Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Garden Update

Just thought I would post a little update as to how my garden is doing. These are the lettuce boxes, nine days after planting. They seem to have almost doubled in size and are almost ready for a little cutting for some baby green salads.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


My hubs likes soda.  A lot.  On average, we go through 7-8 2 liter bottles of soda a week, which is costly and wasteful.  Yes, I recycle the bottles, but that is still a ton of plastic per week!  So last weekend he attempted to make his own ginger ale in a re-used bottle.  It tasted good, but the yeast carbonation was a total fail.  He went to Best Buy the next day and purchased a SodaStream soda machine. 

So here it is.  We've had it for a few days and have been making sodas with the samples that came with it.  I think we have decided to make our own syrups and cut out the fake stuff.  The syrups are made with Splenda, but I can taste the difference from something made with natural cane sugar. 

I stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond this morning and got two extra bottles for making sodas, and the Raspberry MyWater Essence Flavors so that I could try some "seltzer" style water. 

So it's pretty easy to make the soda.  Fill the bottles to the water line and chill for an hour or two.  Apparently the machine works better if the water is chilled.  I use water that I have filtered through my Brita pitcher, just to get some of the chemicals and guck out of our gross tasting city water.  Put the bottle into the SodaStream and make sure it is screwed on securely.  Then you push the button on the top of the machine until it makes a buzzing sound.  Do that 3-4 times and the water is carbonated. 

Then you have to put the syrup in.  If you're using the SodaStream brand syrups, then just follow the directions as to how much you put it.  A little tip....tilt the bottle to the side and pour the syrup in slowly.  I used the MyWater Essence, which only requires a half teaspoon of the syrup.  I poured it in slowly, and then screwed the cap on tightly before gently tilting the bottle back and forth to mix the flavor in.  Tasty!  and environmentally friendly!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cold Crop planting

Since we live in a condo, we really have no choice aside from doing container gardening.  Last year we bought a Topsy Turvey Tomato tree, two City Pickers planter boxes, and a Topsy Turvey tiered planter to start.  I also had a few plastic pots that had been given to me to use as well.  It was a kinda successful year, for the first, but this year I intend on doing better!

Today, hubs went to Dill's Greenhouse and picked out some 'cold crop' lettuces for me to start planting.  On his way home he picked up another planter box and a bag of organic Miracle grow potting mix from Home Depot because he decided he bought too many plants for just one planter.  Turned out, he was right...

Here are my lovely plants.  He bought arugula, radicchio, summertime lettuce, and simpson elite lettuce.  I believe he said that the packs were $3.69 for a pack of six plants.  So he spent $14.76 total for 24 plants that, in theory, will give us baby greens for salads all summer long...according to the container gardening information I have read.

So when I got home from work, hubs filled the new box (the one on the right, obviously) with the new dirt, and I got to planting.  It didn't take too long, as the soil was soft and slightly damp, so all I had to do was wedge the spade in to make the hole, break up the roots a bit, and press each plant in.  I put twelve plants in each box, each a few inches apart.  According to the container gardening site I read, it's ok to plant them closer together, especially when I am going to be constantly cutting them and letting them re-grow for baby greens.

Here they are all planted!  The great thing about the City Pickers boxes is that they have a reservoir in the bottom that you can fill up so that the boxes are self-watering.  That is what the little tube sticking up out of the corner of the box is for.  I filled the reservoirs, but I still watered the plants thoroughly from the top, careful to avoid the leaves as much as possible.  I didn't want to drag the hose out, so I up-cycled a watering can!

 An empty gallon milk jug with holes poked in the lid!  It lets out a gentle stream of water and doesn't completely drown the plants. 

We have a frost advisory for the night, so I covered my new babies up with a flannel sheet, to keep their little leaves from getting all frosty and cold!  I read somewhere that a sheet was better than plastic, because plastic can damage the plants.