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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pictures of Early Spring Crops – Keep Planting

Veiw of the Garden 2012

Here are pictures of the crops I planted in early spring that are ready to enjoy. Salad greens, brocolli, and peas. Still waiting on Cabbage, which are looking good! First time really planting these from starts. Still waiting on Cauliflower – first time too – not sure what they are doing. Also, Attached are pictures of the rest of the garden so far; look at the pictures for labeling of veggies. Plant the rest of your seeds now – it’s warm enough!
Onions - some "left over" from last year I'm letting goto seed-the big ones
Bush "Wax" Beans in the front and French Pole Beans in the Back
All of the brocolli - From Starts planted in early March
Peas
Brocolli
>Mesclun "lettuce greens"

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in 2012 Garden

 

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Teacher Appreciation Day

Homemade Chai Tea Mix in a JarSpiced Chai Tea Mix in a Jar

Rapidly approaching us next week. I try to give teachers a gift that that is a little unique and useful. This year I have decided to gift some Instant Chai Tea mix in a jar to each of my children’s teachers. I need to make approx. 10 gifts total. Here is a recipe that I have tweaked from the internet. I am a foodie so I wanted it to be something I would drink, but had some flexibility to water down the sweetness level without watering down the tea and spices too much. Also, don’t skimp over the cardamom; it is a necessity.

Spiced Chai Tea Recipe:
3C dry milk powder
1 1/2 – 2C sugar (i put in 2 C because usually people like sweet and I used regular, unsweetened creamer and added in vanilla powder I had)
2-2 1/4 C unsweetened instant tea (nestea or lipton)
1C Vanilla powdered non dairy creamer (if this is sweetened lessen sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground white pepper (YES! for real)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix; then in small batches pulse through your blender to make a fine, consistent powder. You must do this otherwise the ingredients do not look appealing at all and it will not disintegrate nicely into the water.

Serving Size: approx. 3 T into 8 oz hot water; stir well (adding more or less water to taste).

NOTES: I purchased 2 jars of the nestea, 1 larger box of the powdered milk and a large (not a tub) of the creamer. I used all the tea to make 3 batches with a very small amount of powdered milk left over and about half of the creamer left over (these are items I do not usually purchase). 3 batches filled ten (10) 1/2pt jars and approx 3 pint jars. fyi. Also, purchase store brand (generic) items on this as the ingredients are the same.
COST: Milk $8, large size Creamer $3 (not small, not regular, and not the tub), Tea $2.50/ea, spices (purchased in bulk – buy what you need)approx $5-7, jars (2nd hand) $0.50/ea, fabric 1/2 yard $1. Approx Total: $26-30 depending on what you already have on hand to make 10 half pint jars and approx 3 pint jars. If you made all half pint jars that would total about 15 jars for approx $2 per gift on the high end of the estimate, plus it’s homemade which makes it special. I think I could have purchased the “regular” (not small size) of the creamer for the 3 batches (3c) – just wanted to make sure I used as much of the items I purchased. And if you don’t have as many teachers as I do you could just put them in pint jars and essentially double that cost from $2/half pint jar to $4/pint jar and still have a couple left over for random housewarming/hostess gifts as they store for 6 mos.

I repurposed paper grocery bags to label jars; cutting out a square, writing in black marker (like an old market type look and taping to front of jar using wording such as “Spiced Chai Tea —– To make: Add +/- 3 Tablespoons to boiling water, stir and enjoy”. I also chose to add fabric underneath jar bands for decor. But, you could also use this as an opportunity to use other saved jars with lids (old peanut butter jars, dip jars, etc….) and you could modge podge fabric over these lids, wrapping/glueing the fabric over the lip to overlap the lip of those lids (I think there is something about doing this too on the martha stewart website). I happened to use 2 old frito lay dip jars and their lids; I can modge podge the fabric over/around lids and labels peel off and just need to clean up jar with oil to get residue off.

 

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Planting Time is Here and Near!

It has been a slow go on this years plantings, even for the early veggies. I had direct seeded snap peas and shelling peas around mid-march that have grown about a foot. I had also direct seeded mesclun which is just about ready to harvest (and last week made a succession planting of lettuces). My broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower starts didn’t make it – because I’ve no patience to “harden them off”. I had to repurchase starts of these. And by that time I had cut off the bottom of all the quart milk bottles I’d saved to proved each start a mini-greenhouse which has worked marvelously. I also see that some of my onion and leek seeds have sprouted and some of the tiny starts I planted are still alive. I also started some garlic and have yet to plant them in the garden; suspect they won’t be ready until the fall comes. Potatoes should have been planted in March, I didn’t because I wasn’t sure about my space and I live in Idaho where potatoes are plentiful (but you really can’t beat the taste of a homegrown potato – no kidding)

Early Spring, provides little windows to start your garden and you have to make the most of the sunny opportunities. I had started tomatoes in the house in february and transplanted them this past weekend, during a sunny spell, outdoors and placed Walls of Water around each of the 10 plants. IF you don’t have walls of water for your tomatoes or peppers, keep them indoors until around June; then plant them outdoors as it is still too cold at night for them.

Speaking of peppers, I will have to purchase starts of these too as my seeds just did not germinate! Must have been too old or I also didn’t store them right (but my other seeds have germinated fine so far that were stored the same way).

I may start indoors my some summer plants, squash, melons if I have time and energy. Otherwise I will wait until June to direct seed them, which will be fine.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in 2012 Garden

 

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