Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Community Garden Update - April 2019


Work continues on the community garden. I've been working in the garden for 2-4 hours a day, five days a week  (it would be more but the weather forces me to take a break). I've gotten sunburn and splinters and have been coated in a layer of thick dust, but I absolutely love it!

In the last 2 weeks, the beds have been cleared out and the majority of the dead weeds raked from the property.


I've been removing the tattered landscape fabric from the planting beds and trimming it to salvage the pieces that are still good.

Some look better than others. When it's patched like this, at least it's doubled up in some places. This is just one way I'm trying to extend the garden budget.
Progress has slowed a bit because the entire neighborhood is getting new roofs. Remember that huge hail storm last year? Hail can do some serious damage.

Anyway, the roofing company has designated the community garden parking lot as their staging area.


At least there is a little room on one side to walk...
Since the parking lot is taken over and everything nearby is considered a tow-away zone, I have to carry in all my tools from a couple blocks away. NOT fun. I think I'm now looking into getting a garden cart to use.


So things are still moving along, just with a little more effort.

A local Boy Scout troop has been coming in once a week do do some work to earn their service hours. I REALLY appreciate the help! It would take me several hours (or days!!!) to move the dirt from all those planting beds!

Remember this tall planting bed that was falling apart?




It was disassembled and its soil was moved to other beds. The one that was leaning has also been taken apart.

The lumber was saved and they will both be rebuilt at a much shorter height. I plan for these to be used for planting herbs for community use.

I didn't realize the garden beds were made from privacy fence slats until I started taking them apart.
By reusing the materials available so far, I have been able to complete 5 of the smaller square planting beds with lining and soil.

The bottoms of the planting beds are lined with cardboard.
The exposed wood has been scrubbed down to remove old stain, splinters and dust. I'll be staining them this week (weather permitting) using donated stain.


The city has "free mulch" days and one of them is coming up this weekend. Although I can't bring in a whole truckload (or three) of mulch until June (when the roofers clear out), I plan to get several large containers of mulch every time there is a free day and use it to top off the planting beds. The soil dries out so quickly in this dry climate and the mulch really helps to keep it moist for the plants.

The rock pile just keeps growing. It's amazing how much rock was in the soil!

My winter sowing is coming along. I'm not sure where we would be able to have a plant sale now that the parking lot is fenced off, but if nothing else, there will be LOTS of plants for the garden!!!

I have several herbs spouting...

Winter sown cilantro.

Winter-sown dill...though what is that large leaf in there???

I've planted cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, chives and mint. All but the oregano have sprouted already (but I just planted the oregano last week so it probably just needs more time).

The "Red Siberian" tomatoes (from Botanical Interests) and "Early Jalapeno" (by Burpee) are also coming up...unusual since tomatoes and peppers are usually the last sprouts to appear. Perhaps it's because of the varieties I've chosen.

Some Red Siberian tomato sprouts.

I had to cover them last week for a blizzard/snow/freeze (I brought some inside, too) and they all pulled through just fine!

Slowly, slowly, slowly, improvements are happening...





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Friday, April 12, 2019

5 Clever Ways to Use Vinegar


This magazine clipping was found among a bunch of old recipe cards in a recipe file box. Judging from the reverse side ( a sweepstakes entry), it dates to the mid 1990s. However, the advice given here can certainly still be used today.

5 CLEVER WAYS TO USE VINEGAR

  • Give bean or vegetable soups more zip: Just before serving, splash in red-wine vinegar (1 tsp. at a time to taste). This gives the soup a lively tartness. 
  • Make “buttermilk”: In a pinch, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk; let stand 5 minutes to thicken. 
  • Extend the life of cut flowers: Keep them in 2 Tbsp white vinegar, 3 Tbsp sugar and 1 qt warm water. (At least 3 inches of stems should be underwater.) 
  • Serve fluffier white rice: Add 1 tsp white vinegar to the boiling water just before stirring in the rice. 
  • Give ripe strawberries a sweet, mouth-watering tang: Gently mix 1 pint sliced strawberries with 2 Tbsp 
I use the buttermilk tip quite often to make homemade “buttermilk” salad dressings. I also dilute white vinegar with water for some household cleaning and add a generous splash (or "glug") of white vinegar to my waterbath or pressure canner before processing jars to keep the white hard water film from forming on the jar sides.

What are some of the ways you use vinegar? I know there are a lot. Comment with your vinegar tips and “secrets”.




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Monday, April 8, 2019

Free Irises For The Community Garden

Back in early April I ran across someone in the neighborhood who was changing up their landscaping and had a lot of irises to give away.

I already have a lot of beautiful irises lining my front walk, but the community garden could sure use a pop of color. And "free" works great with the budget! I wound up with a huge bag of rhizomes for the garden! I brought them home, cleaned them up and planted them in planters to keep them safe until we were ready to move them to the garden.



The next day, I got a message to pick up another box with some HUGE clumps of rhizomes! I needed to work a bit to separate them but when I finished I had SIX big planters full of irises!


They don't look like much here, but just underneath the soil there are iris rhizomes packed in there laying back to back. I just needed them to be taken care of for a couple months until I have their spot ready in the garden area.

I plan to use these to line the entire front space along the community garden fence. Maybe space them out with some annuals in between. I'll have to think of some way to thank this generous neighbor!




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Friday, April 5, 2019

Vintage Recipe: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


This recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake was handwritten on both sides of a decorative recipe card. It was found in an old large recipe file box. The age of the recipe card is unknown.



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Friday, March 29, 2019

Vintage Recipe: German Oven Pancake (Dutch Baby)

I'm digging into old recipe boxes and rediscovering the family favorites hidden inside! You'll find carefully handwritten recipe cards, newspapers and magazines clippings and even some hastily scrawled directions on scraps of paper, all from years (and years) ago! They're all getting scanned and transcribed so you can enjoy them in your own home kitchen. 


If you've been around cast iron for very long, you've probably heard of, seen or even made an Oven pancake similar to this one (also called a Dutch Baby or German Pancake).

Some of the recipes I've seen have sugar added. This one does not. You can make it sweet simply by topping it with powdered sugar, jelly or jam (as suggested in the recipe), berries and whipped cream, or maple syrup.

Or make it a savory dish and serve it with sausage gravy, shrimp in a cream sauce, a blend of buttered veggies, or a poached egg.

The key to getting the "puff" is whipping it a lot which is achieved in a blender. You can also use an electric mixer but be sure to really whip air into it.


You'll see in the recipe, this  oven pancake only calls for 2 eggs. It is fine for 2 people with average appetites, especially when serving it with other other items. However, The Boy could have eaten this whole thing by himself with no problem (and then asked for more).

This recipe for an Oven Pancake, was handwritten on both sides of an index card. It was found in an old large recipe file box. The age of the recipe card is unknown.



DISCLOSURE:This post may contain affiliate links. I earn from qualified purchases. Thank you for supporting Little House In Colorado.