How To do it :
  • Choose a sunny part of the garden with good drainage.
  • Dig a trench and check the pH, which should be 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Plant the crowns about 8 in. deep and 15 in. apart.
  • Cover initially with 2 in. of dirt, and gradually fill the trench as the spears emerge.
  • The edible stems of asparagus rise directly from the ground. Spears that are about 8 in. tall are ready to harvest.
  • Snapping of the spear by hand is easy and protects the plant. You can use a knife, but be careful not to damage developing stems.
  • At the end of the harvest, allow the asparagus plants to form ferns. These help transfer energy to the roots for good spear development the next season.


1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium potato diced
2 cups Green Split Peas, sorted and rinsed
7- 8 cups water or Vegetable Broth
1 teaspoon Parsley Flakes
1 sprig thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme Leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Basil
1 Bay Leaf
Sea Salt to taste
Garnish with sliced green onion or chives

Full recipe from :

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic and celery until onion is soft. Stir in carrot, potato, split peas, broth and seasonings. Cover pot, and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer for one hour. Discard bay leaf and add salt to taste. Serve in a bowl with chives to garnish. I have also made this soup in a slow cook, just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours. Enjoy!


10 strips streaky bacon, chopped
4 chicken breasts (I butterflied mine to allow for quick cooking)
250g mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
juice of ½ lemon
1 cup cream
½ cup chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste

Full recipe from :

Brown the bacon in a large skillet/deep pan. Remove and set aside. Pour off half of the bacon fat.
Place the pan back on the heat and brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Remove and set aside.
Fry the mushrooms and garlic until fragrant then add the thyme, lemon juice, chicken stock and cream. Allow to come to a simmer then add the bacon and chicken back to the pan and cover.
Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced.
Season to taste and serve.

The great thing about green beans is, you don’t have to have a green thumb to be able to grow them. They are easy to grow, fairly hardy, and just about fool-proof!

Planting Green Beans

Choose a sunny location and plant the beans 6 to 10 inches apart and a foot or 2 in between rows. If you decide to raise pole beans, you’ll need to leave plenty of room for whatever contraption the plants will be climbing up. Make sure the soil is fertile, has good drainage, and plenty of compost mixed into it. Sowing should begin once the soil has warmed up and you don’t have to worry about frost killing your newly emerged bean plants.

Pests that Like Green Beans

Armyworms, leafminers, and cutworms are some of the more common caterpillars who enjoy munching on bean plants. Bean weevils, cucumber beetles, and stinkbugs also like to have bean plants for mealtime.

Harvesting Green Beans

Beans are generally ready for harvest when the pods are still small and tender. If you wait until they are very large, they are often rather tough. However, if you are planning on saving some seeds for next year, then wait until the bean pods turn yellow and the seeds rattle inside. You’ll be able to shell some of the beans and save the seeds over the winter for next spring’s planting.


8 medium-size potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Green onions or parsley for garnish

Full recipe from :

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the chopped potatoes into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook them over medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender. Then, drain the potatoes. (You could also bake the potatoes in the oven and then cut them into chunks.)
Put the potatoes back in the saucepan and toss with the bacon.
In a separate bowl, mix the salt, pepper, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, sour cream, and onion. Then, add this mixture to the saucepan with the potatoes and toss thoroughly.
Grease a 2.5- to 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray, and then spoon the mixture into the dish.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then top the dish with the remaining cheese and garnish and let it bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.


1 tube Pillsbury thin crust refrigerated pizza dough
½ cup pizza sauce
12 slices italian salami
16 slices pepperoni
1¼ cup mozzarella cheese (divided)
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Full recipe from :

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough out and stretch it out on a piece of parchment paper. Spread the pizza sauce leaving about 2 inches from the edge. Top with italian salami, pepperoni, and 1 cup cheese.
Roll up the dough up like a cinnamon roll and pinch the edges to seal and fold where the seam is. Lay the stromboli seam side down. Brush with the egg and cut small slats in the top. Top with ¼ cup cheese and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve with warm pizza sauce.

1. Make lye water out of ash. You can boil 2-3 spoons of ash (clean white/grey fluffy ash) with water and then filter it with a coffee filter. Lye water is a great cleaning agent and sanitizer for clothes, floors, windows, silverware, plates, and even rust in marble.

You can also make lye by adding the fluffy white ash in a cheesecloth. In a bucket with holes on its base, you add the cheesecloth and ash, and hang it somewhere high. Add the water. Underneath, place another clean bucket to collect the lye. The lye has a brownish colour, so you remove the bucket when clean water starts to sip through. Test the lye by adding a fresh egg in the liquid. If the egg floats, the lye is good to go, if not, repeat the process.-For use in soap making.

2. Ash was used for many years in farming. It recycles the natural nutrients back into the earth. It can be used as compost but does not include Nitrogen. It aids in the increase of the earths PH level which in return, aids in the growth of the plants. (But because of the ongoing increase of the PH level, not all veg and fruit thrive from it. eg potatoes).

3. It strengthens plants that love calcium, such as tomatoes, vineyards, beans, spinach, peas, avocados, garlic etc. Even rose bushes. You can add 1/4 cup ash before planting.

4. It prevents plants from frost in winter, if you add a layer of ash over them.

5. Animals hate ash. You can rid your garden of insects and various parasites, such as slugs and snails.

6. You can rid yourself of ants. If you throw some ash in their colony, they will be forced to relocate, as they can’t move the ash.


4 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs

Full recipe from :

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside.
Add the onion and sweet potato to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the brussels sprouts, saute until tender, about 5 minutes, let sit until the bottoms start to caramelize, about 5 minutes, mix everything up, let sit for 5 minutes and mix it all up.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Create 4 small wells in the hash, add the eggs and cook until the desired level of done-ness.


1 (8 oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls (I used Pillsbury)
4 strings mozzarella cheese, cut into halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves

Full recipe from :

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the melted butter with garlic and parsley, stir to mix well.
Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into triangles. Place a string cheese horizontally at the bottom of the triangle, fold in the sides and roll up to form a croissant-shaped rolls. Brush the top with the garlic herb butter.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.


2 lbs zucchini
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper

Full recipe from :

Heat the oven to 375F.
Using a mandoline or a sharp knife , thinly slice the zucchini.
Sprinkle salt all over the zucchini slices, toss thoroughly with your fingers and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
Place the zucchini slices in a cheese cloth or and give it a good squeeze to take out all the moisture.
In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese.
In a quiche pan , arrange half of the drained zucchini slices and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of them.
Arrange a second layer of zucchini slices and pour the milk mixture over them.
Finish the quiche with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Bake the zucchini quiche in the hot oven for about 50-60 minutes until set and the top of the quiche is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve either warm or cold.


14 oz Italian chicken sausage, casing removed (Al Fresco)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes (tuttorosso)
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
black pepper, to taste
1 large butternut, peeled (3 lbs)
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 large egg
16 oz (4 cups) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Full recipe from :

In a large deep nonstick skillet, brown the sausage breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon until cooked, about 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and black pepper. Simmer on low, covered 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice butternut into 1/8″ thick rounds with a good quality spiralizer such as the Inspiralizer with Blade A. To do this, you have to slice the butternut lengthwise halfway through to the center, careful not to cut deeper than that. You can also use a mandolin (be careful) or a sharp knife.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley and egg, mix.
In a deep 9×12 casserole dish spread 3/4 cup of sauce on the bottom and layer 12 rounds of butternut slices to cover. Spread 3/4 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1 cup sauce. Second Layer: Lay 12 more rounds of butternut, 3/4 cup ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup sauce. Third Layer: 12 slices butternut, 1 1/2 cups sauce and cover with foil.
Bake covered 30 minutes.
Remove foil, cook uncovered 30 minutes (this helps dry out excess moisture). Top with remaining cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, 5 minutes.
Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.


3 pounds yellow onions, cut into quarters
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sugar
8 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons sifted flour
1 baguette sliced, toasted
1 ½ cups each finely shredded Swiss and Parmesan cheese (tossed till combined)

Full recipe from :

Slice onion quarters into thin slices (should yield about 6 cups).

In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the pan with the oil, add the onions and stir to well coated. Reduce to low heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium, stirring in salt, pepper, thyme and sugar; cook additional 20 minutes uncovered, stirring often, until the onions are a golden brown. Reduce heat if necessary.

In another stockpot, heat the broth; remove from heat just before it begins to boil. Stir in sifted flour to the caramelized onions and cook for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add the hot beef broth to the caramelized onions and bring to a boil and cover partially. Cook for 45 minutes or until the broth is slightly reduced. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the soup between deep oven-safe serving bowls. Top each with a slice of toasted baguette and sprinkle cheese in a thick layer over the bread and edge of the bowl. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 5 minutes. Once the cheese is melted, set oven to broil and broil soups until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 1 to 2 minutes. Slightly cool before serving.


1 lb. Italian sausage (casings removed)
¼ cup chopped pepperoni (I used mini pepperoni so that I didn’t even have to chop it)
½ cup diced onion (I used a bag of frozen diced onion for quicker prep)
½ cup diced green (or red) bell pepper*
1 cup marinara sauce
1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Full recipe from :

In a large skillet, cook sausage, pepperoni, onion, and bell pepper until sausage is no longer pink (about 7 minutes). Drain fat and return to skillet. Stir in marinara sauce and about 1 cup of the cheese.
While the meat is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare crust:
Separate dough into 8 triangles. Place dough in an ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate with the narrow, pointed ends overlapping the edge of the dish by a few inches. Press dough into the bottom and sides of the dish to form a crust.
Top with meat mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bring tips of dough into the center.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Smart pruning when trees are small helps them grow to be strong and healthy.

During a hot Texas summer several years ago, I worked at a summer camp. My job description as a camp staff member was garbage truck driver, dish washer, concessions stand cashier, and among other things, resident tree trimmer.

My friend Melissa and I spent weeks that summer wielding our pole saws over our shoulders to prune all the trees on the camp’s acreage. We were two college girls in matching t-shirts with no prior tree-trimming experience. You know what? It’s not that hard.

When I look at houses to buy one of the first things that comes to mind before I do any mental decorating or interior renovating is what can I do to improve the landscape? I picture myself removing low tree limbs to raise the canopy so that it frames the house and pruning overgrown hedges that block the windows.

Pruning is one of those things you can do for free to give remarkable results to your landscape, instantly improving the house’s curb appeal. It’s better to do it sooner than later. I’m not climbing up any ladders with a chain saw; I leave that to a professional, but I can prune small trees and shrubs with my feet planted safely on the ground.

At the moment, everyone in the gardening world seems to be talking about planning your garden for Spring. But sometimes gardening can be overwhelming. It’s great that there are so many choices out there, but that also means that it requires more work to pick a pots, plants, dirt, fertilizer, etc. Below I’ve tried to put together some ideas and resources that will help you start to plan your balcony garden without giving yourself a headache in the process.

One thing that you can start working on right away is deciding what to plant your garden in. Do you already have pots from last you that you want to reuse? Great! Make sure they’re clean and ready to go. While you’re at it, take a second to measure the pots and write down their height and diameter. 
If you already have pots, but for whatever reason you don’t like them, consider painting them. If the posts are mismatched, painting them all the same color would really help unify them. Or, you might consider a number of color schemes. Whether you’re going for a monochrome or multi-color theme, check out this post I wrote about using a color wheel to choose a color theme for your garden. 
If you need new pots, watch this space. On Thursday I plan on publishing a post that covers that topic in more detail than I have space for here.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
One way to help yourself sort through all the options when you get to the garden center is to have a rough list of plants you want to buy before you arrive. To do this, I don’t think you need to go nuts creating an architectural drawing of your dream garden, but spending a few minutes measuring your space (including the height if your balcony or patio has a roof) and sketching out pot placement is definitely worth it. 
Once you have a rough idea of where you want to place your containers, you can start thinking about what kind of plants you want to put in your pots. In my experience/opinion the easiest and best looking way to do things is to have a combination of multi-plant pots and single-plant pots. In the pots that you plan to make into multi-plant pots, I suggest using three plants: one thriller, one spiller, and one filler. 
Of course, take note of how many perennials you already have and the seeds you’ve started indoors. Give a few seconds thought to how they fit into your plan. Will they be fillers in one of your multi-plant pots or a singleton in a pot all their own? Don’t forget the edible plants you want to grow. Just because your garden will include such plants doesn’t mean that it has to look utilitarian. I still employ the thriller, spiller, filler method for my edible planters.

Make a List of What You Need

If you do the above, you should be able to make a list of the number and type of thrillers, spillers, fillers, and single plants you’ll need. Having a rough plan of attack when you enter the garden center is, from my experience, approximately 25,839,205 times easier than walking through the rows of plants and trying to decide what to buy on the spot. Not to mention that I bet you’ll end up spending less because you’ll only buy the plants you need.


3 chicken filets
2 tbsp pancetta
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Full recipe from :

In a cast iron pan or oven save pan, heat the oil, add the pancetta and garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the chicken filets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping sides half way through.
Remove from stove and add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven. Add the fresh spinach and sort of "tuck in" under the chicken to quickly cook with the warmth of the chicken and broth. Serve immediately

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