Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Herbs Galore

Thanks everyone for dropping by this Tuesdays edition of tending the garden.  Today I have some great news.  The little herb garden we started last Thursday is really doing well.  It only took three days for the sweet basil to sprout and four days for the chives and oregano.  One of the great things about following other gardener's posts is I get togather and then apply lots of useful information.  It also helps to follow the instructions.

I had been having a difficult time starting rosemary from seed in the past and then I noticed that the seed supplier, Burpee, recommended using a seed starting formula.  So I made a trip over to the local nursery and picked up a bag of Miracle-Gro Seed Starter Potting Mix - 8 Quart size.  Let me tell you, this stuff is amazing. I have been gardening for over 40 years now and this is, in my opinion, some of the best soil for starting plants from seed I have seen.  

 While at the nursery I also spotted a seed sprouting kit by Burpee. I don't have this exact one but I have to say it is well worth the few dollars I spent.  Burpee 72-Cell Greenhouse Kit - Seed Starting. It's one of those "Why didn't I think of that Items?"  How it basically works is there is a tray of seed compartments with drain holes on the bottom.  This tray fits into a larger tray which acts as a reservoir for the excess water applied when watering.  The holes at the bottom of the compartments then allow the starter soil to wick up the excess water as needed.  The result is that the soil stays moist for days which allows busy people like me to forget to water on occasion.  This is a great setup for anyone wanting to start plants from seed.

I am very excited that three of the six entries from last week have made an appearence.  I am still waiting for rosemary, cumin, and paprika to show their little buds. As you know, I haven't had much luck in the past with starting rosemary from seed, and although it is recommended that it be propagated from cuttings, I don't want to give up just yet; after all, I did buy the seeds. Also, the germination period for rosemary is about three weeks. It has been know to be a bit difficult to start from seed but once it is established it it very easy and drought tolerant which makes it a plus is the desert where I live.

The paprika seeds I bought On Amazon.com from Mountain Meadow Seeds.  These folks really pull out all the stops when it comes to service including many handy growing tips.  I also appreciate the fact that they took the time to write a little personal thank you note and a smiley face; This is how business should be done and that is why I am so fond of grassroots businesses and organizations.

The cumin I also bought from No Thyme Productions.  I'm not sure what they have against thyme but again, they offer the same personal care as Mountain Meadow so they will get my business and my good words again. Search Amazon.com for no thyme productions  They are located in Kirkland Washington and they have a website, http://www.seriouslyseeds.com/   They have great prices and delivery and are really worth a look  As for cumin, well this will be my first time growing it but I am very hopeful of being successful because my frien Dave at Get Dust needs to have a local grower.  Anyhow,  I'll leave you with a picture of the progress of my little herb garden.  Until Thursday, Happy Gardening  -Scott-

Friday, June 25, 2010

In Admiration

Well here it is Friday again which typically means follower appreciation day. I only have one new follower this week and it turns out to be yours truly. Yep, I somehow managed to follow myself. So here's to me.

Actually, I just want to take a few minutes to that those awesome followers that I have for being so faithful. If your just dropping by my blog and your not sure if you want to follow or not, keep this in mind; I support my followers 100%. So please, if your here, take a minute and go down to my follower button, there are some incredibly talented and dynamic people there worth getting to know and follow.

Since I have no new followers this week I have decided to use my Friday blog time to honor those who have shaped me into the person I am today. This week I'll talk about my step-dad who taught me the value of hard work and self-sufficiency. His name was Louis Kronabetter, and although he has been gone since 1983 his impact on my life has been and still is profound. If there was one thing my dad was serious about it was about living up to ones responsibilities. I was never allowed to slack off on my chores and I used to watch in resentment and self-pity as my friends idled away the summer days while I was weeding the garden, or tending to the crops and livestock. These were actually some of the greatest lessons I could ever have learned because I entered into the workforce with a well-defined skill-set by the time I was 18. I knew how to work hard and give 100% because of what my dad taught me. He taught me to stick to my tasks until they were finished and today that tenacity has led to plenty of promotions and has also served me well in developing my own business.

I remember many times being sullen and full of self-pity because I had to work so hard as a farm boy, but today those days on the farm have become my greatest asset. Thank you dad, my life is a success because of you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Paprika, My Favorite Spice!

Hi and thanks for dropping in. If you’re a new follower, welcome, if you’ve been following for awhile, welcome back! I just wanted to let everyone know that I have not, I repeat, have not given up on rosemary, but I am also on a new mission….paprika.

I was carousing through a local farmers market a few weeks ago when I came across a gentleman, Dan Betcher. who makes barbeque rubs. The name of Dan’s company is called Dust, and I will confess right now, his product is excellent! Being in the business of sustainable agriculture I naturally had a few questions. The main questions I always ask a local vendor is do you buy your ingredients from local growers? I am a huge fan of localized growing because it cuts down on fuel consumption which, as we all know, is a win-win situation. Dan’s response to my question was, “Yes, except for cumin and paprika.” He went on to say that he hasn’t been able to find a local grower and would like to. Well guess who went and bought paprika and cumin seeds??? You guessed it, the rosemary killer.

I love helping people solve problems such as Dan’s and I also love the challenge of growing something new. So tonight, right after I post, I’m heading over to the local garden center for some seed starting solution for the rosemary and some miracle grow for the paprika. This time, I read the instructions first because the last thing I want to be known as is a paprika killer.

If you want t try some really great BBQ rub, head on over to Dan Betcher’s site www.getdust.com Tell him Scott sent you.

Until Thursday, have a great week and keep on gardening!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Appreciation day Number Two

Wow, what a busy day! It’s well past blog-thirty, and …its follower appreciation day.

Some years ago when I was a young man in college an elderly gentleman came to speak in a class I was attending. The reason for his visit was that he wanted to teach us how to be successful in our lives. This is something he did on a regular basis and he was well qualified to do so as he was a self-made millionaire. What I admired about him was that gratitude just oozed out of him and he really loved giving back and sharing wealth building strategies, some of which I was able to successfully apply to my life. However, the most important advice he gave us had nothing to do with making money yet it was the key to why he had so much. He told us that as we go through life be nice to people. Treat others with respect and don’t get upset when they don’t do what we expect. He said that by doing this we would be creating opportunities for success down the road. He also told us to always be grateful to the people who support us along the way. I have never forgotten this advice and that is why I believe it is important to acknowledge my followers, build them up, and to thank them.

With that said, I have three new followers this week and I want to give them airtime so here goes:

Follower number six is Anne Fulmer from Eastern Maryland. Anne has a great site with many great insights aimed at improving health and being successful in business and in life. I love reading Anne’s blog and you will too; you can connect with Anne at http://AHealthyWealthblog.com. I highly recommend Anne’s blog, lots of great advice here.

Follower number seven is a business located all the way across the pond in the U.K.; the name of their site and it’s called Show My Garden. If you want to showcase your garden, a friend’s garden, or if you want to get some great ideas for your own garden, give these guys a look. There are some absolutely beautiful gardens on their site; well worth a look. I think I recognized one I saw in Costa Rica. You can find their site at: www.showmygarden.co.uk. Best wishes to Show My Garden; I wish you much success, and I look forward to all the new gardens on their site.

Follower number Eight is also Show my garden. I think somebody hit the follow button one too many times but non-the-less I am grateful for the follow.

Follower number nine is Live Green Mom. Live Green Mom (aka Helga) Is from Boston Mass. And is passionate about the environment and about teaching people how to live greener lives. Her site is a must visit for anyone looking for great ways to save our environment. Most of the tips on her site are simple things we all can do. You can find Live Green Mom’s site at www.livegreenmom.com. Thanks for all you contribute Live Green Mom; the world needs more like you!!

Once again I wish to thank all of my followers and if there is any way I can contribute to your success, please feel free to let me know. Until Tuesday, take care, God Bless, and have a happy, safe weekend.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When All Else Fails....

Memo to self, “When all else fails, read the instructions! I repeat, when all else fails, follow the instructions!”

There has been a tragedy in my little garden! I regret to report that our little sprout has withered and died, and the siblings were all stillborn. How could I have failed again? With all the years of gardening experience, I cannot seem to solve this rosemary dilemma. The seed sprout just fine and then grow like Jack’s bean stock for about a day or so; then they wither and die. The poor little sprouts just plain outgrow their roots and can’t sustain themselves. I start to think that maybe it’s time to try something else, but I do not like to fail and so I say to self, “Self, you have not failed you have just found two ways not to grow rosemary.”

I decide to look at the package one more time. I have a few seeds left so I ask myself, “Self, did you follow the instructions?”
I turn the seed packet over and there is, on the back, clearly highlighted instructions on how to start rosemary. Here is what Burpee seed says:

“10 weeks before the last frost, sow the seeds ¼” deep in seed starting formula and keep evenly moist. Transplant to individual containers when the seedlings have at least two pairs of leaves.”

Doh, what’s seed starting formula, and where do I get some. Followers, can somebody please tell me; give me a web address, something. I’m desperate here and I want to brag to my girlfriend how I successfully started rosemary in a sort of Barney Fifelike way. Seriously, does anyone know what this is? I would love to know because I really really want to succeed here. And so I thank you in advance and as soon as I find some seed starting formula I will make yet another attempt to grow this wonderful spice.

Until, Thursday, Happy Gardening.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Special Thanks

I typically post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but of course that is not a hard and fast rule. I want to take a bit of time today not to write about gardening but rather to acknowledge my followers and to publicly thank them.

When I began this blog my intent was to have a platform to teach people how to raise their own food at home no matter how large or small home is. However, I have become aware that my mission is much larger than that.

We have all been through trying times the past couple of years, and it’s apparent that things will not ease up anytime soon. If anything, this has made me more aware that we need to help and support each other now more than ever. Without getting too political let me just say that it seems the corporations have taken over everything leaving grassroots businesses struggling to survive, but there is something we can do about this. We can begin buying from each other, promoting each, and helping each other. I think, in my opinion, that this is what my creator wants. Oh, if I failed to mention it, I live a spiritual life and my Higher Power wants me to help others. So, without further ado, let me welcome my newest and first I might add, followers:

First is Zoe Sherwood: Zoe and I have known each other for several years now and she has been around to lend encouragement and support. It has been Zoe who has taught me to keep a positive attitude and to follow my dreams. If you have a minute, check out Zoe’s blog at http://zoesherwood.blogspot.com. Zoe is an incredibly talented write and an avid spiritualist. In spite of a couple of difficult years she continues to keep her head up and to follow her dreams. Take a minute and connect with Zoe, it will be well worth your while. Good luck and best wishes Zoe in all your endeavors.

Second is Jason Cohen: I have known Jason for two years now and he has become a constant source of support for me. I can usually count on Jason to call two or three times a week just to see how I’m doing. I have also watched Jason walk through difficult times and yet he has always kept a positive attitude. He has recently begun training for a career in the dental health field. A well known motivational speaker says that one of the keys to success is to surround ourselves with positive people who support our dreams and goals; Jason is one of these people in my life. Best wishes Jason on your new career path.

Although I won’t mention their names, I met follower number three on Twitter and was immediately drawn to their website http://facebook.com/rescuethefarm. Having watched my family lose their farm in the early 80’s I find what this husband and wife team are trying to do heroic. They have purchased an old dairy farm in Missouri in order to keep it out of the hands of land developers and corporate farmers. They are doing this by selling T-shirts, bracelets and by plain hard work. Aside from rescuing the farm they have even bolder plans once this is done; they plan to turn it into a learning farm. I think this is an incredible mission well worth our attention, and I wish them all success in the world! They have my support 100 percent!

Number four is Anna Pereira of Forked River New Jersey. I also connected with Anna on Twitter and was delighted when I found out she was following my blog. Even though I haven’t met her in person, I couldn’t help but be drawn to her positive energy. This energy is very apparent when you visit her website: www.annapereira.com. Anna has a large selection of designer T’s and tanks which really capture the eye, and she also has a large selection of Angel Kissed Luxury Soap which, reasonably priced, makes a fabulous gift. I just purchased some myself for my girlfriend but shhhhhhh, she doesn’t know yet. You have to see Anna’s selections of T’s, tanks, and soaps, they are absolutely beautiful creations!

Number five is, all the way from Scotland and is JBA Seed potatoes. While we cannot purchase their seed potatoes here in the USA, we can most certainly support them and learn from them. We also hope to have many followers from the UK and other places who can buy from them. Although they have been around since 1895, and are one of the leading growers and suppliers of seed potatoes in Scotland, they were still thoughtful enough to take the time to follow my little blog. This speaks volumes as to the kind of business people they are. They also have a very clever website that is well worth a look. It is http://www.jbaseedpotatoes.co.uk/ I would like to thank JBA for their support and I wish them much success in the years ahead. Thank you for supporting me JBA!

Once again I want to thank all of my followers; I look forward to connecting, learning, and sharing with you in the years ahead. May the spirit bless you all.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rosemary In the Desert Part 2

Hello and happy Friday to everyone. Well actually this is Thursday but by the time anyone sees this it will probably be Friday. Let’s see now, where did we leave off….oh yeah, we had one rosemary sprout on Tuesday and he/she is growing like crazy. Actually he/she is growing so fast that he/she cannot support his/her own weight. I’m not sure what to make of this so I decided to put a little extra soil around our sprout so only a half inch or so sticks out of the soil. I’m completely lost here though so someone…anyone just jump right in and offer some advice…..please! What do I do now that I have an out of control rosemary sprout? I don’t want to lose another one.

As for siblings, there are none as of yet, but I keep holding out hope that any day now there will be yet another little shoot peeking out from beneath the soil. Then maybe two, or three or….dare I say… a half dozen; that would be spectacular!

When it comes to vegetable gardening I’m an expert, but when it comes to herbs I don’t have much luck, however, I am determined to conquer this genre of agriculture so I can help others grow there own seasonings. So please, if anyone is an expert on growing rosemary, please leave any suggestions.

Next blog we’ll tackle paprika, and I really would love to have some followers who can help. Until next week, have a safe and happy weekend!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rosemary in the Desert

“We have a sprout!”

I repeat, “We have a sprout!”

I have to say I was very surprised last night when I looked into my little homemade germinator and saw one of my rosemary seeds had sprouted. This is exciting and at the same time a bit scary as this is where I failed last time.

For anyone who has just joined my little blog let me get you up to speed here: I have decided to make my blog an interactive learning project where we can all pool our knowledge together and grow a variety of plants in impossible places. We will also work on gardening techniques, hydro-ponics, container gardening, etc. the list goes on. It is my belief that we have to begin growing more of our food at a local level and in our homes and yards when possible because eventually fuel prices will make many things unaffordable, especially fresh produce. So let’s help each other get there.

So for right now I am trying to grow rosemary in my condo in the desert….in July. It’s 110 F outside and on my last attempt I got the seeds to sprout and then this burning desert air fried eem!! However, I am bound and determined to grow rosemary in the desert, and I NEED HELP so I have decided to try and enlist the aid of as many gardening enthusiasts as possible. Please feel free to jump right in and post a comment and lend an idea…all are welcome.

Anyhow, here we are at day 15 and last night I had a sprout. As of today the little feller is alive and well but it’s scaring me how fast he’s growing. I’m pretty sure I bought weed free potting soil so I am certain its rosemary.

What I need to know now is how long I should wait before transplanting and should the plants remain inside or outside. What is a good organic fertilizer and any other advice you all feel like giving. So until Thursday, have a great week and I’ll leave you with a picture of our new little sprout! Have a Great Day! Scott