Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Thanks so much for being a reader of "The Victory Gardener!"~

Flower varieties that can be winter sown

I was thinking recently about items that can be winter sown...items that require a little bit of a "cold snap" to germinate.
Here are a few flower varieties :
Poppies
Echinacea
Calendula
Larkspur
Columbine
Cleome
Blackberry Lily
Lemon Balm
Butterfly Weed
Clematis
Marshmallow/Malvaceae
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~The Victory Gardener!~

Recently Featured...

My Victory Garden Shop was recently featured here:
http://www.paigeoneevents.com/blog/ on the 4th Day of Christmas post.
Yay! What fun!
~The Victory Gardener!~

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing You all a lovely Thanksgiving! And thank you for being a visitor to this blog. I really appreciate you.
~The Victory Gardener~

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Compilation Cd's Now Available at Small Town Living


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!

The Compilation CD Includes:

18 Issues of Small Town Living

Over 1022 Pages of Small Town Living Articles,
Stories and Photos.

Searchable Content - Find the stories and articles
you want in seconds.

Practical Advice on:
Gardening
Livestock
Small Business Guidance
Herbs
Crafting
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Late Fall- Early Winter Garden Chores



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..but here I am now..Let's Talk about Trees


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.
----------------
STARK'S BRO'S:
Provides some heirloom varieties of Apple Trees, also dwarf varieties for those with small yards.Cherry trees, blackberries, blueberries and more.
http://www.starkbros.com/access?action=category&categoryID=3&currentPage=2
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WILLIS ORCHARDS:
Provides Banana trees, and fig trees,pomegranates and more.
http://www.willisorchards.com/category/Fruit+Trees?gclid=COOcgs7XzZ0CFRQhnAod23uUsQ
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~The Victory Gardener!~

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Issue of Small Town Living e-zine on website

Just a note to let you know that
the new Oct./November 2009 issue of Small Town Living e-zine is now available online at:


Featured in this issue:
Buckeye Chickens

What We Learned Through Our CSA Adventure (one families adventure with their first year of having started a CSA(community supported agriculture)highly recommend this article if any of you are thinking of starting a CSA type farm)

My Journey To Veganism

Soap Making 101

The Do's and Don't's Of Moving To A Small Town

Gifts From the Pantry
....and more.

Please feel free to share the e-zine with family and friends. Thank you and Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A few Garden Quotes to share with you

I recently found a darling little book filled with garden quotes from different poets/writers from ages past. I thought I'd share a few of them here.

Some of these would look very cute embroidered on a tea towel, or used in artwork, or on handmade note cards or tags.
---------------
The love of gardening is a seed that never dies.
--------
Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps,
Perennial pleasures plants,
and wholesome harvest reaps.
----------
I wish everyone had a garden,
And would work in it himself.
The world would grow sweeter tempered at once.
----------------
To cultivate a garden is to walk with God.
----------------
The man who has planted a garden
feels that he has done something
for the good of the whole world.
-----------
Scatter seeds of kidness
Everywhere you go:
Scatter bits of courtesy-
Watch them grow and grow.

Gather buds of friendship:
Keep them till full grown:
You will find more blessings
Than you have ever known.
-------------------------

~The Victory Gardener!~

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More about Growing Greens...with Recipes and Storing Tips

Growing Collard Greens:
------------------------
Collard greens require a well draining soil as well. You can prepare the soil for your collard greens by either turning in a good compost matter at least 4 inches deep into the soil, or by using a fertilizer that is a 10-10-10 variety.

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.

Begin harvesting the outer leaves on your plants when they are 4 to 5 inches tall.If you choose the "cut and come again" method of harvesting remember to cut frequently for a steady harvest through to frost.If you choose to harvest the plants all at once, remember that they reach full maturity at about 45 days if you wish not to use them as a "cut and come again" variety of plant.
-----------------------
Storing of Greens:
------------------------------
With any of the greens make sure that you wash them thoroughly, checking the leaves over for any bugs or worms that may have attached themselves to the leaves. Swish in water very well and rinse until the leaves are clean. Wrap the greens in paper towels and store in plastic bags in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.
------------------
Freezing for later use:
-------------------------
All of these greens can be used for later dishes by freezing.
--------------------
You will need to do a fast blanch of the greens to prepare them for freezing.With any of these greens remove the stem ends and cut the leaves into smaller pieces.Make sure that the greens are all rinsed very thoroughly and free of bugs(unless of course you like the added protein...ha)

Separate the greens into one pound increments.You will need two very large stock pots.Have a large stock pot in your sink filled with 5 quarts of ice cold water.
Yes, using ice cubes in the water is a good idea, you want this water to be very cold.Using another heavy stock pot with a tight fitting lid fill this pot on your stove with 5 quarts of water.Bring to a steady rolling boil.Have a timer handy as you will need it.

Place the greens into the boiling water and immediately put the lid on and begin timing the greens immediately. Let them boil for 3 minutes exactly.Remove at the 3 minute mark and immediately dunk into the cold water bath.
Let set in the cold water bath for a full five minutes. Drain and pack into freezer bags,remove as much air as possible from the bags, and label.Immediately place into your freezer.Frozen greens will keep in your freezer for up to a year.
----------------------
Recipes:

--------------
Turnip Greens With Pot Likker
-----------------
(A good old Southern staple, this recipe comes from a War time era cookbook."Pot Likker" is the vitamin rich water that is left in the bottom of the pan after cooking the greens, this water has a good flavor from the greens, and is generally poured back over the greens prior to serving , and it is usually what the cornbread served alongside the greens is dipped into...yumm... good eatings!)
-----------
1/2 pound salt pork
1 quart cold water
4 quarts fresh turnip greens
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
---------------
Place the salt pork in cold water,heat to boiling and cook for 45 minutes.Wash the turnip greens in several waters and clean well.Put into the pot with the pork and cook for 1 hour.
Drain water from the greens and meat Reserving 1 1/2 cups of the water. Chop the greens rather fine and season well.Place greens on hot dish.
Arrange the pork over the top of the greens.Pour the 1 1/2 cup of hot water in which the greens were cooked over top of the greens and meat.

Serve with corn bread.
Makes 4 servings.

(***Hog jowl can be substituted for the salt pork) (****You can also cut up the root into small chunks and use in this recipe)
-----------------------------
Mustard Greens With Bacon
---------------------
Fry 6 slices of bacon in a large frying pan.Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the frying pan.
Meanwhile clean 1 pound of fresh mustard greens thoroughly.Remove stems and cut the greens into small pieces. Add the greens to a large saucepan of water until just covered.Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain.Add the greens to the skillet and add the bacon back in to the pan.
Now add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Simmer all together over a low heat for 5 minutes.Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with black eye peas and corn bread.

Makes about 4 servings.
-----------------------
Collards & Lentils
------------------
6 slices bacon
1 small onion,diced fine
1 garlic clove,chopped fine
1 pound fresh collard greens, cleaned and cut into small pieces,inner stems removed.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked lentils
------------------------
Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp.Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Set aside.Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.Add the onion and garlic into pan and saute until onion and garlic are tender and translucent.
Add the collard greens into the skillet and toss. Let cook until greens are tender, about 12 minutes.Add lentils and salt and pepper into pan, let heat through.
***Serve over steamed rice if desired.Goes well with pork chops or ham dishes.
Makes 4 servings.
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~Happy Gardening!~
~The Victory Gardener!~

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Time to plant a Fall Garden

Have you planned your Fall Garden?Still time to get varieties like greens(turnips, collard, mustard) in the ground...also things like bush beans, peas, lettuces, chard, endive going...also radishes, it is also the time to start planting garlic.
You'll find seed available for some of the above mentioned items at http://www.myvictorygarden.etsy.com/

--------------
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


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.
~Happy Gardening!~
~The Victory Gardener~

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!


Wishing you all a lovely Holiday weekend!

Happy 4th of July!

~The Victory Gardener!~

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recreate The White House Victory Garden In Your Own Backyard!

I had been wondering about what items were being grown in the new White House "Victory Garden" by the gardeners there, and recently came across this list of items that are/will be grown.
I thought it would be nice to share with you all, for those that may wish to recreate a "White House Victory Garden" in their own yards.I have put a red asterick next to the items that you can find heirloom seed for at: http://www.myvictorygarden.etsy.com/

~Enjoy! --- and Happy Gardening!

~The Victory Gardener!~
----------------------

Herbs:
Mint, garlic chives, chives, thyme, oregano, anise hyssop, sage, rosemary, marjoram, chamomile

Also:
Parsley, basil, Thai basil, cilantro, dill, fennel
Edible marigolds and nasturtiums
zinnias

Vegetables:

Lettuces (green oakleaf, red romaine, butterhead, galactic),*
spinach,
onions,
shallots,
chard,*
snap peas, *
shell peas, *
carrots,*
black kale,
rhubarb,
arugula,
collards,*
fennel
sugar snap peas
broccoli
butterhead lettuce(** will have available again real soon in shop)*
tomatoes,*
tomatillos,
radishes *
peppers (sweet and hot),*
beans,*
cucumbers,
okra, *
sweet potatoes


Fruits:
Blueberries,
blackberries,
raspberries
--------------
Here is a layout of what the White House Gardens look like: They measure 1100 square feet:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dual Purpose Flower Gardens

We all love flowers and watching them grow, adding them to vases to brighten our homes, and enjoying their beauty in our gardens.
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?

There are quite a number of flowers that are edible and have quite the range of flavors, from subtle cucumber flavoring to licorice flavors, to artichoke flavor, to tangy pepper flavored.
---------------
Before embarking on adding flowers to your plate a few words of caution are in order.

Only eat flowers that you are certain without a doubt are edible varieties.

Remember this key phrase: "If in doubt, do without!"

When one starts to add edible flowers to the diet it must be done slowly, and using only one variety at a time,and sparingly in recipes, to prevent intestinal upset, and especially if you may have allergies.

If you decide to add edible flowers to your plate, please be careful, and make sure that indeed the flower variety is safe and edible.

Do not use any types of pesticides or chemicals around any flowers that you intend to grow as edibles.

Do not consume flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers, as most of these have been treated with chemicals and pesticides and are not labelled for food consumption.


The same can be said for flowers obtained next to roadways, these very well could be sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, and may not be safe for consumption.
-----------------
The best time to harvest your edible flowers is in the early morning when the moisture content of the flower is at its peak.

Shake the flowers to remove any little bugs that may be hidden amongst the petals.

Wash thoroughly and place on paper towels to drain.

Remove the pistils and stamens from all edible flowers before consumption.

Only eat the petals.

Edible flowers can be kept for up to 8-10 days in your refrigerator for later use if you simply lay them out on moist paper towelling and wrap with plastic wrap, or store them between pieces of moist paper towels in a sealed plastic container.

If the flowers start to look a bit wimpy and wilted simply float them in a bowl of ice water for a minute before serving and they'll perk right up.
--------------
Below you will find a list of edible flower varieties with flavor descriptions.
Now you can create your own dual purpose flower garden.
Not only will you have flowers to beautify your yard and home, but also flowers that can be used in a variety of culinary dishes.
------------------
Allium-
These are plants known as the flowering onions. All parts of these plants are edible, and some have very pretty flowers.
Plants in the Allium family include chives, garlic chives, leeks, garlic, onions,and shallots.The flower colors can vary from white to pink and add a very nice touch to the salad plate.
All of these flowers of course impart an onion to garlic type flavor, but not as strong as the actual bulb of the plant may have.

Anise Hyssop-
With a flavor reminiscent of root beer and of a slightly licorice flavor.
Often used in Chinese cuisine. The flowers are a pretty lavender-purple color and are attractive to butterflies.

Bachelor Buttons-
Also known as Cornflower these lovely peacock blue colored flowers impart a slight clove,anise flavor to dishes.
The flower also can be used to create a bluish-lavender dye for cake frostings.

Bee Balm-
Also known as Monarda the taste of Bee Balm imparts a citrusy combination of lemon and orange, and is great used as a tea.
In fact the leaves of the Bee Balm are very similar in taste to Earl Grey tea.
If using the wild version of Bee Balm the plant offers a combination of flavors similar to oregano and mint.
The wild Bee Balm leaves can be used in place of oregano in dishes, and the red flowers can be used to add a minty flavor to teas.

Borage-
A darling star shaped pale blue colored flower which can be used in summer time drinks such as lemonade and punch. The flowers have a cucumber flavor.

Burnet-
Also known as Salad Burnet. This plant has a fern like appearance and is actually related to the rose. It sends up a pretty red flowered stalk from the center of the plant. The leaves can be used in salads and drinks to impart a cucumber flavor.

Calendula-
We also all know these flowers as Marigolds. These brightly colored flowers which vary in hues of bright yellow to orange have a range of flavors from slightly bitter to a peppery taste. They can be used to flavor egg dishes, to add a bit of color to rice and pasta dishes and to add a bit of "sunshine" to salads.

Carnations-
The miniature varieties are known as Dianthus. The Dianthus have a slight clove to nutmeg scent/flavor while the larger Carnations have sweet flavored petals. Make sure that you remove the white base of the flower away from the petals.These edible flowers make lovely decorations on cakes and to decorate tea party plates.

Chrysanthemums-
Ranging in flavor tones from tangy and slightly bitter to peppery and even slightly like a cauliflower flavor, these flowers are always a delight to the garden, and now you can add them to your salads as well. Use the petals only and be sure to blanch them slightly before tossing with your salad ingredients.

Dandelion-
The flowers and leaves of this plant are both edible. Flowers should be collected when very young for the best flavor. Flowers have a sweet honey like flavor and can be used to create a dandelion flower jelly. The leaves of the Dandelion are best collected when the plant is young as well, as the larger leaves can have a bitter flavor. Steam the leaves like you would spinach, or toss into a salad and use fresh. Also can be sauteed with olive oil and garlic in a saucepan.

Fuschia-
This plant contains exquisitely designed flowers that impart a slight acidic flavor,the berries of this plant are also edible. Makes a lovely garnish.

Gladiolus-
Remove the anthers from these flowers that have a mild lettuce like flavor and use to hold spreads on the salad plate or to hold dessert mousses.

Hibiscus-
The petals of this flower can be boiled and used to impart a slight cranberry-citrus flavor to teas.

Nasturtium-
Flowers ranging in colors from yellow, to orange, to red.The flowers have a slight peppery taste and can be added to salads and sandwiches, and are a lovely garnish.

Roses-
All Roses are edible, but make sure that no chemicals have been used on the roses that you intend to use.Make sure that you remove the whitish colored parts of the petals that are located near the base of the flowers. The stronger the scent of the rose the stronger the flavor will be. Flavor varies from strawberry type flavoring to apple type flavors, to minty and spicy flavors. The darker the rose the stronger a flavor will be also.A wide array of uses for the petals of this plant: from jellies to floating the petals in fruit punches, to garnishing desserts and ice creams, to decorating cakes.

Sunflower-
We know that the seeds of the Sunflower are edible, but did you know that if you harvest the young unopened flower bud of the Sunflower and steam it, that it has a flavor very much like artichokes have?

Violets-
The tender leaves and purplish colored flowers can be used to flavor salads. They impart a slightly sweet flavor. The flowers are lovely floated into drinks and used to embellish many different types of desserts, from ice creams to cakes.Leaves can be cooked like spinach.
----------------------
Happy Gardenening!
~The Victory Gardener!~

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New June/July 2009 Small Town Living E-Zine Now Online!

Wanted to let you all know that the new June/July 2009 issue of
"Small Town Living" is now available online at:
http://www.stliving.net/

This issue covers such topics as:

Biscuit Making 101
Beginning Home Schooling
Farming Your Produce Aisla
Worm Composting
..... 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.
http://www.smalltownliving.ning.com/
Hope to see you there!
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~The Victory Gardener!~

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And..the Winner...errr umm..Winners...are...

Well gals..I decided that since I had about 30+ garden lovers stop by for the Drawing here..(and thank you all so very, very much for stopping by too!) That I would have one "Grand Prize" Give Away winner..and 2 more Winners as well!!!...
So...3 of you have gotten Lucky here!!..YAY!!

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a large package of heirloom garden seeds(about 30+ different types of heirloom garden seeds)

and the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive packets of seeds that are slightly smaller(12-15 pkts)..but still a good variety of fun gardening seeds to start your own Victory Garden!
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So...withhout further ado....let the drum roll begin...and tah-dah....

The Grand Prize Winner is:

nfmgirl

2nd and 3rd place Winers are:

2nd place: Kay at Rustic Cottage

3rd place: Parisienne Farmgirl
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Congratulations Gals!

I will be contacting you through your blogs, so please get back to me as soon as possible through my profile here and email me your addresses so that I can get your seeds out to you real soon.
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Thank you and Happy Gardenening!

~The Victory Gardener!~

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Great Victory Garden Give Away!!!

There is still time this year to plant your own Victory Garden!! ...

and trust me..if gardening and growing your own food is something you have been wanting to do...this give away is something you will NOT want to miss.

You will have a chance to win plenty of garden seeds...heirloom garden seeds at that..to have a rather large garden this year. We are talking at least 20 varieties of heirloom garden seeds here baby! Oooh yeah! Let the passion for gardening begin! (ooh that sounds really umm.. uhh risque doesn't it?..ha)

(You'll have a chance to win seeds provided by http://www.myvictorygarden.etsy.com/ for beans, lettuces, tomato, swiss chard, heirloom flowers, and more)
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So..what are the rules?
A comment gets you 1 entry
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Posting about this contest on your blog gets you 2 entries
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Commenting, posting on your blog, and twittering about this blog post gets you 3 entries.
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Easy! So...Let the fun begin! Contest Ends May 16th.
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~The Victory Gardener~

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mache Corn Salad

What is Mache Corn Salad?... Also known as Lamb's Lettuce,Lamb's Tongue, and field salad, and hey..it even has a fairytale character's name too..yeah..this stuff is even known as... Rapunzel!?
So...just what is this stuff, and how is it used and grown?
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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.
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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?
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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.
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How to grow it:
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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.

Harvesting:
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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.
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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.
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Happy Gardening!
~The Victory Gardener~

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A wee bit busy here...

Have been super busy here getting our home ready to sell..and we should be able to get the sign up for sale hopefully by the first of next week....yay!
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I have been dreaming, and planning out my new yard/gardens..at least in my head a bit...but...







I have found some lovely antique poppy seeds,seeds for a plant called "Pride of Madeira", a really pretty red pasque flower seeds, and a few others.

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!

I have missed out this year on any real type of gardening ...with the exception of a 4 ft by 8 ft raised bed filled with green bean plants, and a 4 ft by 8 ft bed filled with strawberry plants...that unfortunately the chickens have been having a ball eating all the baby green strawberries from.

The green beans though are close to being able to harvest..for some reason the chickens have ignored those.

I do plan on taking up a few of the strawberry plants though... and transferring them to the new house/yard, as they are the everbearing strawberries, and when I was looking at a hardware store's plant selection recently...I saw the strawberry plants priced at about $4.50-$4.99 each! So..I will be taking a few of those with us to get a strawberry bed established at the new home.
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When I purchase "new to me" flowers/plants...or even flower/vegetable seed varieties that are a new variety for me...I always try to do a bit of online research into how to grow the new plant.

I encourage you to do the same when looking into adding a new plant/vegetable variety to your yard...this way you know if what you are wanting to purchase/add to your garden will work for your area, or if it will be easy to maintain, and the special soil/light/water needs for that particular plant.

It is now so very, very easy to find so much information on how to grow things properly via the internet....and not to mention so much fun to learn about something new in the plant/garden world.
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I have posted a few photos here of some of the plants that I will hopefully be growing in my soon to be new yard.I found seeds for all of these varieties online at very reasonable prices.
Aren't these just lovely?
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(shown are: red cloak pasque flower (red/burgundy flower with silver-grey foliage),heirloom pink chenille plant (the plant with the chain of pink puff balls on it),Pride of Madeira (the pretty blue flowered plant/shrub),Mexican Cigar plant(the flowers that look like red cigars),Coral Reef Poppy (the pretty pink poppy flowers),Italian White Sunflowers,Golden Tears Bleeding heart vine(the heart shaped yellow flowers), Lucky Gold Shamrock(the pretty yellow flowers with clover leaf shaped foliage)
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In the next few days I hope to have the time to post about a few vegetable varieties that you may wish to add to your Victory Garden this year...so stay tuned. More to come in the next few days.

Thanks for stopping by!
~The Victory Gardener~

Monday, April 13, 2009

Garden Party on The Lawn

(Article by : Tina Wilson for "Small Town Living" April/May 2009)

It is that time of year again...A celebration of renewal!... when the birds build their nests, when the snow has faded from the ground, when the flowers start bursting forth with color, and when gardens are planned and seeds are planted.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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"
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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.
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You can also borrow a book from your library on tea parties,or other party themed books for even more ideas.
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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.
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Below is an easy menu we have gathered for you.
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Mint Apple Juleps
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2 cups fresh chopped mint leaves
8 cups apple juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
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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)
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Fruit Tea (Makes 2 quarts)
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3 cups boiling water
4 regular sized tea bags (Luzianne tea is great for this!)
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups cold water1 cup orange juice (pulp free)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
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Pour the boiling water over the tea bags,cover and let steep for 5 minutes.Remove tea bags.Stir in the sugar until dissolved.Stir in remaining ingredients.Serve over ice.
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Layered BLT Delight Salad

1 container sour cream(8 oz.)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1tsp.dried basil
1/2 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp.pepper
1/2 tsp.garlic powder
1 large head of iceberg lettuce ,chopped (about 4 cups)
1 package bacon, cooked and crumbled (32 ounce package)
6 plum tomatoes, sliced thinly
3 cups of croutons
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Combine the first 7 ingredients and set aside.
In a 13 by 9 baking dish layer the lettuce, bacon and then top with the tomato slices.Spread the mayo mixture over the tomatoes, all the way to the edges of the dish.Cover and chill for 2 hours.Sprinkle evenly with the croutons and serve immediately.(makes 8 servings)
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Cucumber Sandwiches-
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Fresh cucumber sliced THIN
Cut fresh white bread into rounds with a cookie cutter about the size of your cucumber.
Spread a VERY thin coating of butter, and then a thin spread of mayonnaise Sprinkle the cucumber with FRESH ground black pepper ONLY - NO salt. Put the lid on! Viola!...nice cool and refreshing spring time sandwiches.
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Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwiches
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Fresh strawberries sliced thin. Fresh bread - NO crusts. (White or wheat is good) Cut the bread into fourths. Spread each piece with butter, then cream cheese. Place a slice of strawberry on each piece and then top with another square.
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NOTE: To store sandwiches before your gathering:Put them in a plastic container, cover with a piece of waxed paper, then dampen a paper towel and put on top of the waxed paper. Put the lid on and release any air (like tupperware) and refrigerate.
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Cream Wafers
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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
For Filling:
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!
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***Sandwich recipes and Cream Wafer Cookie recipe courtesy of Susan Dahlem at http://www.notquitejunecleaver.com/
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~The Victory Gardener~

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April/May 2009 Small Town Living Magazine/Now Online!


You'll find the new April/May 2009 "Small Town Living" magazine online now at:


Please share with friends and family! Enjoy!
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Highlights:

How to Host a "Garden" Party

Growing Heirloom Lettuce:The World of Lettuce contain more than just Iceberg

Orchard Mason Bees:Give them a home and they'll Pollinate your Garden

Drip Irrigation

Our Urban Farm

The American Artisans Guide:Sources for Handmade Goods


***This is our special Spring Garden issue and contains many garden related article, tips and advice.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Let us Talk about Lettuce.....

(Article by: Tina Wilson for "Small Town Living" April/May 2009)
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Heirlooms abound in the seed world,
from heirloom flowers such as celosia, to zinnias, and all sorts of varieties in between.
Such also can be said for vegetables,there are many, many varieties that fit into the heirloom category.

What exactly is an heirloom anyway, and why is important to know and learn about these varieties and to grow them in your own yard?

Heirlooms are open pollinated varieties of seed, they will grow true to type.
In other words, this means that a seed taken from the plant will produce a plant that looks identical to the parent plant from which the seed came from.

Such is sometimes not the case with hybrid varieties of seed. In a world where we are more and more frequently hearing the term "genetically modified"; it is even more crucial that the old timey varieties;varieties of plants,and seeds that have withstood the tests of time; be preserved, saved carefully, and passed along for future generations to enjoy and cherish.

Heirloom seed are also seed that can be dated back from 50 to 100 years or more, seed that has been passed down from generation to generation, seed with a history...with a story.

Seed that is not hybridized, or genetically modified. In other words...seed that is very important to preserve and not allow it to become extinct.

When shopping at your local grocery store or produce stand, no doubt you have seen lettuces being offered, but typically we only see about 3 to 4 varieties in the market place.

We'll often see romaine, iceberg,and perhaps a little mesclun, but clearly we are limited on the varieties we are offered.

Such need not be the case if you do a little research and find out just what else is out there.

We here at "Small Town Living" have done a little research for you to save you a bit of time, and because our own inquiring minds wanted to know as well.

So, we did a little looking at heirloom varieties because we feel as mentioned above, that these varieties are more than just a novelty, it is imperative that our generation help to preserve them, and also we just knew that there had to be more than just the few varieties of lettuces we have seen offered at local stores and produce stands.
Our taste buds and gardens want more variety!

Below we have listed some of the varieties we learned about along the way, and where you can purchase heirloom seeds for them.

We have also included some tips on how to grow lettuces in your own garden. Enjoy!..and may your salads now be filled with more than enough variety and taste.

You'll also have a little bit of a history lesson to talk about across the dinner table too, as you learn a little about each variety and how to grow them in your own gardens.

May you too learn to love heirloom vegetables, and the joy in preserving our gardening heritage...seed by seed.
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Amish Deer Tongue:
This is a rugged, heavy producer with a unique triangular leaf shape which resembles a deer's tongue. The plants are a pretty bright green color, and are great for a cut and come again harvesting technique. They are a loose leaf type of lettuce. Only taking around 45 to 55 days from seed sowing until harvest. Leaves have a nice pleasant and sharp flavor.It is also good for baby greens... meaning harvesting when the leaves are smaller than the full harvest date size.This variety is slow to bolt.

As the name indicates it is a favorite in the Amish community.
Amish deer tongue lettuce dates back to the 1740's.This is a variety of lettuce that has found itself on the "Slow Food US's Ark of Taste", a catalogued list of 200 varieties of vegetables that are in danger of extinction.
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Bronze Arrowhead Lettuce:

This variety was first known as "Bronze Beauty". It was introduced by a company known as Germania Seed and Plant Company. In 1947 it was awarded an honor that suited its name perfectly...the "bronze medal" in the "All American Selections".It was also known as the finest,most colorful, and most delicious variety to grow in the garden.

This variety has pretty dark green oak leaf shaped leaves that are edged in a reddish maroon color.Looseleaf varieety that is slow to bolt.Goes from seed to harvest in just 40 to 50 days.
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Cracoviensis Lettuce:

This French heirloom variety dates back to before 1885, when it was referenced by the Vilmorin Seed Company of France, whom back in the mid 1800's was known as "the most important seed company in the world", and was also noted for their scientific study on seeds and plants that were "pure line"
This variety has tender,sweet leaves that are a bright green color tipped with purple.It is also sometimes referred to as "Red Celtuce" for the tender and light pink stems that the plant produces when it does bolt.

It is sometimes quick to bolt, but the bolted stems can be used, and the leaves do not turn bitter,and remain tender throughout.A looseleaf variety. From seed to harvest is 65 days.
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Forellenschuss Lettuce:

Growing from 8 to 12 inches tall this Austrian heirloom's name translates to "trout with a speckled back".
The beautiful green leaves are speckled all over with reddish - maroon coloring.

It is a good choice for using as baby greens or as full size heads.It is a Romaine vvariety that is ready to harvest in just 55 days.Holds up well in cold weather and also heat.
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Grandpa Admire's Lettuce:

Named for George Admire, a Civil War Veteran born in 1822.
The seed was preserved by Mr. Admire's granddaughter whom at age 90 in 1977, gave the seed to the Whealy family of Missouri.
The Whealy family founded "Seed Saver's Exchange" in 1975,a non profit, member supported organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations.
This variety of lettuce is a Butterhead variety.
A bronze tinged variety which forms a large loose head, and has a mild fine flavor.A slow bolting variety, it stays tender longer than most varieties and is heat tolerant.60 days from seed to harvest.
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Green Oakleaf Lettuce:

In the 1880's this heirloom variety was referred to as" Baltimore Oakleaf" and "Philadelphia Oakleaf".Forming rosettes up to 24 inches in size, this looseleaf variety is resistant to hot weather, and retains its taste, never getting bitter.Adds a lovely look and texture to salad mixes.Toss it with some of the lettuce varieties mentioned above for a gorgeous salad.50 days from seed to harvest.
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Lolla Rossa Lettuce:
An Italian heirloom, this looseleaf variety adds plenty of beauty to your salad plate,and is wonderful as a baby salad green variety.
With lovely magenta colored frilled edge leaves and light green bases.
Mild flavored and an absolutely lovely addition to the garden.It develops small 5 inch to 8 inch half globe heads. It is also a good cut and come again variety.55 days from seed to harvest.
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Mervielle de Quartre Saisons Lettuce:

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.
Marveille De 4 Seasons  Lettuce on Foodista
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Sanguine Ameliore Lettuce:

Introduced in 1906 by C.C. Morse and company, this French variety was then known as the "Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce". The leaves of this Butterhead variety have a deep reddish brown mottling on pretty dark green to chartreuse colored leaves.The plants reach 7 to 9 inches in diameter.Tender and mild flavor.60 days from seed to harvest.
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Tennis Ball Lettuce:

This tiny headed black seeded variety (seeds are black) develops light green tight rosettes that measure about 7 inches in diameter.Introduced to gardeners back in the 1850's. Fun to grow in containers due to its petite size.A Butterhead variety that is ready to harvest in 60 days.
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Growing tips for lettuce:
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A cool season crop, lettuces are best grown in the early spring or fall.
When sowing the seed in the garden just barely cover with soil, no more than 1/8th of an inch, as the seed needs plenty of sunlight to germinate, and needs temperatures of at least 70 degrees to do so.
Lettuces do not actually require a fertilizer, but if you decide to grow one of the "cut and come again" varieties which grow for a longer season, you will want to give the plants a little bit of manure or compost to help keep the nitrogen levels in the soil in balance during the growing season.
Because lettuces have a shallow root system it is easy for them to dry out quickly in warm weather, make sure that your plants receive frequent watering.
Slugs will become a problem if the ground is left too damp or mulched.
There is no need to mulch around lettuce plants.
To keep a steady harvest of lettuce going, make sure to plant new seed every week to ten days.
Thin your plants to allow a spacing of 8 to 12 inches between seedlings.
Not only can lettuces be direct sown into the garden, but they also work well as container crops.
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Fun, but little known facts about Lettuce:
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In the 1920's "Iceberg" lettuce was known as "Crisphead" Lettuce.It earned the name "Iceberg" based upon the way it was transported commercially in California, by covering the heads with mounds of ice.

It is said that the Emperor Caesar Augustus erected a monument to lettuce because he believed it cured his illness.

Lettuce is the second most popular vegetable in the United States, corn being the first.

Lettuce is actually a member of the sunflower family.

About 25 percent of all commercially grown "Iceberg" lettuce is made into "fresh cut" salad mix.

The average American eats about 30 pounds of lettuce a year.
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Sources for Heirloom Lettuce Seed:

Seed Savers Exchangehttp://www.seedsavers.org/

Baker Creek Heirloom Seedshttp://www.rareseeds.com/


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Saving Your Own Lettuce Seed:

1.)Choose 2 lettuce plants as your "seed saving" plants.
2.) Place a marker near them, or tie a piece of yarn around the plants, anything to let you know that these plants are "set aside" to allow them to "bolt"(go to seed)
3.) Do not harvest from these plants, simply allow them to grow.
4.) Soon they will set up a central stalk from the center of the plant, and will begin to produce flowers.
5.)Once the flowers begin to set seed, the seed heads will look similar to dandelion flower seed heads.
6.)At this time you can begin to harvest the seed heads.
7.)Simply cut the stalks off of the plant.
8.)You'll need to have a brown paper bag with you.
Hang the seed head upside down inside of the paper bag.
9.)Use a rubber band or twisty tie to close the bag, then gently shake to release the seed.
Once you have shaken the seed loose, open the bag and allow the seed to air dry for a few days. 10.)Once they have dried out place them into a small jar or ziplock baggy and store in a cool, dry place.
You'll have next year's lettuce seed at the ready.
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~The Victory Gardener~

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Garden Seed Give Away!!


Time for a gardening Give away!

This time I will be giving away a set of seeds to start your garden.

All of the seeds offered are all dated 2009 with the exception of one packet dated 2008.(yellow squash/crookneck)

But all others are packed for the 2009 growing season.All are unopened/new packets of seeds

(The seeds are of hybrid varieties...for the most part..so if that doesn't bother you..go ahead and join in the fun!)

I could not see just tossing them out...even though I personally am concentrating on turning my efforts towards heirloom varieties.

In my cleaning/sorting out.... I discovered these seeds in my seed stash, and decided that someone may still enjoy them..even though they are not heirlooms. So..let the fun begin!!!
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O.k.... For what you'll be winning here:
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1 pkt Zucchini seeds/Burpee Hybrid Zucchini

1 pkt Spinach/Baby's Leaf hybrid Burpee's

1 pkt Cucumber/Bush Champion Burpee's

1 pkt. Cantaloupe/Sweet and Early hybrid Burpee's

1 pkt. Yellow Crookneck Squash/Ferry Morse

1 pkt. Burpee's Tomato Big Boy hybrid

1 pkt Burpee's Tomato Gardener's Delight

1 pkt Burpee's Tomato Delicious
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Simply leave me a comment and a name will be drawn on March 30th!

Please make sure you leave me a way to be able to contact you should you be the winner.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
~The Victory Gardener

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Spring!!


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.
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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.

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We also have quite a number of strawberries showing up on the berry plants..but again..trying to keep the chickens from discovering them.
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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.
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The days here have been delightfully sunny and breezy...yes, Spring is here!
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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.
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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.
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Hoping you are enjoying some marvelous weather in your area and making plans for your gardens.
Have a wonderful weekend.
~Happy Gardening!
~The Victory Gardener~