Wednesday, May 13, 2009


GARDENING...My gardening has had some ups and downs. The organic soil that I used made my little seedlings flourish…

It is called “Organic Choice Potting mix” and is put out by Miracle Gro...

I researched prices at Lowes and Home Depot, but Wal Mart was by far the cheapest.

It is wonderful soil and along with the organic seeds I planted, a prayer, and a little care…Not only did the plants come...

But so did the gnats! Their larvae have eaten the root systems of some of the plants and caused them to die off, including my beans and peas. I see that it is now affecting the dill…It is quite frustrating to say the least...

I don’t even know the official name of the bugs who have invaded our home. They seemingly appear out of no where. Really, though, they are apparently in the soil itself and once watered, out they come! Knowing the name would help in researching a cure. My daughter did seem to find something on them, however, that gave us the information that may nip their growth cycle…

You take off the top one inch of soil and replace with sand or coconut hulls. This apparently cuts up the larvae as they make their way to the surface and therefore prevents them from maturing into the flies that then lay more eggs that in turn repopulate your whole house...

COCONUT HULLS...One of the things that Keira got me For Mother’s Day was a compressed brick of coconut hulls. It was only a little over $2.00. You mix it in water, which expands it. I believe that it makes 2-1/2 gallons. I’ll get that done this weekend...We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it does some good.

COMPOSTING…My compost bin is complete thanks to my son and his friend. I have transferred my scraps from the temporary five-gallon bucket, which I have been using, into my new wooden bin. Mine is about four feet high by three feet long.

WEBSITE…If you’re interested in composting, visit “Composting 101”. On this site, the gentleman talks about different kinds of bins that can be purchased and also offers a resource that gives directions for building your own. The site is easy to read in sectioned-off one-page commentaries.

CONTAINER GARDENING…DH just has to put the bottom onto one more wooden box, and I’ll have a second above-ground garden container. It is a bit longer than we had originally planned, but nonetheless, it will work. That is one of the nice things about container gardening; you follow the basic rules of square-foot sections but can sort of tailor the dimension of the boxes to your needs as well.

MONEY…We personally chose to not spend any money on our garden containers. As our aim is to save money, be self-sufficient, and at the same time, spare more trees from being cut, we have been re-purposing, as they now say. My husband was able to get heavy wooden shipment boxes from his work to be used for both our container gardens and our compost box. These are being changed a bit to fit our needs and will then go on to their new callings!

DO THE WORK...If you would like to do this, look around wherever you can in your own area. Are there pallets that someone has thrown out or that can be purchased cheaply? At one time, we made a whole deck out of pallets. It was cheap, and it served the purpose. These can easily be turned into container gardens or compost bins with a bit of restructuring. Use your imagination, talk to the neighbors and co-workers, go to the county dump, or heavy equipment companies. The parts that they get in are often large and heavy requiring more than just a cardboard box. It’s amazing what can be found when there is a strong will behind you!

WEBSITE...Interestingly enough, I just came upon a site called Living Off The Grid. I'll give you the exact site to the compost-making page, but check out his home page also, as it looks to be good! The first paragraph says NOT to pay for them (pallett boxes) because there are ways to get them free. Isn't the internet great!

WEBSITE… If you’re interested in this type of food cultivating, check out Square Foot Gardening. This is a great site for beginners with pictures and tutorials. Under the tab “Square Foot Gardening’s” drop down menu, click on “How to Get Started”. Mel goes into the kinds of boxes and grids you’ll need, care of the garden, including how to plant them (they are different from the standard in-ground garden), watering, and harvesting your fruits. He also has a special soil formula that apparently works wonders. These gardens are meant to be low-maintenance for even us city folk!

Let me know how yours is working—even if it’s the typical in-ground garden! I would love to hear of any organic solutions for pests and any other information that you might care to share with us. It’s a great time to be green!

DINNERS…I love goulash. I never follow a recipe just throw in basically the same ingredients each time and season to taste. It’s easy, fairly quick, and goes over well at our house.

RECIPE…SORT OF…(These measurements are all guesses)


2 lbs. Hamburger
1 lrg. can Stewed Tomatoes
1 small can Tomatoe paste
¼ c. chopped Onions
1-1/2-2 c. Macaroni Noodles

To taste Ketchup
To taste Salt
To taste Pepper
To taste Sugar

Brown hamburger and onions then drain.

Combine hamburger, tomatoes, tomato paste, and cooked macaroni (If you have too many noodles, save for another meal or make macaroni and cheese for tomorrow’s dinner)

Add ketchup, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste

Cook on low for 20 minutes or long enough for all flavors to combine


I LOVE rice pudding…



1 c Heavy Cream
2/3 c Skim Milk
3 Eggs
½ c Sugar
¾ t Vanilla (Pure vanilla gives the best flavor)
To taste Cinnamon
1 c White Rice (Pre-cooked)
As desired Raisons

On stove, heat milk until scalding point; remove—cool a little then add to egg mixture

(You don’t want it to be real hot, or the eggs will curdle). While the milk is cooling…

Beat eggs until blended; add sugar and vanilla

Combine the milk, egg mixture, raisons, and rice in casserole dish; sprinkle with cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for ½ hour. It should be a little custardy in the middle when removed from the oven—not too stiff.


To round out the meal, I added cottage cheese and a wonderful and simple deviled egg recipe that I got from The American Homemaker

For DESSERT…We had...


And...CROCK-POT CAKE...(Served with Heavy Whipping Cream poured over the cake)

Both of which were also gotten from The American Homemaker

My family felt as though they were eating like Kings...Ahhh...Makes a Mama proud...

I hope that you all have a very blessed week!


Cheri said...

Wow, you are one busy woman! =) I loved all of the information and tips you provided on gardening! Would you not recommend the Organic Choice Potting mix then, if it brought out some unwanted critters? Someone told us after we put coffee grounds in our garden soil, that it would help cut down on bugs. We'll see if it works! =)

Zebu said...

Hi Cheri,

I too have heard about the coffee grounds. We don't drink coffee, so that isn't available to us.

I would still recommend the organic soil. Next time, we are going to put down the coconut hulls from the beginning. You can also use about an inch of sand. That should make a good difference, hopefully. :)