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Shady Veggie Gardening

I have two spots in my yard that I plant veggies. A really sunny spot where I have one raised bed (pictured above from last summer). Last year I grew tomatoes, swiss chard, eggplant, basil and lettuce with great success. This time around I will plant tomatoes, basil and probably swiss chard again. My other larger area is two large raised beds in partial shade (pictured below). I’ve had some success with broccoli and cauliflower but other veggies that I’ve planted wanted full sun. This year I did some research on shade tolerant plants and I’m going to try kale, spinach, lettuce and strawberries for sure, not sure what else. I think I will also mix in some shade tolerant flowers and plants. Here’s a good list or this one for some shade tolerant veggies. Now if I can just figure a way to keep my annoying dogs out of the garden area everything would be peachy! Got any...

Grow your own Mushrooms!

For Christmas I bought my hubby an oyster mushroom growing kit by Back to the Roots. We like to eat mushrooms and I thought it would be fun to see them grow. I should have given it to one of my kids because it sat on the counter unopened until now. But… It’s pretty amazing and super easy to do, no green thumb necessary. Mushrooms grow damn fast, you can eat them on the 10th day! It’s like one of those time lapse videos. You spray them with water twice a day – in the morning and night time – and by then they’ve grown an inch. We had to put a little wedge under the box because the weight of the mushrooms will tip the box over. The concept was started by two UC Berkeley students using coffee ground waste. Check out the kits here. Now we can have some fresh home grown vegetables for dinner tonight,...

Last Veggie Harvest – Got Green Tomatoes?

On Friday, I was cleaning up the veggie garden and I had so many green tomatoes. Last year I made fried green tomatoes but this year I wanted to try something new. I decided to try pickled tomatoes. It’s a very easy process and hopefully pretty tasty. I don’t like tomatoes but everyone else in the family does. Here’s what I did: 1. Sterilize your canning jars in boiling water 2. Wash tomatoes, cut off stem and cut in half (mine were cherry tomatoes) 3. Combine  and boil 1 cup white vinegar, 1.25 cups water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt for 1 pound of green tomatoes 4. Put a clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon of dill seeds and 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns into each jar or one large jar (I used 3 smaller jars). You can also add other seasonings, like a chili pepper 4. Pour the hot mixture over the tomatoes to within 1/4″ of the top. Wipe the jar top, put the lids on and tighten. Age for at least 2 days in the refrigerator. ENJOY! I also had lots of left over basil, which I love and use a lot. I washed all of the leaves and let them dry than put them in the freezer on a baking sheet. Once they were frozen I put them in a freezer zip lock bag. By individually flash freezing them first you retain the green color, otherwise they often will turn black. Click for some other options.     I also had lots of basil that I wanted to...