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            1. Monday, August 26, 2013

              Quick & Easy way to Plant up Strawberry Runners

              If you have grown strawberry plants before you probably know that they spread like crazy very quickly.  They spread by sending out runners as soon as the strawberries start to slow in production.  If your plants are grown in the ground keeping up with these runners can become a pain very quickly.

              When we started our Strawberry plants a few years back I told our son that he was in charge of them.  He had to water them, pick them, and best yet... share them with the family!  The strawberries grown in a pot on our back porch have proven to be a fun gardening adventure for him and especially our toddler.

              Strawberry Runners Ready to Pot Up
              We have managed to create a fun and easy way to keep up with the runners, maintain easy
              maintenance, keep our small porch clutter free, and share our plants.  Here is what we do...

              Materials Needed:
              3 or 4 small pots
              potting soil

              Method:
              When a cluster of leaves form on the end of a runner, or several runners this is your Que that it is time to begin.  You will need 1 pot for each runner.  You will be placing the smaller pots inside of the larger pot (containing the mother plant).  If you have more runners than you can fit pots just snip off the extra runners. Many more runners will form and you can pot those up after the first batch finishes.

              First fill your small pots with potting soil. Then one at a time take the leaf cluster and push it into the soil in the pot. Next move some of the leaves in your big pot and set your small pot inside your big pot.  Just repeat this until you have all your runners potted and placed inside your big pot.  The picture above shows strawberry runners ready to pot up.  It also shows 3 pots inside of the larger pot!

              When you water your main pot you will also be watering your babies.  You will also have a clutter free patio... well at least from starter pots.

              Strawberry Plants ready to have Runners Cut
              You will wait a few weeks and then you can gently wiggle the baby plant to make sure that the roots are growing well.  Generally after about one month the roots will be substantial enough that you can then cut the runner between the mother plant and the new plant.  You might even find that after a month roots are growing through the baby plant's pot down into the dirt of the mother plant.  This is a sure sign that your plant is ready to cut free!

              As soon as you cut the new plants free, share them with friends or pot them up in a new larger pot to increase your strawberry production next year.  Don't forget to start this process again to keep those runners in-check!

              Tip:
              Be sure to save your small pots from other plants so you can reuse them.  If you don't have any small pots on hand you can repurpose plastic or styrofoam drink containers. Just make sure you poke holes for drainage.

               
               
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              Friday, August 23, 2013

              Great Store & Great Resources, Grogg's Green Barn

              Grogg's Green Barn, Tulsa Oklahoma
              I wanted to share with you a great place I wondered into... Grogg's Green Barn.  This is Oklahoma's first organically focused & native plant garden center and is located in Tulsa.  The employees were passionate to educate and help the public find and grow organically. 

              I really enjoyed myself and found so many products and solutions I have never seen or heard of. In stock were several heirloom tomato varieties and many herbs, all organically grown at various sizes. They also offer free classes to the public several times a month. A neat surprise was in the back of the property was a very interesting chicken coop with chickens and a living herb roof!

              If you are a Tulsa local - go check it out & if you live out of town, make it a point to come check this place out!

              One of the products I learned about while at Grogg's was Nolo Bait. It seems that we are having terrible grasshopper problems in Oklahoma this year & Nolo Bait is a certified organic biological insecticide.

               
               
              Photo Courtesy of Grogg's Green Barn's website

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              Thursday, August 22, 2013

              Retain Garlic's Cancer Fighting and Antibacterial Properties when Cooking

              
              Garlic has many wonderful medicinal properties. It is known as a cancer fighter, an antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anticlotting.  All of this is possible due to Allicin, which is the active compound in garlic. This wonderful compound is only created when garlic is minced or chopped, causing enzymes to come in contact with each other.
              
              Wait 10 min to retain Garlic's Cancer Fighting Properties
              However, most of these properties of garlic are lost if you prepare the garlic incorrectly. According to an article titled, "Eat on the Wild Side" in the June 2013 Prevention Magazine, the only way to retain these healing properties is to wait 10 minutes from the time you mince the garlic before you cook with it. Otherwise you destroy the enzymes before they have had the chance to create Allicin.

              Normally I mince my garlic and then throw it in a pan of olive oil. The first time I cooked after reading this article I had to do things a bit out of order.  I went ahead and prepared my garlic and left it sitting on the chopping board for 10 minutes while I got all the other items for dinner out. I then started chopping my other veggies, still waiting for 10 minutes to pass. It seemed like it took forever.

              However, for all of the properties of garlic, especially home grown garlic... I think I can wait an additional 10 minutes on it.

              
                   
               
               
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              Friday, August 2, 2013

              Update on Jelly Bean Tomato Plants

              Prolific Tomatoes on Jelly Bean Plant
              I am going to have to say my new favorite tomato and tomato plant is the Jelly Bean variety. While all of my other tomato plant varieties are void of juicy red tomatoes at the moment, this one single plant is pumping out more Jelly Bean tomatoes than our family can eat. Hard to believe, but there are plenty more on the plant in various stages and colors. 

              This article is an update to a previous article, Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe.  While my previous review was a tad negative on the plant, I am extremely pleased with the plant just a few days later.

               The tomatoes are various sizes when ripe, as can be seen in the picture below. Some are smaller than a quarter and some are much larger. Besides the output of this plant, I really like the texture of these tomatoes.

              Normal Cherry Tomatoes seem to squirt in my mouth and honestly it grosses me out just a bit.  These Jelly Bean's don't pop or squirt, which I really really like.  They aren't sweet as the package claims, but they sure are tasty.  My 18 month old asks to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I do cut the larger ones in quarters for her, just to be on the safe side.

              
              Varying tomato sizes on Jelly Bean Tomato Plant
              The unfortunate thing about this plant though is that the Jelly Bean is a hybrid, so it's seeds if collected from the tomato won't produce the same plant next year.

              This means that I will be purchasing lots of seeds.  This will hands down be Glory Gardening's main plant to give away next year.

              If you received one of these plants from Glory Gardening, or started some on your own, please share your thoughts on the plant.


              My Related Posts:
              Jelly Bean Tomato Plant Give Away!
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe?

               
              This is the Variety that I Grow.


               
               
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              Monday, July 29, 2013

              Are your Jelly Bean Tomatoes Ripe?

              Jelly Bean Tomato
              We picked our first Jelly Bean Tomato off the plant this week. This was the variety of patio tomatoes that Glory Gardening gave out this year. 

              The tomato was red, and starting to get soft so we picked it. The plant is covered with small green jellybean shaped tomatoes. Because only one tomato was ready, and everyone in the house eager to try it, we decided to cut it into three parts. After cutting into it we realized that the tomato was not yet ripe. Since it was already cut we went ahead and ate it.

              This variety is supposed to have a super sweet taste and to be small like a cherry tomato, but jelly bean shape. Due to the premature picking of the tomato, I can't comment on the taste for sure it.
              Jelly Bean Tomato Cluster

              The plant is supposed to be a compact pot growing variety.  Ours is planted along with a pepper plant in the garden. It is sprawling all over the place - about 5 ft radius. It is shorter in height, but takes up much more space than our Big Boy tomatoes.

              I would only recommed this variety for a large patio or garden pot, unless you wanted to use this as a focal plant. It has a very interesting structure, and the jelly bean tomatoes dangling off are very pretty.


              This is the variety that I grow.




              My Related Posts:
              Jelly Bean Tomato Plant Give Away!
              Buying Tomato Seeds
              Update on Jelly Bean Tomatoes

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              Friday, July 26, 2013

              Use a Dirt Box to Teach Gardening Skills and for Imaginative Play

              Many of us as kids growing up either had a back yard sandbox or had access to one to play in. Remember how much fun it was?  Kids just love to play in sand.


              Use a Dirt Box to teach gardening skills and for imaginative play
              Recently after visiting a friend's home who kept her sandbox in a tub for easy storage and seeing how much all the kids loved to play in it, I knew we needed one. I changed ours up a little, though.  We have a dirt box for the kids to play in, learn to use gardening tools, and pot up plants instead of a sandbox.
              Part of the time the dirt box is used by the kids to pot up plants for me. The other, you guessed it... a box of dirt to play in and let their imaginations run wild.  When not helping me, my seven year old uses the dirt box as a mini dirt bike track for his toy motorcycles or a dirt track/mud pit for his monster trucks.  My one year old loves to rake it, fill pots, build mud castles and run her brothers dirt bikes through it, mimicking the sounds he makes. 

              The great thing about this box is that it's very easy to add varying amounts of water and change its use; the kids can even take care of that part for me. If you add too much water, just tilt the box and drain the water out. An added benefit of the box is that you can keep it on the patio and slide it under a chair when not in use. Of course, if you find yourself in a situation when you need to divide or pot something up quickly, you have it handy and the kids know how to help.

              Materials Needed:
              Potting soil or seed starting soil
              Shallow Storage Tub - lid optional
              Any toys or plastic tools you desire

              Method:
              Scoop or pour some soil into the box, let the kids help. We used enough to make the dirt about an inch deep. You want to make sure that you use potting soil or seed starting soil instead of just dirt from the ground. Ordinary ground dirt in most cases will become a hard dry mess, or could have all kinds of nasties in it. 

              Periodically I add more potting soil, either because we pot up plants, or it is lost due to water drainage. We lost the lid to our tub before it was put into use as a dirt box, so the kids love it when it rains! Instant mud track or lake, depending on the amount of rain we receive.

              Note:
              If you don't have an potting or seed starting soil around, Walmart sells small bags for less than $1. If you don't see it outside, sometimes it is in by the seed starting mix.

              I highly recommend plastic garden tools, because they will most likely get wet.  Also, if your kids are anything like mine, sometimes they get thrown and used as sparing tools!



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              Wednesday, July 24, 2013

              Eat your Radish Seedpods!

              Have you ever munched on Radish Seedpods? Radish Seedpods are wonderful to eat and great for you. However they aren't found on restaurant menus. Believe it or not these pods when eaten young and fresh are great!  Even those who dislike radishes enjoy these pods I have discoved.
              
              Eatable Radish Pods
              The taste is slightly spicy and the pods have a crunch texture. You want to pick them soon after they form on the plant. These pods are only good before it gets hot outside. After it heats up the pods take on an earthy taste and are fibrous.

              How do you prepare the pods?
              Pick the the pods of the plant within a couple of hours of serving. The fresher the better.  Rinse the radish pods under cold water and set them out on the table to enjoy. They don't need any seasoning, because they are a tad spicy on their own. The larger pods were more spicy than the smaller pods.


              Radish left to flower
              How do you get these pods for yourself?
              Go ahead and grow some radishes, harvest some to eat and grow some to form pods.  One plant will yeild an appetizers worth of pods, although not all pods will be ready at the same time.  So, let a few plants bloom and then go to pod. That way you will have several days of radish seed pod appetizers!  An added bonus of growing the pods is that you will enjoy beautiful flowers two weeks or so before the pods begin to form.

              When to plant:
              You can plant radishes in the spring and fall.  Normal harvest time from seed to radish is about three weeks. Time from seed to pod is going to be closer to two months.  Depending on your zone, you may be able to grow radishes though the winter by using row covers or even a cold frame.

              Hint:
              Don't forget to let some of the pods remain on your favorite plants so you will have seeds for the next growing season.

              Related previous posts:
              Grow Vegetables in your Lawn
              Plant your Tomatoes and Let your Radishes Bolt!

               
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