Small Edible Garden

Getting a Small Kitchen Garden Started can be a fun summer project for your kids or for yourself.

Edible salad gardens in a pot can be a fun filled treat in your kitchen. The yummy greens are planted to the brim with tasty herbs like parsley, chives and spring onions, edible flowers, and baby spinach. I rotate the plants by planting seasonal greens and herbs in the summer and fall.

Clever design tips will help make the most of the space you have.  Lots of plants including vegetables require very little effort but reward you extremely well for a minimal outlay.  There are lots of clever ways to design your space for maximum production, design out problems like weather or nosy neighbors and add beauty, color, fragrance and structure as well as encouraging children to get their hands dirty. Keep it simple and you can fit at least some gardening into your life.  Having an idea of what you want is a good starting point. A few design ideas ( hanging basket with herbs) ( window sill leafy greens) ( medium size container to grow tomatoes on the patio or front porch)

Simple pots of fragrant culinary herbs are a great starting point for your kitchen garden. Such as lavender, rosemary, or mint, and Salad greens can be grown on the windowsill with lots of natural light. One or more large containers on your balcony or veranda can be planted with vegetables; tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.

 You can also try a mushroom growing kit – these can be grown indoors or outside and will provide you with several flushes of mushrooms.

So whatever you choose to start growing, you’ll get plenty of help right here.  Feel free to ask questions if you need to know more.

If you are ready to get started growing in a pot, make sure you choose the right container and consider when to plant your plants (certain veggies and herbs grow at different seasons.)

How to grow your own pineapple

Did you know you can grow a pineapple from the top (or crown) of the pineapple you bought from the store. It’s easier than opening up a tin of fruit salad, and the good news about growing a pineapple from the top is it doesn’t need much care.

Planting a pineapple top

So, you’ve already got a pineapple and want to know how to grow another one from the top. It’s a few easy steps to growing your pineapple plant.

Step 1 First, you cut off the crown. “If you use tops make sure you remove all the fruit flesh. The stem that is left needs to be bare, dry and clean.”

Step 2 What some people do next is put them in water to ‘root’, but, “In the case of pineapple tops it’s actually better to let it cure or dry for a day or two before planting.”

Step 3 Remove all the bottom leaves and any dead leaves.

Step 4 Fill a pot with soil.

Step 5 Make a hole big enough for the pineapple top and plant it.

Step 6 “They don’t need much water,.” They have very tough leaves so they don’t lose much water through evaporation. They can get by on very little.”

Step 7 once you plant your pineapple it will take some time to grow so patience

Ideal growing conditions

Pineapples grow in the ground but will also flourish in a pot. Taking care of your pineapple plant at home is easy. Pineapples grow slowly and only need watering about once a week.

As long as you plant your pineapple top in good soil and position it in a spot with good sunshine, you’ll see the rewards of your effort in just 15-18 months. (Yes it can take a while, As a general rule, it will take anywhere from 16 to 24 months to begin seeing fruits. If you live outside a tropical area or plan on growing your pineapple indoors, it can take longer. The long duration in which for them to grow is because it takes 200 flowers to develop into one fruit. That means every segment you see on the skin of a pineapple was once a flower. It then formed into a berry which then coalesced with other berries from the flowers on the same stalk to form the pineapple you see.

Iced Tea Recipes For Summer

Maybe it was because it’s what my dad ordered all the time and what we always had available in the fridge, but it holds such positive memories for me from my childhood.

As a kid, I loved all the different flavors of iced teas, though I can bet you I probably added way too much sugar into my iced tea recipes.

One of the best ways to keep healthy and help your body is running efficiently is to make sure you are drinking enough water during the day.  They say you’re supposed to be drinking half your weight, in ounces, of water each day.  That means, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should aim to be drinking 70 ounces of water each day.  This number goes up if you are exercising, but it’s a good way to have a baseline.

I hear from a lot of people they struggle with drinking plain ol’ water each day so they wind up not meeting their daily water requirements.

One tasty way to increase the amount of water you’re drinking is to make healthy iced tea recipes — this allows you some more flavors, but also keeps you hydrated.  You can also choose if you want the added caffeine, or not.

Lemon Basil Iced Tea

I’ve found a new flavor combination I absolutely LOVE and it’s lemon basil.  The combination of the tart lemon and sweet basil is so yummy and goes great in this iced tea.  This is my favorite ice tea recipe right now and is perfect for summer.

Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

Hard to go wrong with fresh summer blackberries and mint leaves, especially when they’re combined with green tea and enjoyed on a hot summer day.

Iced Peach Ginger Tea

Peach and ginger go very well together and create a tart, spicy iced tea recipe that is a great change to your typical iced tea.  This is also a great use of those fresh summer peaches you have on hand.

Ingredients

Lemon Basil Iced Tea

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

6 fresh basil leaves

2 green tea bags

3 cups hot water

raw honey, optional

Iced Peach Ginger Tea

1 peach, pitted and sliced

2 green tea bags

4 ginger coins

3 cups hot water

raw honey, optional

Blackberry Mint Ice Tea

1/2  cup  fresh blackberries

6 leaves  fresh mint

2  bags green tea

3 cups hot water

raw honey, optional

Instructions

Lemon Basil Iced Tea

Add the lemon slices, fresh basil leaves, and green tea bags to a 1 quart Mason jar or pitcher.

Pour hot water into the mason jar, and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Then, remove the tea bags.

Place into the fridge to completely chill for 3-4 hours for the flavors to release.

Iced Peach Ginger Tea

Add the sliced peach and green tea bags to a 1 quart mason jar or pitcher.

Skewer the sliced ginger coins on a toothpick, if desired, to make them easier to remove later, and then add them to the jar.

Pour the hot water into the mason jar, and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Then, remove the tea bags.

Place into the fridge to completely chill for 3-4 hours for the flavors to release.

Blackberry Mint Ice Tea

Add the fresh blackberries, mint leaves, and green tea bags to a 1 quart mason jar or pitcher.

Pour the hot water into the mason jar, and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Then, remove the tea bags.

Place into the fridge to completely chill for 3-4 hours for the flavors to release.

So next time you want to create a refreshing tea try one of these

Sandy Soil Plants

Choosing plants for sandy soil may initially feel somewhat limited, but gardeners can enhance their landscapes through the incorporation of hardy native plants. In general, plants that grow in the sand will require less maintenance from homeowners as they become established and naturalize in the landscape. Sandy soil has its advantages. It drains well, is easy to dig in and warms up faster in spring than clay soils, meaning that plants start growing earlier – but there are fewer species adapted to it compared to other soil types.

Here are just a few examples of flowers adapted to growth in sandy soil:

Succulents: Sedum is a hardy succulent that can be used as ground cover. It can grow without much water, in poor soil, and in intense sun and heat.

Salvia is a plant that can tolerate a lot of heat and dry soil while attracting butterflies and other pollinators. They prefer well-drained soil, which helps them thrive in sandy soil

Cosmos:  this plant can easily handle harsh conditions including drought and poor soil, so if you need a flowering annual that can attract butterflies, birds, and bees, then this may be an option.

Russian Sage: This purple sage actually prefers dry conditions, so it will thrive in sandy soil in growing zones five through 10. It is also a plant that does not require a lot of water or sun. They do spread, so you may need to prune and separate the plant.

Cosmos: This plant can easily handle harsh conditions including drought and poor soil, so if you need a flowering annual that can attract butterflies, birds, and bees, then this may be an option. They tend to grow best in zones two through 11.

Larkspurs can grow anywhere from one to seven feet in height. These plants can tolerate dry soil, but you will want to combine it with mulch. This plant grows best in zones two through 10, and they prefer shady conditions.

Plants that deter Bugs

Whether you want to keep mosquitos out of your yard or harmful pests out of your vegetable garden, there are natural ways to repel bugs that don’t involve citronella candles or pesticides.

 Basil: This easy-to-grow culinary herb doubles as a repellent for houseflies and mosquitoes. Plant basil in pots and place them around patios to form a protective barrier.

Bay leaf: Bay is slow-growing repellent plant and common ingredient in soups and stews. Bay leaves also repel flies, cockroaches, and ants. As an alternative to growing your own bay leaf plant, you can also purchase bay leaves at the grocery store and sprinkle pieces of the leaves around pest-heavy areas of your garden.

Chives: When planted in your garden, this allium plant deters Japanese beetles, carrot flies, aphids, mites, and even rabbits.

Chrysanthemums: Since they naturally contain a compound called pyrethrum that’s common in many artificial insect repellents, chrysanthemums are an effective way to deter pesky insects like spider mites, silverfish, Japanese beetles, ants, bed bugs, roaches, and fleas.

Dill: Planting dill is a way to repel bugs like spider mites, squash bugs, and aphids from your vegetable garden. A word of warning: Dill is known to attract tomato hornworms, so keep dill away from your tomato plants.

Garlic: This pungent allium plant is a bug repellent for carrot flies, cabbage worms, slugs, and aphids.

Geraniums: An iconic flower popular for flower beds and hanging baskets, geraniums deter many types of insects, including mosquitoes and leafhoppers.

Lemongrass: This attractive, tall-growing ornamental grass is a common ingredient in herbal teas. It contains a fragrant citronella oil that acts as a mosquito repellent.

Lemon thyme: Often grown for culinary purposes, lemon thyme helps keep mosquitoes at bay. Its tiny flowers also attract bees which help the pollination of surrounding plants.

Marigolds: The aroma of marigolds repels mosquitoes, aphids, and rabbits.

Mint: The essential oils found in mint plants—as well as other members of the mint family, like sage, peppermint, hyssop, lemon balm, oregano, and catnip—are all worthy mosquito repellents. Studies have indicated that catnip essential oils are more effective at repelling mosquitos than the chemical DEET, which is used in most synthetic insect repellents. Learn how to grow mint in your home garden here.

Nasturtiums: Nasturtiums are known as a “trap crop” because instead of repelling pests, they attract them to their own leaves. This means bugs like cabbage moths and aphids will focus on the nasturtiums instead of crops like cabbages, tomatoes, and beans. This makes nasturtiums a popular flower to plant along the border of vegetable gardens.

Pest-repelling plants can be both fragrant and beautiful. Try planting a few of these in your garden to keep the bug population in check.

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