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8/29/2009 08:57:00 PM

Council for Responsible Genetics

I saw this over at Garden Girl's forum from another member there. The site is dedicated to a safe seed program where seed distributors can sign up saying that they are selling seeds that, to their knowledge, are not genetically modified.

It shows distributors not already taking the pledge how they, too, can pledge that their seeds are genetically safe.

It also has a list of seed distributors that have already taken the pledge for your seed shopping needs.

All in all, a definite 10 on the Greener Meter scale.

8/29/2009 02:07:00 AM


Ok, I know this is way off gardening topic, but Loch Ness is interrupting.

Apparently, someone thinks that she has been captured by Google Earth.

8/28/2009 09:42:00 PM

Strawberry Tip

For your first year of planting strawberries, pinch the blooms off to help build stronger, healthier plants and to also make bigger strawberries.

8/28/2009 01:24:00 PM

Really Cool Vegetable Database

Ever get the feeling that you just pick the wrong varieties? You try 4 different ones, they all suck but your neighbor seems to sniff out the goodies when you're stuck with stunted, half-dead plants that won't sustain themselves much less a family.

Welp, here is something to help you out. The University of Saskatchewan has this program where they are putting all the varities to the test and man, is it handy. I've been digging in there on and off and have found that several varieities I wanted to try probably wouldn't be too good of an idea for me to try without a back up.

The really awesome thing about this after I had time to really sit down and look is that it gives you a recommended list of stuff to grow based on their trials. Very handy indeed.

So, have a look at this thing and let me know what you think about it.

8/27/2009 09:04:00 PM

Honey Strawberry Preserves

6 cups sliced strawberries
2 packages (1 3/4-ounce size) powdered pectin
1 3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine strawberries and pectin in large saucepan; crush berries to blend completely. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in honey and lemon juice; return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Skim off foam. Ladle into clean, hot canning jars to within 1/4 inch of tops. Seal according to manufacturer's directions.

Place jars on rack in canner. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath with boiling water 2 inches above jar tops. Remove jars from canner. Place on thick cloth or wire rack; cool away from drafts.

After 12 hours test lids for proper seal; remove rings from sealed jars.

Makes 3 pints.

8/26/2009 08:31:00 PM

Red Magic Lily

I really like this flower. It's so lovely and unusual. I found it over at and they have a lot of very lovely and very unusual bulbs there. I'm looking forward to going back to the site, unfortunately, while I was browsing, I got a "Site Upgrade" message.

Oh well. There are other places to search.

Today was a really good day. Lots of sunshine and the mini dwarf orchard is doing very well. Hydroponic carrots are growing big and strong, too!

I have one great giant one, and a lot of sprouts. I was afraid of the rest being shaded so I turned the pot to help get them more sun. The growth on these little guys has improved. We're very excited! The kids think this is just fabulous and we're looking forward to a continued harvest down the road.

School has started, things are starting to calm down from all the chaos. The kids are excited about being back in school. We've had out little bumps in the road in the first days of school, but we seem to be straightening ourselves out. Happily, the bumps we small. I think the dog has taken this harder than anyone else. Everyone runs off and leaves him at home alone, the poor pathetic little thing.

Even with our busy schedules and our active lifestyles, we still manage to sit down to the dinner table and have a meal together. We may not cook elaborate meals every night, but we make it a point to have that family time together. It is amazing to me, and at first was quite novel. I think this is because of my generation.

Being of Generation X, I was a latch key kid. My generation was very self reliant because most of us only had one parent and they worked. At an early age I cooked full meals, I handled my own laundry, I took care of the house, animals and garden and my homework without being told because I had to grow up faster than the previous generation. I am teaching my children these traits (or at least I'm trying to teach them these values). I want them to handle their own cleaning and they help me cook. The older they get, the more they do. So it is family time the moment we walk in from school and work. We work together to get the meals made, the table set, and then dishes done when its over. We are trying to teach them to do as much of their homework as possible before they get home from the sitter so that we can have more family time (and work on that math problem we just couldn't quite solve on our own).

We are trying to instill face time. Where Traditionalists and Boomers need that face time, my generation is comfortable with face time or just an email. Generation Y doesn't do so well with face time as they are more dependent on technology than X. What will my little one's generation be about? Video conferencing? Face time in another manner, I guess. But that doesn't take the place of family face time. This is where we are trying to uphold the dinners together. If we do not have dinner together, everyone knows something is very wrong.

I was quite ill not too long ago with a rather nasty virus that had me in bed for three days sipping every herbal concoction known to man trying to find the energy to just get out of bed. The first two days, our family meal was very much on hold because my husband didn't get off work until much later and I could hear the children at the table as their made their sandwiches for dinner talk about how much they wished we could all be at the table together. I managed to pull myself out of bed day two and my oldest son made me his best rendition of a PB & J and then helped me back to bed when I couldn't sit up anymore. He tucked me in and stayed around long enough for me to start dozing again before he went back out and took firm command of the clean up process. His sister made sure the pets were fed and cared for in those two days, periodically coming in to fetch my dog who rarely left my side while I was not well and took him out to do his business. My youngest child was in and out checking to make sure that I was comfortable and asking me if he could do anything and laying with me for long periods and telling me how miserable I looked. Hehe. Those moments made me very proud because even though I can't always see that what we are teaching is sinking in but it came through when it really counted. Family time means something.

8/25/2009 12:13:00 PM

Lilies and Tulips

I just love flowers. Tulips and lilies are perhaps the easiest to care for. Plant and go. The only real problem I've had with them is that the bulbs are eaten before I have a chance to do anything between the deer and squirrels diging them up. But there are ways around that!

Biltmore Estate Lily Bulbs: Landini

The Original Big Orange Tiger Lily

Red Tiger Lily

Stargazer Lily

Darwin Hybrid Tulip Bulbs: Design Impression

Biltmore Estate Tulip Bulbs: Prairy Fire

Lily Flowered Tulip Bulbs: West Point

Lily Flowered Tulip Bulb: Pretty Woman

Tulip: Virichic

8/24/2009 10:55:00 PM

Candied Ginger and Garlic

Candied Ginger and Garlic

You can make this recipe dry with just the sugar and spice (the sugar
will form a thin glaze itself) or add water for a thicker syrup which
can itself be added to coffee or a particularly strong tea (it's really sweet). This is wonderful for treating the common cold.

Cut off a hunk of ginger root about half the size of your thumb (or
however much you want to eat). Slice it thin. You can leave the skin on
or peel it. The skin softens in the pan, especially if you use water, so it's no big deal. Slice a clove or two of garlic in similar fashion (but removing all peelings). Place the garlic and ginger in a small saucepan and add a few tablespoons of sugar. You can also add generous helpings of cinnamon and allspice to enhance the ginger's flavor and decongestant property. If you want to make the syrup, also add some water (enough to dissolve the sugar in). Start on medium heat and move to low once the sugar has started to dissolve.

8/23/2009 07:35:00 PM

Cold and Fever

Cold, Fever
1 ounce dried Elder Flowers
1 ounce dried Peppermint Leaves
½ pint distilled water

Mix the herbs. Place in a quart saucepan. Pour 1/2 pints of distilled boiling water over it. Cover and allow to steep in a hot place for 10 to 15 minutes (do not boil). When ready, strain into another saucepan. Sweeten with honey if desired.

Note: Once covered for steeping, do not raise the lid, as this will cause it to lose some of its strength.

Recommended Dose:

Take this in bed, well covered with blankets to retain the heat.

For severe colds and fevers, drink one pint as hot as possible, and remain in bed, well covered.

For children: one half to one cup.

After taking this remedy, stay in bed well covered for at least 12 hours to promote free perspiration.

Please note: This remedy is quite harmless and safe. It will induce perspiration 20 to 40 minutes after taking, and sometimes sooner. This will soothe you to sleep, and the perspiration will continue for several hours.

In some cases, the temperature has been reduced from 104 to 99 degrees within two hours!!

According to Dr. Dr. Edward E. Shook, well known herbalist, "there is no remedy for colds and fevers of any description equal to this simple life-saving formula."

The next morning, if the fever or cold is completely broken, take a sponge bath with warm water. Change linens in bed. Take some light nourishment such as fruit juices, (pineapple, orange or prune juices). Keep your body warm and away from all drafts for a day or two.

If one dose does not completely break up the cold or fever, take another dose after 24 hours.

8/22/2009 10:31:00 PM

Free Green Can

Ok, this is cool. I stumbled across the Free Green Can today and I am clapping happy for it. It's a trash can and a recycle bin in one and it is free to anyone that wants to get started or wants to compliment their current program. And according the the website, one is paid to use the free green can which would get anyone jumping. They have video about it, too. Very 10 on the greener meter!

You know the City of Knoxville must hate me. I am always sending them this stuff.

8/22/2009 08:29:00 PM

Lots of Flowers and a bit of a rant

I found this really awesome blog, A Garden of Grace and Whimsy. It is just beautiful. This lady loves her flowers and she has tons of pictures to prove it!

I also swung by Garden Rant to see a news clip that just pissed me off. It wasn't the warning that the segment was trying to convey, it was at the very beginning where the woman who has this flower in her garden actually had the audacity to say she couldn't believe that such a plant was legal because it was so deadly. The news anchor chimes in "especially since it has been used to commit murder." They go on to talk about another plant and then she says it. "Later on this morning... Plants with evil intent."

I just about dropped my laptop.

Are you kidding me? Plants with evil intent? Oh yes, that's right, they get up, walk over to someone's food and hop in of their on volition. Arrest that flower. Your honor, this flower is guilty of murder! No. The woman that plucked it and used it to murder her husband is guilty. She could have done it with a sledge hammer or a bottle of drano, an injection she picked up from a carelessly unattended cart at the hospital and none of those items would have been accused of evil intent. Its disgusting.

The idiocy is astounding. A grown woman standing in front of a camera talking about plants as if they have the will or ability to do something... what did she get her triple dose of cartoons before she filmed that?

The fact of the matter here and now is that these plants are to be respected. Respected. Not accused as if it were a court room. Respect the plant. Grow up. Quit trying to terrify people. And for the love of all things sacred, don't be so hypocritical to say it should be illegal and have the damn thing growing in your yard. That is just stupid because when they do make it illegal (thanks in no small part to you), your house is the first one they'll come to.

Sheeple. Please understand that these people are blowing things out of proportion. You do not have to worry about a stray petal of whatever flower strolling into your kitchen when you aren't looking to kill you. If you put some time and effort into researching what the media feeds you, you'd find out that 95% of it is bullshit. Can the plant kill you? Yep. Which is exactly why you shouldn't eat it. Would you have been tempted before that segment? Probably not.

Disgusting, I say.

8/21/2009 09:08:00 PM

Horehound for Colds and Coughs

I was out shopping for school and realized that the autumn decorations are already out. And then it hit me that next month marks the beginning of fall and it is only a few days away. Jeez, next week it will be Christmas at this rate!

That also got me pulling out my goodie folder of cold remedies. Lots and lots of advice from a lot of different websites, books and ahem, herbalists.

Aside from drinking herbal infusions for colds and flu, there are additional things that homemakers can whip up and create that are less likely to be filled with.. well unpronounceable 12 syllable words. I'd much rather prefer that my ingredient list be as monosyllabic as possible, thank you.

Horehound Drops
published on alt.folklore.herbs 1995

4 ounces of fresh horehound leaves
1/2 tsp crushed aniseed,
3 crushed cardamon seed
2 1/2 c of water, simmer this for 20 minutes then strain

Dissolve 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 c of brown sugar in the tea liquid. Boil until reaches hard crack stage pour into oiled try. Score when partially cooled.

These can be wrapped in wax paper and then dropped in a ziplock. They will store for a long time but mine have never lasted long enough for me to test the length of time they will keep.

This is a pretty easy thing to do especially if you've ever made your own candy before. It takes a little time but the effort is worth it.

8/19/2009 08:55:00 PM

Good Fungicide

If you need a good safe organic fungicide simply mix 2 tablespoons of Baking Soda per gallon of water, spay the plants liberally. This puts an alkaline coating on the plants which doesn't allow the fungus to grow and is completely safe for both plants and animals.

8/16/2009 11:21:00 PM

More Spotted Wilt

It would seem that I am not the only victim of the spotted wilt. I was asked how my tomatoes were doing by someone at work and wouldn't you know it, he too had the same problem. And his mother. And their neighbor. And the two gardens I was working on with friends, they were also victims of the spotted wilt. What we all thought was blight, turned out to be a virus and their complaints were the same as mine. No pest management when it rains every evening at the same time.


It's just so disheartening. The good that came from all of this is that it really has given food for thought. That aeroponic system looks really good now, so I went down to the lone hydroponic shop in town and started really getting serious about pricing. I talked with the owner for a good long while and we shared some gardening tidbits. He liked my tums for blossom end rot (as we know most blossom end rot is caused by cal or mag deficiency, pick one, tums is nothing but cal and mag) and actually seemed thoughtful about it for a moment and even more surprised when I told him that I have not had problems with it. But I was in the presence of a giant. Hydroponic gardener for 20+ years. I sooo bow down to the master. His vast knowledge will definitely see me through.

So, between helping other customers that came in, he was coaching me on what a starting hydroponic gardener really needs and he kept it very simple. I asked lots of questions about nutrients and lighting and supplements and he was more than happy to really dish out the goodies on all of that. And strangely, the nutes he uses are actually not the stuff that I thought he'd use. I mean, there is Advanced Nutrients (loved that million dollar challenge Big Mike put out), General Hydroponics, Foxfarm and all the other giants, but he actually uses a more obscure brand of nutrient and sticks to it. Fairly amazing to me.

On top of that, he loaded me down with freebies. I have literature coming out of the yin yang. Lots of magazines and pamphlets and just a ton of really awesome advice.

I got home and went through his product catalog and my husband and I started taking inventory of hardware we don't have to build our own system (like that 3 and 4 inch hole attachment for the drill, who has that lying around anyway?) and went on a price check. Everything was reasonable that we'd need to purchase. I looked at flo tubes for a grow room, too. So, we've come to the conclusion that we're looking forward to having a hydro system set up outside for seasonal growing, but we really want to have an indoor one growing stuff all year round as well. Like the tomatoes that we've failed to actually get to eat for the past couple of years due to disaster after disaster.

This winter we'll be rather busy with raised beds, chicken tractors, greenhouse and hydroponic/aeroponic systems to be built. I'm looking forward to keeping busy. I'm thinking of trying to get first indoor system built here shortly. Nothing huge, just a 4 or 6 plant system that will be capable of handing a couple of tomatoes and peppers and maybe some basil. With the start of the school year next week for us, that might have to go on hold until things calm down.

Wish me luck!

8/08/2009 06:01:00 PM

Milk it

One way to give your tomatoes a nice boost to help fight off fungus diseases is to spray them down with milk. This also helps give calcium to them which helps them fight off disease as well. Any milk will do, just make it a 1:10 milk to water ratio and spray away. You can use other dairy products besides milk or chocolate milk, sour cream and yogurt works, too!

8/04/2009 09:54:00 PM

Curry Pickles

Curry Pickles
Family recipe from Steve Hougland

36 med. pickling cukes-thinly sliced

pour boiling water over slices and let stand 3 hours
mix together in large kettle:

  • 1 qt. vinegar
  • 6 TB. Salt
  • 6 cup sugar
  • 2 TB. mustard seed
  • 1 TB. Celery seed
  • 1 TB. curry powder
Let come to a boil & add pickle slices - simmer until they turn translucent - do not boil.

Pack into pint jars and seal and process in waterbath canner for time recommended in your area.

Makes 14 pints.

8/01/2009 11:27:00 PM

Ok, this is sad

The next craze. :(

I'm Green Inside!

I'm Green Inside!
How green are you?

The Growing Challenge

The Growing Challenge
Just one more...

Fred's Fine Fowl

Fred's Fine Fowl
All things poultry