depth.Space the rows at least two and a half to three feet apart.Sow the seed at a depth of 1/4 of an inch. Keep soil moistened. Seeds will germinate in about 7 days.
Once the plants reach about 6 inches tall thin them out to a spacing of at least 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.If you notice the leaves on your collard plants starting to have a paler green color to them instead of a rich deep green color, you will need to add a side dressing of fertilizer to each row of plants.Add only one teaspoon of fertilizer per plant, mix the fertilizer into the soil well and water in. This may need to be done every 6 weeks as the plants grow.
Begin harvesting the leaves from the plants when the plants reach about 10 inches tall. Harvest from the bottom of the plants,discard the leaves at the very bottom (the first 3-4 leaves), as they can be tougher, then harvest the others,leaving the upper leaves on the plant.You can also choose to harvest all at once, by simply cutting the plants down when they are about 12 inches tall.----------------------------
Growing Mustard Greens:
------------------------Mustard greens are a fast growing green that pack plenty of nutritional value.Being ready to harvest in about 45 days from seed sowing.
Mustard greens can be eaten either raw or cooked.They add a bit of pep to the salad, and are a great winter time green that freezes well for use in soups, or as an accompaniment to meats like pork chops,ham, and other hearty winter time fare.
Mustard greens are a "cut and come again" crop, meaning you can cut what you need from the plants as you need it, through to winter frost.
----------------- Direct sow the mustard seed into the garden. No need to make rows for the mustard greens really, as they can be grown rather close together.You can even create a raised bed specifically for this variety.
Sow the seed at a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 inch deep. Allow to grow until the plants reach about 2 inches in height then thin to 3 inches to 5 inches apart.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I'll be planting some bean varieties tomorrow in our raised beds in the back yard, although our home is currently for sale I figure I might as well try growing something for our freezer that is a fast grower..the bush beans take only about 2 months from seed to harvest to grow and if the house does not sell within that time frame at least I'll be assured that I have a couple of varieties to freeze for winter use.
And if the house does manage to get sold within a 60 day period then the new owners can enjoy some fresh veggies..I won't mind...smiles...but I'll at least have a chance to get to "play in the dirt" a little bit more this year. :0)
I'll be planting some of the following varieties of bush beans:
Royal Burgundy, Provider, Jackson Wonder Butterbean, and Queen Anne Blackeye Pea...all fast growers and all of them grow no taller than about 26 inches tall.
I am also going to stop back by our local Kmart and check to see if any of their plastic garden pots remain on sale at 70 percent off! I managed to score a great deal last week on 11 plastic pots that were normally priced at $9.99 each..I snagged them for only $3 each..saving myself a total of $77 dollars! wow!
I used 8 of those big pots to pot up 39 varieties of bearded iris rhizomes that I had received from Stoney Creek Iris (which by the way sells lovely varieties of beareded iris)..so do check them out next Spring if you are in the market for irises. Absolutely lovely varieties offered there.
Anyhow..back to the pots..I'm hoping to be able to snag about 3 more large pots if they are on sale, and use them to get some cut and come again lettuce varieties started for Fall and winter salads.
I have some nice varieties I want to get planted..like the Tom Thumb mini lettuces, and some mache corn salad, and oak leaf lettuce.
Wishing you all an absolutely lovely week, and Happy Gardening!
~The Garden Goose!~
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Growing Turnip Greens:
Turnip greens offer you a "two for one" benefit. Not only are the green leaves edible, but the roots of the turnip are also edible, and can be cooked similar to potatoes.
Turnips will grow best in a well draining soil with a PH level of about 6.5 .
Create a row by mounding the soil up to about 4 inches tall.Space rows twelve inches apart. Plant the seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch.Keep the soil evenly moist. The seedlings should germinate in about 4 days.
Once the seedlings begin to emerge thin the plants to 4 inches apart when they reach about 2 inches tall.
Once the leaves start developing, you'll want to harvest them when they reach about 4 to 5 inches in size for the best flavor.You'll want to remove the leaves from the outermost sections, leaving the inner leaves. If you are wanting to harvest the root of the plant, do not harvest from the plant a second time, as doing so takes away from the development of the root itself, as the plant then has to put its growth effort into producing new leaves instead of allowing the root to develop more.If you'd like to use the root in cooking, harvest it when it is about 3 inches in diameter.
If you'd like to just harvest the leaves from the plant, then you should be able to obtain at least 2 leaf harvests from the plant during its growth.Just remember to harvest from the outer leaves,and when the leaves are 4-5 inches in size.
~The Victory Gardener~
Friday, July 3, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
But do you know that not only are some flowers great to look at, they can also add quite the flavor enhancement to your brunch, lunch or dinner plate?
Thursday, June 4, 2009
"Small Town Living" is now available online at:
Beginning Home Schooling
Farming Your Produce Aisla
..... and more
Feel free to share the e-zine with family and friends.
Also we'd like to invite you to be a part of our online community. Where we share about backyard homesteading, self sustainability, and "bringing back the simpler ways of living".
Here you'll find a community of caring, sharing, and learning together.
Hope to see you there!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So...just what is this stuff, and how is it used and grown?
For starters... Mache Corn Salad had its beginnings in Europe, where it was originally foraged for by European peasants during the time of King Louis XIV. It was then introduced to the world...so the saying goes... by the king's gardener.Something tells me this gardener knew a good thing when he/she saw it.
This plant now grows wild, basically as a "common weed"... in parts of Europe, Asia, and even Africa.
So...what is so special about something that is known as a "common weed" in some parts of the world?
Well, you'll find it quite interesting that this "common weed" contains quite a few vitamins and nutrients that your body would thank you for.
It contains up to three times more vitamin C than lettuce does, it also contains vitamins B6 and B9, as well as omega- 3 fatty acids. Pretty good if I dare say for a mere "weed".
So, what other redeeming qualities does this mere "weed" offer to the gardener?...
Well, it actually is said to be one of the mildest and tenderest tasting salad greens with an ever so slight "nutty" taste.
It pairs well with most any salad green, adding a nice contrast to salads.It can even be eaten like spinach if you cook the leaves quickly.
It also combines nicely with fruits for a light summer salad,or you can simply eat it as a salad all by its little lonesome.
O.k...so I've convinced you that this is a pretty cool little salad green packed with vitamins, good taste,and with a pretty neat history...now... just what does it look like , and how to grow it?
Mache Corn Salad grows in a rosette shape cluster close to the ground...the plants have spoon shaped leaves that can grow up to 6 inches long, but the plant itself stays at a size of about 1 foot across.
When the plant does go to flower, it first sends up a stalk from the center of the plant that reaches about 1 foot tall, it then produces tiny blue flowers.
How to grow it:
Mache Corn Salad is a cool weather green, and does best when started in the early spring, or started before the first frost in fall.
This little plant actually can tolerate frost and freezing temperatures, but you will want to mulch with straw.
Sow the seeds directly into the garden(seeds can be found at: www.myvictorygarden.etsy.com). Planting seed no deeper than 1/4 inch.Seeds begin to emerge in about 10 to 20 days.
Full sun or part shade. Well drained soil. Do not let the soil dry out.
When the plants have developed a set of 4 leaves, plant them 4 inches apart, and space the rows at 1 ft. apart.
You can begin harvesting leaves from your Mache Corn Salad when the leaves are 1-2 inches long, or you can wait until the plant reaches maturity at 60 days, and harvest the entire plant for use in your salad.
Remember if growing this heirloom variety of greens to always set aside at least one plant as your "seed saving" specimen. Do not harvest from your "seed saving" plant, merely let it grow until it reaches maturity and starts to send up the flower stalk. Once the flower stalk starts to dry a little bit you can cut the flower stalk off with a pair of scissors and collect the seeds for next years harvest.
~The Victory Gardener~
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I have been dreaming, and planning out my new yard/gardens..at least in my head a bit...but...
It will be so fun to plan out a new yard/flower gardens...and to plan out vegetable gardens as well. I have been saving heirloom flower and vegetable seeds for a little while now, and have a pretty good collection of things...fun, fun, fun!
Monday, April 13, 2009
The perfect time to host a garden party on the lawn with friends or family!
We've gathered some tips and ideas to help you to begin a lovely tradition of an annual garden party celebration in your own back yard.
First you'll need to decide just when you'd like to host this type of event..and you'll need a few invitations to send out.
You can hand craft lovely cards from scrapbooking paper, and other pretty specialty papers.
Plan to have the event 4 to 6 weeks after the invitations are sent.
Why?... because the fun activity I will be mentioning for your guests to be involved in takes about 4 weeks to develop.
When sending out your invitations try to limit the guest list to no more than 12 when first starting out, you don't want to get boggled down with preparations and miss out on the actual festivities yourself.Once you become a "pro" at hosting a garden party you can expand on your list of guests a bit..but for now..start out small.
In with your invitation let your guests know that they will need to bring 13 tiny seedling starts of only one type of plant variety to the garden party with them.(this number includes you the host in with the festivities/plant swap)
These can be started in pretty paper cups or other small containers.Tell your guests to clearly write on the container the name of the plant,or to include a tag of some kind with the name on it.
Remind them to start the seedlings as soon as they receive their invitations.This gives everyone about 1 month to have healthy plants to share with each other.
You can choose whether the plant swap will be all vegetables, all flowers, or an "anything goes" type of plant swap. You can also specify "heirloom varieties only". The choice is yours.
Set up a seperate table specifically for the plants.Have the first guest to arrive assist you with making sure that each plant variety is set on the table .
At the end of the garden party each guest will choose one plant from each variety brought, winding up with quite a variety to add to their gardens.
Have fun with the gathering table decorations.
Set out a few vases of fresh cut flowers.If you have a few pretty bird figurines or pretty Spring time animal figurines incorporate those in amongst the vases of flowers.Or purchase a few pots of pretty flowers at your local nursery, and using a pretty fabric create a cover for the pot base and tie with a ribbon bow.
Use your nice china and silverware.Make your guests feel very special.
You can set a pretty pair of garden gloves tied with jute and pretty name tags attached. Set them by each place setting for fun, or small gift bags filled with candies ,or herbal teas, or writing items such as note pads that they can keep a small garden journal in.You can even gift each guest with a small personalized notebook that you have decorated for them that say's "------------'s Garden Journal"
Keep your guests engaged in conversation.You can do this by having a few cards with fun garden related questions prepared before the party. Set a few of them at each place setting. Questions such as: "What was the weirdest thing you have ever seen while digging in your garden?
"What is your least favorite plant, and why?", "What is your most favorite gardening memory?", "If you could be named after a plant what would you be called?"...you get the idea now. Have fun with it.
You can also borrow a book from your library on tea parties,or other party themed books for even more ideas.
Have easy to prepare foods available.
You'll want items that are quick,but delicious. The host certainly doesn't want to be in the kitchen with food preparations while everyone else has fun.
Below is an easy menu we have gathered for you.
Mint Apple Juleps
2 cups fresh chopped mint leaves
8 cups apple juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Tie mint in a cheesecloth and put into a large saucepan.
Add the 8 cups of apple juice and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat and discard the cheesecloth.
Stir in the fresh squeezed lime juice.
Serve over crushed ice.Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
(8 servings/recipe can easily be doubled to accommodate the number of guests)
You will need:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 sticks butter at room temp (do not substitute)
sugar for coating cut outs
cookie cutter of your choice (the fluted ones like shown work BEAUTIFULLY)
flour for dusting your work area
Set your oven to 375
1 stick softened butter
4-5 cups confectioners sugar
flavoring of choice (I use 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a 1/2 tsp coconut & lemon)
Coloring if you like
I use parchment lined cookie sheets.
Cut the butter into the 2 cups of flour with a pastry cutter or fork until it is mealy…like cornmeal. Add cream all at once and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Roll 1/3 the dough out adding just enough flour to keep it from sticking to the surface (I use a silicone mat). DO NOT over work your dough or your cookies will be tough. Cut what you can from this rolling and set the scraps to the side to use ONE more time. After the second rolling, discard the dough - too “used” to use. Place your cut outs into a plate of sugar to coat.Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and prick each one with a fork (3-4 times).Bake about 10-11 minutes until set…not browned. Remove to a wire rack till cooled.Mix your filling ingredients with a mixer until light. Spread one cookie and top with another. Makes a YUMMY sandwich cookie!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
A lovely French heirloom bibb -type variety of lettuce that dates back to before 1885.Also known as "Marvel of Four Seasons. This is another variety mentioned in the papers of the "Vilmorin Seed Company" of France in 1885.Pretty reddish colored leaves have a crispy,excellent flavor.A Butterhead variety that is ready to harvest in 60 days from seed sowing.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
HELLO SPRING!!! Today it is "officially" Spring! ...Yippee!
Have been listing new items in the garden shop over at www.myvictorygarden.etsy.com
Love hearing from folks that are planning their gardens, some are new gardeners, some are veteran gardeners, but the fact remains..all of them are excited that Spring is now officially here... as of today in fact!
It is so nice to get little notes like this one from a customer in Idaho:
"Thank you for posting seeds on etsy. We've recently formed a 12 family Victory Garden with a teacher farm. The folks there are leading/teaching their trade of farming on a 1/4 acre plot this season.I am ordering these seeds for my own raised bed gardens though, and will share your site with all."
It is letters like this that really make having the garden shop so very much fun for me! I really,really enjoy that aspect of it.
I did manage to get some green bean seeds planted in our 4 ft by 8 ft raised bed....my littlest children assisted me..and already our green bean crop has about 5 inch tall plants. Grant it the chickens did decide to feast upon some of the wee seedlings, and to scratch some of the bean seeds to the surface..the rascals!
But we do have at least half of what we planted coming up just fine, and undisturbed by the chickens..so I think we'll see a decent crop from it.
We also have quite a number of strawberries showing up on the berry plants..but again..trying to keep the chickens from discovering them.
This time of year the amaryllis are starting to pop up in the pots they have been planted in and some have already begun blooming. So very pretty.
The days here have been delightfully sunny and breezy...yes, Spring is here!
I will be back to posting some gardening tips very soon.
You see we are currently in the "wrapping things up phase" on trying to get our home ready to be placed on the market. We wound up being several months behind on the deadline I had wanted to have things completed by..but now things are moving again full steam ahead..and life has gotten a wee bit hectic to say the least.
I do have some topics I will be covering and very soon..so please do not give up on me.
In the meantime do stop by the seed shop and check out the varieties of seed available there. I will be adding some more lettuce varieties and bean varieties soon..but already there is a nice selection posted. So..if you have not yet selected seed for your garden, I invite you to stop by. The seeds offered are all heirloom varieties.
Hoping you are enjoying some marvelous weather in your area and making plans for your gardens.
Have a wonderful weekend.
~The Victory Gardener~