Thursday, August 26, 2010

Radish Romance

The Radish-  one of the fastest growing root vegetables your garden is likely ever to meet. Ready to serve at your dinner table in less than a month, the radish is also very popular for use in children’s gardens as something that promises results very quickly.

Radish Seedlings/ by flickr user katerha
Did you know that radishes are related to both the horseradish and turnip? Yes they are, and they have a bit of a hot, peppery taste and crunch to remind you of this fact.
Radishes work well in salads, as colorful garnishes, sliced thin and serve on your sandwich to add a bit of “kick”, or of course eaten “fresh from the garden”.
~How to grow~
Radishes can be grown in any average soil, but do their best in a rich, well draining soil. Sow your radish seeds in a weed free prepared area. Planting to a depth of 1/2 inch. Once the seeds start sprouting thin them to a spacing of 2 inches apart. After 2 weeks you can start another crop of seeds going, to keep a constant supply though the season. Keep them watered well. You should be able to harvest your crop within 25-28 days. If you do not have a garden area radishes can also be grown in containers.
One thing you should know about growing radishes is that during the hot summer months/mid summer the radishes can have a tendency to bolt and become a bit bitter/hotter in taste. If your radishes have a bit hotter flavor than you’d like simply slice them and add them to salty water to soak for about 30 minutes. The salt and the water help to draw out the heat from the radish.

Radishes come in a variety of fun colors/photo by flickr user clayirving
~Storing after harvest~
Simply remove the green tops off of the radishes and store in your refrigerator  in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Green tops can be stored for up to 3 days.
~Another..Did you know?~
Did you know that the green tops of radishes can be eaten? Use them in salads or added to sandwiches or cook as you would spinach. Highly nutritious and good for you 1/2 cup of fresh radishes is only 12 calories!
Have fun growing radishes. They are a fun variety for children to try in their own little garden area and can be grown year round.
(content property of Small Town Living/Tina Wilson)

Radish on FoodistaRadish

Monday, August 2, 2010

Deer Proofing with Plants

Deer Proofing Your Garden…With Plants

July 23, 2010
By Small Town Living
What?! ?? What do you mean? I can actually deer proof my know the garden that has nice vegetable plants and flowers in it that Bambi and all of his kin like to munch on… simply by planting more plants??
Deer photo by flickr user: Noel Zia Lee
Yes, you can…really. But the key is in knowing exactly what types of plants deer do no like and will not eat.
These varieties will keep the deer away from the “good stuff” and will (we hope) have them looking for other ground to munch from.
The key is making sure that you plant a lush border around your vegetable garden starting with the tallest plants and then tapering them down to the low growing specimens that deter deer. In other words …you want to build a living fence… A living deer deterrent. Sure Bambi and his kin are cute, but when you work hard on tilling the ground and planting a garden, having Bambi dine on what is intended to be your dinner just isn’t very fun at all.
Delphinium by flickr user: MShades
Below is a list of flowers and plants that deer do not find very appetizing.
You’ll find varieties like nasturtiums which have a peppery taste, mints, and a few herbs like thyme,oregano, and lemon balm that deer do not find appealing.
American Mountain Mint
Anise Hyssop
Baby’s Breath
Bachelor Buttons
Bishop’s Weed
Daffodils by flickr user: Mason2008
Bleeding Hearts
Blue Flax
Blue Star
Butterfly Bush
Butterfly Flower
Butterfly Weed
Butterfly Bush by flickr user: tophera
Forget Me Not
Geranium — Hardy, Scented Geranium; Cranesbill
Gloriosa Daisy
Grape Hyacinth
Lady’s Mantle
Lamb’s Ear
Lemon Balm
Lupine by flickr user:mwri
Ligustrum — Privet
Mariposa lily
Monarda — Bee Balm
Moss Pink
Northern Bayberry
Ornamental Chives
Ornamental Grass
Pincushion flower
Pincushion flower by flickr user: uzvards
Russian Sage
Siberian Iris
St. John’s Wort
Sweet William
So, just because Bambi likes to take his evening walks across your property it does not mean that you cannot have a beautiful garden area with gorgeous flowers and vegetables. Give it a try..plant a living fence.
~Happy Gardening!~

Artisan Farming

Book Review: Artisan Farming: Lessons, Lore and Recipes (Richard Harris with Lisa Fox/ Gibbs Smith 2010)

August 1, 2010
By Tina Wilson
Have you ever wondered how other farmers do what they do? How they keep the family farm going despite rough terrain and trying conditions? What the passion is that drives them to rise at the break of dawn and work from sun up to sun down and do it all over the next day…again and again?
Within the pages of “Artisan Farming: Lessons, Lore, and Recipes”(Richard Harris with Lisa Fox/Gibbs Smith 2010)You’ll have the chance to find out about the farming history of the New Mexico region, and how  some family farms across the region have kept their crops and farms going in an area that is known for its harsh terrain and hot weather. Many would look at the New Mexico area as being a very difficult area to farm in, but there are many farmers that have thrived and continue to thrive on what this area offers to those willing to stick it out and give it a try. This is their story.
You’ll read stories from buffalo farmers to garlic farmers to pepper farmers, corn farmers, wheat farmers,goat farmers, and many more specialty farmers. They’ll share with you their tips on what has worked for them on their farms and some of the challenges they have faced.
You will also find a wide variety of recipes that some of the farms and farmers markets share utilizing the ingredients grown in the New Mexico region, but that you should be able to find at your local grocers or farmers markets in your area as well. Recipes for such tasty items as: Indian Blue Corn Tortillas, Traditional Enchilada Casserole, Salsa Casera (Homestyle Salsa), and so much more.
You’ll also find a regional ” road trip touring guide” listing out a number of farms worthy of visiting, along with a list of farmers markets in the area.
If you desire to read a book in which farmers share their passion for what they grow, as well as their passion for preserving the traditions of their elders, and sharing with others the tips they have learned, as well as a bit of advice on just how to prepare some delightful food items from fresh produce this is definitely a book that you will enjoy.

Find Your Copy HERE

About the Authors:
Santa Fe gourmet cook, Richard Harris, author of 36 travel and history books, has teamed up with organic farmer, Lisa Fox, who produces “Farming in Season”, a Taos public radio broadcast, and Trent Edwards, a Los Cerrillos photographer, to provide this authoritative guide to the history, methodology,and intriguing character of independent farming in New Mexico.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ubio Grow Plant Food and a link to a giveaway for this organic plant food

I’ve been using this really neat product on my house plants for a little over a month now.
It is call Ubiogrow and is a liquid plant and soil helper. Chemical and pesticide free  and absolutely perfect for those looking for an organic alternative to growing plants.
I use the product mixed about 50/50 ratio in a spray bottle and spray the soil of my houseplants thoroughly with it about twice a week.
Spider plant has perked up to upright growth and has an additional 2-3 inch in growth.
I’ve gone from one start of a spider plant that looked absolutely wimpy and definitely in need of some help…to the plant totally perking up and greening up better and putting out an extra 3 inches in leaf growth.
I’ve also used the product on a few tiny succulent plants and have noticed that one of the plants in particular has greened out a lot more and has grown about 2 inches taller.
I’ve used it on a Christmas cactus that I’ve had for several years that never seemed to get any larger..since using theUbiogrow on the cactus it has set out new leaf growth and has expanded on the branches by about 2 inches all over the plant.
Christmas Cactus has an additional 1-2 inch growth on each branch. Has perked up considerably.
I’ve even used it on a  ”Lucky Bamboo” plant in a miniature planter… the plant has grown about an inch and a half since using the liquid on it, and I’ll most likely need to transplant it to a new planter soon.
Lucky Bamboo sporting an additional 1-2 inches growth.
I’ve used it on yet another plant that is similar to a african violet..this plant has set out new baby “plantlets” along part of its stem since using the Ubiogrow.
I can definitely attest to the fact that the product helps to perk up sickly houseplants and to bring them back into greening out properly and growing much better.
A little about Ubiogrow(from the Ubiogrow website):
Less than 1/4 teaspoon of good UBIOGROW has been shown to contain over a billion bacteria—most of which are beneficial to plant growth. This same quarter-teaspoon may also contain over 16 feet of active fungal strands. The beneficial bacteria in UBIOGROW are good for your plants because they out-compete most disease-causing organisms. They also decompose toxic materials and plant residues and help build soil structure, which improves the soil’s water-holding capacity. Fungi play a similar role in disease prevention, and they also retain nutrients, decompose plant material and build soil structure.
This little plant has grown an additional 1-2 inches since using Ubiogrow on it.
UBIOGROW contains tens of thousands of different species of bacteria and fungi as well as protozoa, nematodes and mycorrhizal fungi. Scientists still haven’t identified most of these species—they are just too numerous and too tiny to count. But new research is beginning to isolate task specific microbes that can be employed to break down oil spills, digest scrap wood, and control specific diseases such as botrytis, scab and mildew.
Not all of the bacteria and fungi you apply will be needed. But those that aren’t will “sleep,” staying in reserve until called upon by soil conditions or your plants. Ours is suspended indefinitely and cannot be separated even in a centrifuge and that is why we have the most unique product on the market, all other compost teas must be brewed and used within hours.
UBIOGROW will promote root uptake in any living plant and does not have any N,K,P added it all occurs naturally where as all plant food or fertilizer has N,K,P chemically add and the plant becomes reliant on the chemicals for its food. When used on plants in soil UBIOGROW will increase the health of the soil each and every time it is applied.
Ubiogrow can also be used in hydroponic systems:
For Hydroponics UBIOGROW provides your plants with essential minor elements (micronutrients) not provided by your hydroponics nutrient solution. UBIOGROW is a micronutrient product with a balanced formula of micronutrients that causes these elements to interact with one another. The ingredients in UBIOGROW are blended to act as one synergistic ingredient when activated to give your plants more of what they need to be their very best.

Learn More About This Terrific Product HERE

Sign up for a giveaway of this product here:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garden Book Giveaway

 I want to invite you to stop by this link:
 For a chance to win this fun book.
You'll also find reviews of some of the new gardening books now available on the market. Some that you will definitely want to add to your garden book shelf or make a point to check out at your public library.
Do stop by the link I have shared above for your chance to win the book pictured here.
 ~The Victory Gardener!~

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kids in the Garden

Want an alternative  to video games and tv for your kids? Want your kids to learn about the natural world and the importance of eating locally? Want them to experience a little dirt under their fingernails and to have a terrific time while doing so, and gain an education that will last them a lifetime?
“Kids In The Garden” by Elizabeth McCorquodale (Black Dog Publishing 2010) is just the book to help get you started. Within the pages of this book you and your children will share the joys of gardening together.
You’ll learn about the parts of a plant, about photosynthesis, pollination, germination, and fertilization,and seed dispersal, and even how to save seeds for next year’s garden.
Together you will learn about how to build a compost heap and what items are best to use in a compost pile.
You will even learn how to become a worm farmer.
You’ll also learn how to create such things as little homes for beneficial garden bugs such as ladybugs and lacewings.
How to plant seeds and to start new plants from cuttings.
Together you will learn how to plant and grow everything from beans, to carrots, to blueberries, peas, peppers, potatoes, raspberries,herbs,  and so much more.
Sprinkled throughout the book are very fun and interesting facts about plants and even funny jokes.
For instance : Did you know that the tallest tomato plant on record measured 28 feet tall? That is the same as seven ordinary sized ten year olds standing on each others shoulders.
Why did the corn get mad at the farmer? Answer: Because he kept pulling his ears!
You’ll find “Kids In The Garden” to be a fun book for both you and your children, and a book that can most definitely be utilized in a home education program as well.
You”ll find that there are an abundance of  lovely photos and illustrations throughout the book.
Delicious recipes  are featured in the back of the book as well, allowing you  to utilize all of that fresh produce from a garden that you and your children have created.
This is truly a fun book and one that will have your family enjoying working and playing together  in a manner that produces terrific results…Fresh, locally grown food from your own backyard!
Find Your Copy HERE
About the Author:
Elizabeth McCorquodale is a mother-of-three, a passionate gardener, and an irrepressible gardening writer. Her previous work includes “Growing Stuff An Alternative Guide To Gardening”, also published by Black Dog Publishing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monkey Pots "Messy Patio Contest"

Share with us a photo of your messy patio and you could have a chance to Win a Perfect Patio Planter from MonkeyPots. Grow beautiful fruits and vegetables in very little space.
The wonderful folks at MonkeyPots will gift a lucky winner with one of their Perfect Patio Planter systems. ($139.99 value)
To enter the contest send us a photo of your messy patio. Send contest entries to gardengoose at gmail dot com (use the @ symbol where I’ve used the word at, and a . where I’ve used the word dot)
The contest starts April 1,2010  and ends April 30th,2010
Good Luck!
Visit the MonkeyPots website at:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Culinary Lavender

Today I had my first ever taste of culinary lavender. Wow! It was different, but it was yummy too. Some members of my family were not keen on it in the brownies we tried, but I do think I could get used to it...and I did like both the smell of the batter while it was being prepared, and the end result. I reviewed a batch of brownie mix from Little Sky Lavender Farm in Boulder Creek, California, and will be reviewing a batch of their cookie mix in a few days..a shortbread type cookie.
 While reviewing these products for the "Small Town Living" website it got me to thinking about the culinary lavender used in the mixes... L. angustifolia . I know that when I opened up the package of brownie mix I was in lavender heaven! The smell was wonderful! I am now on the look out for seeds for this variety of lavender because I want to grow some of it in my own yard, not necessarily just for the culinary benefits, but because I loved the scent of the lavender, and feel it would be fun to dabble with it for a little bit of cooking, but also for such things as sachets and displayed in vases and so forth. So the hunt is now on for some L. angustofolia that I hope to plant in my new yard soon.
~The Victory Gardener!~

(photo by flickr user Limbo Poet)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Played in the dirt today! Yay! Spring is right around the corner.

This morning and afternoon I had fun playing in the dirt. Oh I had missed it so!
That feeling of the soil on the palm of my hands, and tugging at a weed to remove it from the raised bed area so that I could sow a few heirloom vegetable seeds. Ahhh! Today was sheer bliss!
The weather was absolutely gorgeous, a slight breeze upon the air, not too hot, not too cold.... the birds were singing... A perfect sunshiney day!...and absolutely perfect for playing in the dirt.

I had hoed up the raised beds yesterday afternoon, making sure to loosen all of the weeds left over from winter,( there weren't very many thankfully)...but this morning I could not wait to get outside on such a pretty day, and rake all of the weeds out of the beds.
My two youngest children soon joined me, and we sowed the following heirloom vegetable seeds into the raised bed garden area.
Blue Lake Bush Bean, Provider Bush Bean, Goldcrop Wax Beans, Royal Burgundy Bush Bean, Jimmy Nardello's Sweet Italian Peppers, Swiss Chard, "Palla Rosa" Radicchio, Chantenay Carrot, Oregon Giant Snow Pea

After we sowed the seeds I gave them a nice little shower of water...let the growing begin!
I cannot wait to watch them grow. Oooh yummy veggies are right around the corner!( I'll be planting even more vegetable varieties soon into pots..I hope to start a variety of lettuces and herbs real soon too.)

If you'd like to plant an heirloom vegetable garden this Spring visit:
~The Victory Gardener!~

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Garden in the dead of winter...

What actually can be done in, or for the garden area in thedead of winter? When snow may be covering the ground and hard freezes are hitting many areas of the country?
Believe it or not there are a few things that can be done to prepare for Spring's thaw and a new gardening season,and things that can be done around your yard to make those cold winter days a bit more enjoyable for both yourself and the animals that frequent your yard.
1. Now is the perfect time to assess the garden tools in your shed. Do the tools need sharpened? Use a file to sharpen the edges. Do they need rust removed from them? If they show rust wear, take a piece of fine sandpaper and sand off as much of the rust as you can and spray the tools with w-d 40 and wipe clean. Handles of the tools can be polished with a bit of wood oil.
Are any of the tools in need of being replaced? Now is the time to acquire new garden tools as you just may be able to find them on sale this time of year.

2. Order garden seeds. Get a jump start on ordering your favorite varieties, as many companies may begin to be sold out of your favorites the closer it gets to Spring time and the more folks begin to think gardening also.

3. Help your feathered friends. This is something children can do with you: roll pine cones into peanut butter and bird seed and hang from pretty ribbons in the branches of trees.Also create suet patties and place in feeders.

4. Create a new garden plan. Or garden bed design. Draft out a new garden bed or plan out your garden for Spring. Consider a theme garden.

5. You can start now to build the framing for any raised beds you plan to have.

So, there are a few things that can be done in the dead of winter for the garden.
Enjoy, and stay warm!
~The Victory Gardener!~