There is nothing quite like the delight of growing your own vegetables. Growing your own vegetables organically ensures healthful produc...


There is nothing quite like the delight of growing your own vegetables. Growing your own vegetables organically ensures healthful produce and saves you the high prices of organically grown produce at the grocery store.

Different vegetables require different conditions to thrive. The table below provides general guidelines for growing vegetables.

Via: thegardencentral

Once they grow back I am definitely doing this! How to pluck your eyebrows in 4 easy steps - I had n...

Once they grow back I am definitely doing this! How to pluck your eyebrows in 4 easy steps - I had no idea correctly plucked eyebrows had such a big effect on your face shape and cheekbones!


Flip your tweezer upside down so the open end is pointing downward, and place it vertically alongside the outer edge of the bottom of your nose. The point where the vertex lands marks the beginning of your brow (which should also be about one inch above the inner corner of your eye). Using an eye pencil, draw a vertical line to demarcate the start of each brow, then check that the space above the bridge of your nose is centered between them. Remove the strays that fall in between.


Lay the tweezer on an angle against your cheek so that the open end is at the bottom of your nose and the other end reaches the outer corner of your eye. The spot where the tweezer intersects your brow is where the hairs should end. Mark it with the eye pencil, then pluck the hairs beyond the line.


Starting just below the fullest part of your brow, use an eye pencil to draw a line along the bottom edge of your brow; it should be above any stray hairs and it should follow the natural shape of your brow's top line, which may be angled, slightly curved, or even straight. Pluck the strays below the line. Ultimately, your brows should be between a quarter inch and a half inch at their thickest.


Look straight into a mirror. The arch should peak above the outer rim of your iris and lie right on your brow bone: "Imagine upside-down check marks, but with soft angles," says Vucetaj. Mark the point with your eye pencil, then remove a row of hairs along the bottom, from your inner brow point to the peak point. After the peak, shape the tail.

Try this germination test at home to see if they’re worth planting, or if you should be buying n...


Try this germination test at home to see if they’re worth planting, or if you should be buying new seeds this year.
  1. Use a double thick paper towel. Moisten with water and fold in half.
  2. Open paper towel and place a minimum of 10 seeds on one side of towel.
  3. Fold paper towel over covering seeds completely.
  4. Place paper towel in plastic bag, or on plate covered with plastic. It is ok to roll or fold paper towel to fit if necessary. Do not air seal bag shut as you need some air for healthy germination.
  5. Put bag in a warm spot (for example, on top of your fridge).
  6. Check daily to make sure towel does not dry out.
  7. Most seeds will germinate within 3-10 days. Some flowers and herbs may take longer and have special germination requirements. There is a great deal of specific germination info listed online - do a simple Google search for “germination requirements for ___”
  8. Check seeds every few days, and monitor seed quality and germination rate. Healthy seeds have uniform germination and will not have any fungal or bacterial growth on outside of seed coat.
  9. If your germination rate is less than 60%, consider buying new seeds or sowing your seeds extra thickly to compensate for the low germination rate.

Heucheras, the "new hostas" for shady spots. So colorful!






Heucheras, the "new hostas" for shady spots. So colorful!



Ingredients 2 large or 2.5 lbs zucchini, cut into quarters 10 oz grape tomatoes, cut in halve...


Ingredients

2 large or 2.5 lbs zucchini, cut into quarters
10 oz grape tomatoes, cut in halves or 2 large tomatoes, diced
7 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1 tsp basil/thyme/oregano, dried
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup parsley or basil, finely chopped
Cooking spray (I use Misto)

Directions
Full recipe from : yummly.co

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8 x 8 or 9 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except parsley/basil, and stir to combine. Transfer to a prepared baking dish and bake uncovered for 25 minutes for crunchy zucchini or 35 minutes if you like well cooked vegetables. I recommend checking for doneness with a fork or knife after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with basil or parsley and serve hot/warm.

INGREDIENTS: 1lb frozen waffle fries 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 12 pepperoni slices ...


INGREDIENTS:

1lb frozen waffle fries
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
12 pepperoni slices
1 cup pizza sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:
Full recipe from : yummly.co

Cook the fries on a baking sheet according to package directions. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and top with pepperoni slices. Return to the oven and bake at 350 degrees F. for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley and serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

In addition to looking great on your own walls, this idea would make an excellent gift for a housewarming or going away party. You can a...


In addition to looking great on your own walls, this idea would make an excellent gift for a housewarming or going away party. You can also use the same process with outlines of things besides states, but personally I’m smitten with the love-my-hometown concept. You could even take this a step farther by Mod Podging a photo inside of the heart!

via : Snap Guide

Would you have a miniature citrus fruit tree in your home? Each time I take...









Would you have a miniature citrus fruit tree in your home? Each time I take my dogs for a walk, I pass by this beautifully rustic flower shop. For the past few weeks I’ve noticed them having a few lemon and orange tree plants placed by the window and ever since I spotted them, I totally want to get one for our flat. The problem is that our home is not the sunniest of all and I’m not great at keeping more problematic plants alive. So, after a few ah’s and oh’s I went on to research on how much care those beauties really need and to my surprise, they are pretty easy going. They love full sun and humidity but they will be totally fine in a mostly light, airy room with warm temperature. Plus, if you buy the right kind, they will make your flat smell like an orange blossom all year round.

INGREDIENTS 1½ lbs. ground meat (I used ½# hamburger, ½# pound turkey, ½# pork, which I had le...


INGREDIENTS

1½ lbs. ground meat (I used ½# hamburger, ½# pound turkey, ½# pork, which I had left from a previous recipe).
1 egg
½ medium yellow onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
¼ cup coconut flour
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
3 TBSP olive oil (for cooking onions & meatballs)

INSTRUCTIONS
Full recipe from : yummly.co

In med skillet over med heat, add 1 TBSP olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook until just tender. Add in garlic. Remove from heat.
Place ground meat in large mixing bowl. Add egg, coconut flour, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, & parsley. With spoon or using clean hands, gently mix together.
Add onion & garlic to meat mixture and mix to combine.
Using your hands, shape into small balls (approx 1½" in size).
In a large skillet over med/high heat, add 2 TBSP olive oil. Cook meatballs in batches until browned on all sides, remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain off excess fat.
Once all meatballs have been browned, place onto baking sheet and place in preheated 350* oven for about 5-8 minutes to finish cooking.

Manure Tea : One of the oldest types of organic liquid fertilizer, manure tea gives plants a he...


Manure Tea : One of the oldest types of organic liquid fertilizer, manure tea gives plants a healthy shot of nitrogen and also boosts microbes in the soil. Place a shovelful of composted chicken, cow or alpaca manure in a burlap bag, along with 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses and 2 tablespoons sea kelp powder. Place the bag in a 5-gallon bucket and fill with water. Allow the manure to steep for up to one week, stirring occasionally. Remove the burlap bag and compost the manure. Pour the compost tea into a watering can or hand sprayer. Spray the plants' leaves or water the soil well.

Compost Tea : Compost tea offers many of the same benefits of manure tea, but, as the name implies, relies on compost as its source of nutrients. Pour 2 cups of high-quality, live compost in a burlap bag and add 2 tablespoons molasses and 2 tablespoons sea kelp powder. Steep the compost in 5 gallons of water for several days, stirring daily. Apply it as a foliar spray or water the ground directly.

Liquid Kelp : Liquid kelp doesn't contain the macronutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, usually found in fertilizers, but it does contain growth hormones. Liquid kelp is somewhat expensive, but it's very helpful for boosting slow growth or encouraging healing after damage from hail or severe wind. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid kelp with 1 gallon water and apply it as a foliar spray.

There is nothing like a vine ripened melon picked right from your own garden. Bite into a slice ...


There is nothing like a vine ripened melon picked right from your own garden. Bite into a slice of sweet juicy watermelon on a hot July day, smell the aroma of a vine ripe muskmelon, or savor a sweet honeydew or specialty melon you grew yourself and it's love at first bite.

Why Grow Your Own

While melons are readily available in the grocery store there are many reasons to grow your own. Home growing allows you to try many new varieties and old heirlooms not available in the supermarket. Organic gardeners can avoid using any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers on their melons.

Flavor is another reason to grow your own. While a muskmelon will continue to ripen after harvest, sugar content no longer increases after it is detached from the vine. Let's face it, for a melon to be put in a field truck, rolled down the belt of a packing house, boxed and trucked across the country it needs to be a little less ripe than one that need only be hand carried from the garden to the back porch! And last but certainly not least, it's just plain fun to grow your own at home. There's a sense of accomplishment in growing it yourself.

Trellising The Vines

Melon trellises can be made of many different materials as long as they are strong. I have seen everything from hog fencing to wooden lattice. My favorite system for trellising melons is to use livestock panels (16 feet by 4 feet) and steel posts driven into the ground. The panels can be set upright or leaned slightly toward the support posts.

Drive at least three steel posts per 16 foot panel into the ground about 8 inches away from the row of plants along the shadier side. Then set the panels so the base sits on the soil about 8 inches away from the plants along the sunnier side of the row and lean the tops over against the posts. Attach the panel to the posts with jute twine or wire. This creates a slightly leaning panel which provides good sun exposure and seems to help to keep the fruit toward the lower, shadier side of the trellis. Another option is to lean the panels against an existing fence such as a privacy fence.

Livestock panels are very strong, last forever, and are easier to handle and store than wire. A 16 foot section is difficult for one person to handle so you might want to cut it into two lengths with bolt cutters. You'll find many uses for these 4 feet by approximately 8 feet panel sections in the garden.

As the melons grow they'll need some encouragement to train them onto the trellis. Melons are poor climbers and can grow quite rapidly. Plan on going out every day or two and orienting the vines on the trellis to create a solid fill of vines and foliage. While they have tendrils to help them attach to the trellis you will probably want to tie them to it here and there as they grow. Pieces of hosiery cut across the leg into inch wide strips work great. They are easy to tie and give a little to allow the vine room to grow.

Planted at the spacing mentioned above melons will more than fill a trellis during their growing season. I find it best to train the main vine up the trellis and orient the side branches more horizontally. In good growing conditions you'll find the vines reach the top of the trellis fairly rapidly and can be allowed to grow back downward again.

Additional fertilizing will most likely not be needed in good soil conditions but be ready to apply a little extra if the vines appear to be lacking. Excessive nitrogen will result in delayed maturity and poor fruit quality.

Maintain good soil moisture but don't keep it excessively wet. Drip irrigation works best. As an alternative in heavier textured soils you can build 3 foot diameter berms of soil around the plants and between plants down the row. This makes it easy to provide a good soaking by filling the berms with water. The berms prevent water from running off of the bed surface before it has a chance to soak in.

Harvest Tips

While I have generalized about melons as a group up to this point, when it comes to harvest things get more specific. It is important to harvest your melons at the proper time: too early and they lack flavor and sweetness, too late and they become mealy and lose quality.

Muskmelons yield their harvest over a longer time period requiring repeated harvests over several weeks. Watermelons generally ripen their fruit almost all at once for a much shorter harvest period.

Muskmelons are the types with a netted fruit surface which we commonly but mistakenly refer to as cantaloupes. Muskmelons naturally break loose from the vine when they are ripe. The spot where the vine attaches to the fruit begins to crack around the perimeter of what will be the "belly button" on the fruit, which is called "slipping." Once they are at about 3/4 to full slip they are ready to harvest. Most gardeners prefer to leave them until they reach full slip for the sweetest fruit and top quality.

A ripe muskmelon will detach when slight pressure is applied to the vine. As a muskmelon ripens the color of the fruit behind the netting turns from green to a creamy tan hue and the fruit gives off a rich aromatic smell.

Harvest honeydew melons when the rind color turns creamy yellowish white. When pressed gently at the blossom end the melon will be a little soft and the fruit will have a faint, pleasant odor. Charentais melons turn from grey green to creamy white when they ripen. Charentais melons and most honeydews do not slip from the vine and should be cut leaving about an inch of vine attached. Most other melons including Casaba and Crenshaw types must also be cut from the vine.

There are numerous other melon types and in recent years many new hybrids between types have appeared on the market making it difficult to generalize about how to determine the optimum point to harvest them. With these less common types it is best to read the information from the seed supplier and gain personal experience with a particular type of melon to determine the best harvest time.

Watermelons are a bit more of a challenge when it comes to deciding when to harvest the fruit. They do not detach naturally from the vine when ripe nor do they have a distinct fragrance. When watermelons are grown on the ground the spot where the fruit sits on the ground will change from green to cream colored when ripe. Trellised fruit won't show that distinct ground spot but some change in rind color or sheen may be discernable.

The tendril across from the watermelon on the vine will dry up. The ripe fruit develops a more dull, muffled sound when thumped. However the sound of various watermelons will be quite different and so it takes some experience with a particular variety to become better at judging ripeness, much less discerning the distinctive thump! Cut the watermelon from the vine leaving about an inch of stem attached.

Tutorial for compost container - Great for the environment and your garden. Do NOT compost grass...


Tutorial for compost container - Great for the environment and your garden. Do NOT compost grass that's been treated with nasty weed killers however!


Ingredients 1.5 kg topside of beef 2 medium onions 2 carrots 2 sticks celery 1 bulb of gar...


Ingredients

1.5 kg topside of beef
2 medium onions
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
1 bulb of garlic
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs , such as thyme, rosemary, bay, sage
olive oil

Method
Full recipe from : yummly.co

Remove the beef from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it, to let it come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/ gas 9.
Wash and roughly chop the vegetables – there’s no need to peel them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.
Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with oil.
Drizzle the beef with oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper, then rub all over the meat. Place the beef on top of the vegetables.
Place the tray in the oven, then turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for 1 hour for medium beef. If you prefer it medium-rare, take it out 5 to 10 minutes earlier. For well done, leave it in for another 10 to 15 minutes.
If you’re doing roast potatoes and veggies, this is the time to crack on with them – get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.
Baste the beef halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them from burning.
When the beef is cooked to your liking, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the beef to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover it with a layer of tin foil and a tea towel and leave aside while you make your gravy, horseradish sauce and Yorkshire puddings.

INGREDIENTS 6 English Muffins $1.99 ¾ cup pizza sauce $0.65 1.5 cup shredded mozzarella $1.5...


INGREDIENTS

6 English Muffins $1.99
¾ cup pizza sauce $0.65
1.5 cup shredded mozzarella $1.50
Salad Bar Vegetables* $1.17

INSTRUCTIONS
Full recipe from : yummly.co

Line two small baking sheets with foil or parchment paper (or do one sheet at a time, preparing the second batch the second day). Open the English muffins and line them up on the baking sheets with cut sides facing up.
Spread about 1 Tbsp pizza sauce over the surface of each muffin, then top with about 2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella.
Chop the salad bar vegetables into very small pieces, then divide them evenly among the pizzas. Press down lightly on top of each pizza to help compact the toppings and keep them in place as they freeze. Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and freeze for about 8 hours, or until the pizzas are solid.
Once the pizzas are frozen solid, carefully transfer them to a gallon sized freezer bag for long term storage (you may need two bags). For the best results, the pizzas should be cooked and eaten within 3 months.
To bake the pizzas, take out the number you wish to bake, place them on a baking sheet, and let them partially thaw as you preheat the oven to 400ºF (about 7 minutes). Once the oven is fully preheated, bake the pizzas for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the amount of toppings on the pizzas.

This is a half-hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small c...


This is a half-hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small crop at a time. Days to maturity tend to be short. Garden lettuce is far superior, in both taste and vitamin A content, to supermarket brands.

How to Plant:
  • Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost date for earliest crop.
  • One week before setting seeds or transplants in the ground, till in compost or organic matter, especially if you have heavy soils.
  • Seed may be sown in single rows or broadcast for wide row planting. When broadcasting, you'll need to "thin" for the proper spacing.

Leaf lettuce: Plant 4 inches apart.
Cos and loose-headed types: Plant 8 inches apart.
Firm-headed types: Plant 16 inches apart.

  • Cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil.
  • Water thoroughly at time of transplant.
  • Consider planting rows of chives or garlic between your lettuce to control aphids. They act as "barrier plants" for the lettuce.

How to care of lettuce:
  • Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Lettuce prefers soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Use organic alfalfa meal or a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Make sure soil remains moist but is well-drained.
  • An organic mulch will help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and keep soil temperatures cool throughout the warmer months.
  • Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime even in the heat of the day to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.
  • Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots: They are shallow.

How to Harvest lettuce:
  • Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity. You want it young and tender.
  • Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the center leaves can continue to grow. Butterhead or romaine types can be harvested by removing the outer leaves, digging up the whole plant or cutting the plant about an inch above the soil surface. A second harvest is often possible this way. Crisphead lettuce is picked when the center is firm.
  • Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and it will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday.
  • As time passes, you will want to cut the whole plant from the ground.

How to plant root bound plants: Make numerous downward cuts so that the circular roots are cut....


How to plant root bound plants:
Make numerous downward cuts so that the circular roots are cut. This forces the roots to grow outward when they are replanted. Remove any brown or black roots, which are most likely dead. Keep the white roots, which are alive. ‘Massage’ the root ball of your plant, which will help loosen the roots even more. Plant your plant and its ‘freed roots’ in a larger pot or in the ground. The newly cut roots will grow outward and your plant will start growing again. And that’s all there is to fixing a root-bound plant.