Square Foot Garden 2014

Square-Foot-Garden-Swiss-Chard

I have been in gardening heaven lately.  My Mother-in-Law came and weeded all my landscape beds which left me time to do the fun stuff–like get my square foot garden going!  Our little yard is slowly becoming a fun haven for our family, and this year we have spent more time than ever out there.  I’ve even been napping in our new hammock.

I’d like to encourage you to do what you can with what you have.  You don’t need a huge yard or perfect grass to create an outdoor space to spend time in.  Just mow and clean it up.  Add touches of comfort slowly, and let go of perfection.

My yard is so small that I didn’t think I’d have room for a garden, but thanks to square foot gardening, I am able to grow lots of herbs and vegetables for my family.  We have 2 4×2 beds–yep, super small–but you won’t believe what I can fit in there!

Our SFG’s are in a landscape bed along the east side of our house.  It has been a great spot, and uses space that would otherwise go un-used.

Square foot gardening is amazing and so very easy.  Weeding is almost nonexistent in a SFG, I’ve had mine for 5 years now and I’ve pulled maybe a handful of weeds in that amount of time…no joke!  Watering is also very minimal.  The key is the soil mixture, I followed the Square Foot Gardening book to a T and it has been amazing.

SQUARE-FOOT-GARDEN-BASIL

Here is what happened in the garden in the month of May, 2014:

Planted Mid-May

Kale – 8

Swiss Chard -8

Basil -1

Dill-1

SQUARE-FOOT-GARDEN-KALE

BABY-RAINBOW-CHARD

Planted-Late May

Tomatoes -3

Cucumber -1

Summer Squash -1

Mini Pumpkin -6, going to thin once they sprout

 POT-OF-HERBS-COLLAGE

I also have an herb pot on my front porch:

Planted Mid-May

Basil

Dill

Parsley

A Patunia for pretty

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 I used mint as the focal point of 2 of my flower pots, I kept the mint in its pot but took off the bottom, hoping the sides of the pot will help contain it as mint can be a bully & space hog!

Planted Mid-May

Mint

Square-Foot-Garden-pallet

square-foot-garden-ladder

I used what I have for plants that are going to vine (squash, pumpkin, cucumber & tomatoes–not yet planted in above pic.  I have a pallet for them to grow up on, a nearby fence, tomato cages, and a part of our old swing set turned on it’s side.  I will tie up the plants as needed, using strips cut from an old pair of tights I have or just use some jute.

I am eager to share with you how much the garden has already grown…the leaves of the plants in pics above are about 3 times the size already!  I will do a June garden update soon!

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What are you growing?  Is there anything keeping you from quality time in the yard?

 

How To Use Fresh Mint — 20+ Ways!

HOW-TO-MINT

I decided to grow fresh mint as the focal point in two of my flower pots this year.  It is growing beautifully and I’ve been so excited to use it, but other than tea, I needed some inspiration.

New Nostalgia has an amazing & growing Facebook community.  I love being able to have real conversations with you all over there.  I knew if I asked them what to do with all my fresh mint that I would get some inspiration, and they totally came through for me!

NEW-NOSTALGIA-FACEBOOK-JOIN

Here are some of the great ideas discussed over there:

Jill B. — “With peas!!  A little olive oil, mint, and peas blended on toasted pieces of bread.  SO YUMMY!”

Amy V. — “I just love it in my water!”

Maggie R. — “I am drinking water with crushed mint” She also adds chiffonade of mint to fresh fruit, adds it to her coconut oil for washing her feet & wants to add it to a pitcher of water for a mint hair rinse.

Queen S.– “The leaves are pretty couple;ed with a strawberry half as decoration on a cake.  All around the sides if it’s a layer cake…I love my mint!”

Jessie F. — “I like to eat it with Thai food, drink it in water, tea, mojitos, use as garnish on watermelon, and in salads.”

Tracy H. — Strawberry & avocado salads with chopped mint and balsamic dressing.”

Dona P. — “I like mint pesto for chicken.  I use it just like basil–mint, pine nuts, a bit of Parmesan, a bit olive oil, a bit of garlic.  Add some acid (vinegar, lemon, orange juice) for a great salad dressing.  Also great with watermelon.”

Crissy F.– “Pack it into a water pitcher (the kind with a spigot in the bottom), add a sliced lemon, and fill with water and drink all day.  I often run out of mint in the summer and do the same with lemon balm instead.”

Heidi D. — “I put them in my smoothie for helping digestion.  My version is 3/4 unsweetened almond milk, 5-6 mint leaves, a tablespoon of flax, hemp & chia seeds, two packets of Truvia, two big handfuls (4 cups loose pack) baby spinach, half an avocado, 1/2 cup frozen cherries and 5 or so ice cubes. Tastes like a Shamrock Shake.  Also, use fresh mint in taboulleh salad, gyro sauce for chicken or salmon, and mint freezes well, too.”

Rachel K.– “Add to water, tea, lemonade.  I use it in my bath (like fresh lavender).

Ana T. — “Tea!”

Karin T. — “Mojitos! OR virgin mojitos if you don’t drink.  In a Vietnamese summer roll with tofu.”

JoAnne H. –”I freeze mint leaves in ice cubes with lemon and lime slices to put in my water throughout the summer.”

Kristy L. –”Mojitos!”

Andria H. — “Mojitos! And my kids pick and eat it right off the plants..fresh breath, that is, until they pick the green onions.”

Arn’t those great suggestions?  I love that Mojitos got 4 shout-outs. I love the idea of putting it on my watermelon, making a mint pesto/salad dressing, and LOVE the healthful ingredients in the Shamrock Shake. I also had to chuckle at Andria’s little ones and their breath!  I have the best community here at New Nostalgia,  it makes me so happy when we can all hang out on Facebook and chat together.  Come join us!

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Girls-Flower-Pots

{my pots last year.  They were missing the fun height of mint}

If you end up using mint in your own pots or garden, be aware that it is a super invasive plant.  It loves to grow and take over all the other plants.  To help with this, you can keep mint in a pot and bury the pot in the garden.  If you are going to use mint in your flower pots along with other flowers, keep it in it’s own pot, or do what I did, which is buy a mint plant that is in a peat moss pot, and rip the bottom off, keeping the sides in-tact.  This will keep the mint from growing outward, and taking over the rest of the flowers in the pot.

2-Mint-Flower-Pots 

I told you it was fast growing!  These pictures were taken just one week apart, and that is even after I harvested some of the larger leaves for tea.

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What about you?  How do you use fresh mint?  Leave it in the comments and I might have to write a part 2!