Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Love Bargains

Just had to share these pictures of my bargain hanging baskets.  I picked up these beautiful baskets for $10.00 each at a road side stand on my way home this evening.  The price at the local farmer's market was $25.00 each for a basket this size and and $36.00 at my favorite garden center.  I love a bargain.  Looks like I may have to get a taller pole for the pink one this week-end! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Veggie Plants are Blooming

Last week-end I headed out to cut bamboo for my pole beans and squash/zucchini.  My brother has a yard full of bamboo, and offered a few pieces for my garden.  

We cut 7 foot pieces for my pole beans and tied them at the top with twine, and about 10 pieces of various sizes for my other vining veggies.   I planted Blue Lake pole and bush beans and several bush Wax beans in this area.  All are coming up nicely. 

This is the squash trellis I made.  It's amazing how a pole can look straight while you're in one position, and totally off when you're in another.  That will teach me to wait until I have help.  I'll straighten it out tomorrow when I have another set of eyes, lol.

I found this fabulous old peach orchard ladder and decided to put it the garden this year.  It contains my $2.00 clearance daisy from Lowes.  I have more bush beans and Roma tomatoes under it.  I'll pot up a few plants to place on the other steps of the ladder this week-end.  I have just about everything in,  I need to add a few more cukes, dill, red onions and some additional flowers.  Can't wait to make pickles this year.   

My peppers are flowering.  I planted 15 chili, cayenne, Hungarian, jalapeno and  2 sweet.  I have 2 pink Brandy Wine, 1 Hillbilly, 2 Paul Robeson, 1 Beefsteak, and 1 German Johnson that survived.  Didn't do well with my tomato germination, hopefully next year I will be more successful.  I was truly hoping for a few Cherokee Purple.  I searched the local garden centers, and none carried Cherokee Purple for replacements.  Heirlooms are rare in most garden centers in my area.  Not sure where I went wrong.  I think next year, I won't attempt to transplant them as early.  I'll wait until their stronger.     

I'm hoping that my cages will hold the heirlooms.  How do you cage your tomatoes?  I may add a few of the bamboo poles for reinforcement this week-end.  If they get as heavy as the Amish Paste did last year, I'll need it.   What's in your garden this year? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Strawberry Grahams

I worked diligently last night to slice 2 flats of strawberries.  I am proud to say, they are securely in the freezer waiting to be used in soothies and whatever recipe I can find.  We made Strawberry Grahams this afternoon and they were wonderful.  My daughter was the first to grab a Graham from the plate.  She practically inhaled them.    

We used Graham crackers, whipped cream and fresh strawberries to make this wonderful treat.  I modified the original recipe, which called for sugar and vanilla to be added to the whipped cream.  We just used the whipped cream as is.  My 4 year old grandson does not need a sugar rush believe me.  Especially, when his mommy is looking on.   

My 9 month old granddaughter enjoyed the delicious treat too as my grandson looks on.  This was her first taste of whipped cream, and she loved it.  She was still smacking her lips long after it was gone, lol.  If you have children or grandchildren, they will enjoy making them as much as eating them.  Great way to use fresh strawberries! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry Fields Forever.   Love that song by the Beatles and I love the strawberry fields for the wonderful strawberries they produce.  We visited my favorite Farmer's Market today for an afternoon of strawberry picking with my grandson.  The strawberries were at their peak and becking to be taken home by strawberry pickers.  I did indulge. 

My grandson had never been to a strawberry patch and had a wonderful time helping Mawmaw pick berries.  Not one  green berry in the bunch, lol. 

Now what to do with all these berries.  We picked two flats today; I see lots of smoothies on the horizon during the hot summer months ahead.   They will be perfect after a day of working in the garden.  What do you do with your frozen strawberries?   How do you freeze them?   I slice mine in  half before freezing them.  My blender doesn't handle frozen whole berries well.  I also like freezing them individually on a cookie sheet and than placing them into freezer bags.  They're perfect as ice cubes in my lemon-ade in the summer.  I prefer not to use tons of sugar on my fruit while preserving since I'm a diabetic, so I'll be using  Ball Fruit Fresh Produce Protector.   Because jam recipes call for so much sugar, I decided not to turn any into jam.  The thought sure is making my mouth water though. 

I'm thinking that I may plant a few rolls of strawberries in my own back yard next year.  I think my grandson would love to have a strawberry patch of his own.