Feb 28, 2013

Speaking of Pineapple...

I hate to see things wasted, which is one reason why I compost.  However, some things, like pineapples, would take FOR-EV-ER to break down in the compost. (FOR-EV-ER... FOR-EV-ER. Sorry, can't help myself.  Bonus points to anyone who can name that movie.)

Put a kettle on with about 4 cups of water in it.  While this is heating, take your pineapple and give it a wash in the sink with soap and warm water.  Just lather it up and give it a good rinse.  It's a little strange, but trust me. Then put it on your cutting board.

Then move your cutting board because you realize you don't have enough counter space right here.  =) Cut off the top and bottom and discard.  (Unless you want to wait 2-4 years for the grow your own pineapple experiment, then save the top.)  Stand the pineapple up and carve away the skin until it looks like this:

Look at that juicy goodness.  Keep all those bits that you carved away and put them into a pitcher.  Then continue to cut up your pineapple, also removing the tough core from the center.
Yum.  Keep the core with the other scraps in the pitcher.  Then try to stop yourself from eating all the fresh pineapple.  Heh.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to the scraps.  When the kettle whistles, (or water boils in whatever fashion you are boiling your water) pour 4 cups of boiling water over the sugar and pineapple.

Now here's the hard part.  Let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature.  =)  Then strain and put in the fridge for a cool, refreshing drink.  It's really that easy.

Disclaimer: Every bit of delicious pineapple is harmed in the making of this drink.

Feb 19, 2013

Easy Peasy

Note: This post is not about peas.  Although, come to think of it, that would have been a clever title. =)

Have you seen those pictures that say: Grow your own _____?  I kept seeing the grow your own celery pictures.  It looks so simple!  Just cut off the bottom, and put in water for a week.  You should start seeing growth and roots, then you can put it right in the garden.  Easy peasy, right?

First tip: must remember to add water.  First try... I kind of forgot about it. Whoops.  Hey, give a girl a break, grad school keeps me reading and writing non-stop.  Not to mention researching primary documents until my eyes cross. And quietly crying, with crossed eyes, over the primary documents because I'm in the library and you have to cry quietly in the library.

HA! Only kidding, folks, it's not that bad. However, I AM two weeks behind on Downton Abbey. My life is in shambles.  =)

Back to the celery...  Here's my second attempt in the beginning:

As you can see, I took organic celery, and just chopped off the bottom.  Nothing exciting here, folks.
Day 3:

Can you see that teeny tiny root?  I do!

Day 7:
Look a little closer...

I'll keep you updated, but can someone please remind me to water??  I'd also like to add that the grow your own pineapple, which also seems like a good idea, is not, in my opinion. Pineapple plants take 2-4 years to start producing.  I am not that patient, but if you are... Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out. =)

Feb 11, 2013

Weekend Workout (Warning: Parenthesis Addiction)

Hi my name is Angela, and I'm addicted to parenthesis. See this big pile of dirt here?  It was placed here by persons who shall remain unnamed for their own safety.  Said nameless person had grand plans for my garden and was going to relocate it all.  So, said unnamed person moved all of my beautiful rich soil to this undisclosed spot in the yard. (Note: I have no idea why I'm talking like this.)

Well, said plans have been scrapped, and one fine 65 degree day, I took on the task of putting things back.  This pile of dirt was light and beautiful and full of rich, organic material.  I've babied this dirt for three years.  You can't buy dirt like this, I'm telling ya. (Note: You probably can.)

I started with a mix of what we had in the yard, organic potting soil, and a few other soil amendments.  Since then, every time I plant a new crop I add compost to replenish what has been taken out by the growing plant.  I also regularly fertilize with compost tea.  This dirt is full of calcium from crushed eggshells, and other great organic things from my worms. (Read: Worm poop)

The point of this post is to give you a little info on how to get this rich, black earth.  When I put my garden to "bed" in the winter, I take finely mulched leaves and layer them on in a depth of about two inches.  I give the whole thing a good watering, and know in the spring it will have broken down into more rich loaminess. (Loaminess?  I don't know who says that besides me.)

Back to the task at hand...

Since the beds were empty, I moved them away from the fence a little bit more, and started the long, slow process of moving dirt by the wheelbarrow-full.

 I hate to admit it, but by the end of this process, I was so tired I forgot to take final pictures.  (Not to mention that I probably didn't have a clean hand to take pictures.)  =)

Feb 6, 2013


What does a Gardenerd dream about?  It's quite simple really.  See this corner of my backyard here?

It's against the back of the house and is nicely shaded for most of the day.  There's this weird concrete half wall there.  It's right by the water hose.

All I can think about is putting a little potting bench here.  It's the perfect location!  Just something simple like...

They have a slew of beautiful ideas here... I would take any almost any one of them home with me.
Or better yet, look at this little beauty...

Why am I partial to the second??  Think on it... Wait for it... Bueller... Bueller?

Did you guess? It's the mosaic top!  Every time I see a wooden potting bench I think of the work it would take to refinish that top, or keep it in good shape, should I leave it outside like I would want to.  Also, the drawers and/or a cabinet would be great for storing things that you might not want out in the elements.  Now picture that little beauty in this corner:

Simple dreams for a simple Gardenerd. =)

Feb 4, 2013

The plants, they are a changin'

I know you won't believe it, readers, but the front plants that I hate are slowly being removed.  The rose bush is gone, the purple sand cherry is a distant memory, and only a few evergreens are left!  They could probably all be gone right now, but I'm holding on to a few until spring when I can plant...

An edible (small) front garden!!!

I'm in the process now of picking plants, and have come across a few useful websites.  The name of this one cracks me up: http://www.dogislandfarm.com/2012/03/the-edible-front-yard-without-pissing-off-your-neighbors-or-your-city.html

Although there are currently a few things up in the air, I'm continuing on with planning, because I need something to look forward to, garden wise.  =)  I've decided on blueberries for sure, because they provide 3 season color in addition to berries.

I'm still exploring chamomile as an option and perhaps even more of that royal herb, basil.  I want everything in that front space to not only be beautiful, but useful.  For all the water we use on lawns, there is really not much use to be had by the green stuff, so I refuse to put more grass in this small front plot.

What would you put in your edible front garden?  Any ideas will be considered!