Garden Tales

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Jeff

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One of Jeff's favorite veggies is brussel sprouts.  To make them yummy, we roast them.  Simply toss in olive oil and salt, maybe some balsamic vinegar, and put them in the oven at 400 degrees until golden brown. We are discussing another Jeff over dinner tonight.  This Jeff is a cartoon character created by Slime Monster Studios. If you want to see more information about … [Read more...]

Organic Lawn Care

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Here in the Wood River Valley of Idaho, we have a wonderful program called Trout Friendly Lawn.  The mission of this program, created by the Wood River Land Trust, is a big broader than the idea of not putting chemicals on your lawn.  Water conservation is also a key part part of the program, as is the use of native plants. When we put in our own lawn, we hydro-seeded … [Read more...]

A Tale of a New Garden

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I'm so excited that after three years of being in rental houses, we are finally settled in to our own house and property.  Back when I first started Healthy Kids Exchange and the blog area Garden Tales, we were living in the Midwest in an entirely different climate.   In Illinois we lived on an acre property that we turned into our own little "farm" with multiple vegetable … [Read more...]

Fun with Greens

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We've finally settled into our new home in Ketchum,  Idaho, and of course a main priority was getting some greens planted right away.  Yes, this is the easiest way to get a start on edible gardens.   Growing Greens is so easy and provides such rewards. I love when kids come over to visit, and they are immediately attracted to the small greens garden we have in our back yard. … [Read more...]

Putting Beds To Rest

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It is said that Fall is the best time for amending the soil and getting the garden ready for an early planting next spring.  So we have been busy here in our garden “putting the beds to rest”.  My kids have had an important role in this affair, and you can see Elena here with the beds starting to fill with leaves as the fall crops diminish. Here is what we did to put our … [Read more...]

Green Tomato-ville

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This past weekend we decided it was time to pull out tomato plants and start putting our garden to rest.  It has been such a wonderful and warm fall, but we know the cold weather is right around the corner, and we may not feel like spending hours in the garden.  So we went out as a family team and pulled the tomato plants out of the ground, composting the leaves and stems and … [Read more...]

100% Green Halloween?

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If you feel like Halloween is a wonderful holiday --but you wonder about all the waste and excess-- here is an idea that came to us at the last minute this year:  a 100% “green” Halloween costume!  It is also a great way to get your kids thinking of all the wonderful reasons to have a home garden.  We had entered our dog, Black Jack, in the Spooky Pooch parade at the Chicago … [Read more...]

Self-Watering Containers Win!

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If you have been reading this blog since Labor Day, you know that I’m doing a fun experiment with a “cold frame” (basically a green-house like structure but with no heat source).  What I also decided to experiment with was planting things in regular ceramic pots vs. planting in self-watering containers.  Self-watering containers have a reservoir for water at the bottom of the … [Read more...]

Cold Frame is Heaven for Swiss Chard

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First, I must say that I feel like I’ve been cheating a bit with my cold frame experiment, since the weather in Chicago has been really (unseasonably) warm this October! But I am loving my cold frame anyway, as it has dipped close to 40 degrees for a few nights this month. My lettuces, beets, carrots, tat soi, arugula and chard are all doing great in our cold frame. What is … [Read more...]

Extend the Growing Season?

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With fall nearly upon us, the night temperatures have dipped to close to 50 degrees for a few nights.  This is the time when our family starts to mourn the end of our bountiful garden season, as many plants are just not very happy when the temperatures dip that low (think tomatoes, basil, squash, and many types of annual flowers).  We are still planning on enjoying the fall … [Read more...]