Container Gardening Week– #7













Week 7 has been a busy week- suckers to pluck off of tomato plants growing fast and the first of the potato bugs.  Even in a small garden, there is work and diligence needed. I was shocked to see a potato bug–we’re two stories up?  So at this time, I have removed two of them and the leaves they were sitting on in case that is where they laid their eggs.  I have a total of 40 tomatoes on three tomato plants at this time. I purchased my potting soil, tomato gro and fertilizer from Purple Cow Organics and I never ever want to plant another garden if I can’t plant it using these products. Wow, what a difference organic soil and organic fertilizer make!

Right now I am mounding dirt around my potato plants because tubers will only grow in dirt that is around 65 degrees. So it is a must to keep the soil and pot and plant cool. The opposite is needed for tomatoes to turn red. They need hot 75 to 85-degree heat both on the plants and in the soil. Last year I stopped watering my plants for two to three days at a time and all my tomatoes ripened. Tomatoes will keep ripening even when the plant looks half dead.

Our week started out with a trip to the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. This was a trip we had planned for a couple of years and we really enjoyed seeing the Seed Savers Exchange gardens, fields and visitors center. We stopped at a few other favorite places in Decorah and then made our way back to Wisconsin. Of course, we had to stop at Bauer’s Marketplace in La Crescent, MN because they were having their buy one pot get one pot of flowers or herbs free. We purchased 6 large guinea impatiens and 4 geraniums and paid just over $20.00 for all. Fabulous deal and they had fresh asparagus to boot.

Everything in our container garden has grown double in size in less than two weeks. Plants we thought were going to die haven’t and plants we re-potted from Walmart potting soil, which had fungus gnats in it, are doing way better than we thought. Our garden looks great this year! I’ve harvested two small bouquets of lavender, more to come, and of course we had over a dozen salads from the lettuce. I also crushed the chocolate mint after I dried it and made tea from it. Best tea ever. I will share the recipe next time.  A little over a week ago I planted pumpkins and zinnias which are both up and doing well. My next project is to make some homemade salve or lotion using my lemon thyme. I am hoping for good results and I will share pictures here if successful. That’s all for this week–until next time be well.

Lavender & Summer Berry Salad

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Here’s a recipe for a  refreshing salad that my family really enjoyed this past weekend-

Lavender Infused Berry Salad

  • 2 tbsp A L Olivier Infused Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Pure Raw Honey ( I use Y.S. Eco Bee)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar ( I use MiaBella)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries- quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • garnish with fresh mint leaves-optional

Add all berries to a large bowl. Add the oil, honey, and vinegar to a small bowl. Whisk together until completely combined. Pour the dressing over the berries and toss to coat.  Refrigerate. This salad is best eaten the first day. It can be refrigerated another day or two depending on the ripeness of your berries.

I hope all my readers/followers are enjoying the last weeks of summer like my family is. Even though the season went fast goals my family and I talked about last spring were accomplished. Yes, some maybe not on their deadline, or very close to it, but others in the time we expected. Going into the fall we are ready for whatever it hands us. I know the need for me to volunteer will come a bit more often once school is back in session. Also during the holidays-peak time, when the need is the greatest. I’ve got my plan written down on how I will handle the extra responsibility of it.  I cannot say it enough if you love people and love helping people- volunteer. The reward is definitely in the act of giving of yourself and it doesn’t cost you a dime.

My container garden on the deck has dwindled down to cucumbers, two producing tomato plants, and mini pumpkins.

Until the next time we meet -stay well.

Lavender

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I’m growing lavender! This statement makes me so happy. Literally, I grin from ear to ear mainly because I’ve spent so much money buying other people’s lavender. I’ve accomplished growing quite a lot of lavender, from seed, in containers on my deck. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s very rewarding.

The lavender I planted is called Munstead lavender- a perennial herb. I learned all about growing lavender for cooking from Renee. Her website is here and is filled with a lot of important information about growing culinary lavender. Here is another wonderful website that explains the differences between culinary and ornamental lavenders.

The first thing I made with a few of my flowers was lavender ice cream.

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Can I tell you that eating lavender ice cream really relaxes you and it’s best eaten shortly before bed.
Summer is sure flying by for me. I sat looking at my lists for things to accomplish this summer, on Monday, and quickly checked off the following things-finished 80% of Christmas shopping by July 31st-check, lost the 30# that’s been hanging on forever- check, vacation-check, remodeling with friends- check, camping in a cabin- check, biking- check (WI and MN), Ikea and MOA-check twice, Lake Harriet picnic-check (besides our bike trip and occasional trips to Ikea we hadn’t been in MN for so long) graduate from university-check, preserve peaches, raspberries and strawberries and so much more- check, edit two chapters of my book-check, submit at least three writing assignments-check, research relocate-check, keep up both blogs weekly-check. Oh and yes- clean clean clean. I did spring cleaning and I currently fall cleaning. So I truly needed something as relaxing and soothing as lavender ice cream at the end of my busy days.

Lemon Lavender Scones

lemon lavender scone

It’s hard to decide what I love more, rosemary or lavender. I grow them both here inside and outside of my home all year round. I buy rosemary in the spring and plant it in containers on my deck and harvest throughout the year. I make lavender sachets with the lavender I grow. For cooking and baking, I buy culinary lavender throughout the year, using it whenever I make lavender ice cream. Every slow roasting chicken we make fills the air with fragrant rosemary. Honestly, I love them both.

When I sat down to plan my Easter menu I decided to try something new for Easter breakfast, Lemon Lavender Scones. I’m pretty excited to make them as I’ve never eaten a scone before.  Our Easter Sunday will be a quick and delicious breakfast of scones, hard-boiled eggs, and juice then church and back home to work on the dinner meal which will be served midday. We’ve invited four friends who did not otherwise have plans and I’ll be serving- Ham with a honey and brown sugar glaze, homemade scalloped potatoes, green beans with vinaigrette, roasted carrots (Ina Garten’s recipe), homemade rolls and New York Style Cheesecake. After the meal, there will be cards, crosswords, and board games for all.

I’m so looking forward to spring planting, I’ve got all my seeds started and the tomatoes and carrots are already sprouting. Along with getting our container gardens going my husband and I are looking forward to getting back to biking, something we do all summer long. Until next time, have a great weekend. Happy Easter to those that celebrate the holiday.

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