Monday, April 20, 2015

Just CATching some sun waiting for my first hummingbird! #cats

Some photos are simply too cute not to share! Our sweet cat Snoops looking so serious about sunbathing in the windowsill!

Seriously, cats do best kept indoors if at all possible. They live long happy lives without harming wildlife. No killing birds. No eating poisoned mice or toxic sprayed plants. No parasites in their guts. A win-win for you and your furry friends.

Related Links
Spring 2015 Ruby-throated Hummingbird Reports
Photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Make your own biodegradable Newspaper Pots for Seed Starting #GardenCuizine #GoGreen @SNAP_Ed

Do It Yourself Video
for making Newspaper Pots 
for Seed Starting
Last week I was sorry to miss a guest speaker at the Family Success Center of Vinelands Eat Clean and Green Event. Susan McKenna from NJ SNAP-Ed Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County taught families how to make their own newspaper pots to start seeds in. I've been gardening for years, but never tried to make my own FREE biodegradable pot until today. 

Gardening objects of any kind always catch my attention. As I walked to my office within Family Success, there leaning against the Program Coordinators door, was a tray of leftover newspaper pots from their class. She kindly gave me a few to take home to try and figure out how they were made. Before I took them apart I Googled the topic and came across this video.

After watching the video I could tell that this was just what I was looking for: directions on how to make newspaper pots for seeds. The best part about these newspaper pots is that they do not require using any tape or staples to hold them together. You definitely do not want staples in your garden dirt!

When I watched the video a second time, I paused it at the beginning when he tells the dimensions. The square pots are about 2 3/4-inches wide and 3-inches deep, exactly the size of my samples.

Now came the time to try making one myself. I got a few pieces of our local Burlington County Times newspaper and cut it in half following the video. The nice part is that you can pause it along the way as needed while following along with his directions.  ...Then sure enough, as mom would say when it was finished, "Ta-da!" My first newspaper pot was finito.

The pots can now be filled with dirt and seeds. And, when Mother's Day comes, the danger of frost will be gone and the whole pot with the seedlings can be planted directly into the garden or wherever the plants are desired to go.

Gardening Kids
Kids and families are guaranteed to enjoy this fun garden project.

Happy Gardening!

Blogpost and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Growing Onions #GardenCuizine

Growing Onions
We're growing onions for the first time this season! Rather than growing onions from seed, we ordered a bunch of Ailsa Craig onion sets (seedlings). Mom planted a batch for us today while Harry took a short video of us, which hopefully we'll post for you in the future. 

Onion Nutrition
As I tweeted earlier today, onions add flavor and healthy nutrients to foods; including dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Quercetin (anti-inflammatory, flavonoid) and plant sterols.

Types of Onions
As you start shopping for onions you will come across many varieties and descriptive terms such as: "long-day, intermediate, short-day (10-12 hours of daylight)" onions. Here in NJ where day length can reach 14 hours, we're able to grow long-day onions, such as Ailsa Craig - a large yellow onion. 
Where can you buy Onions for Growing?
Our Ailsa Craig open pollinated, English heirloom onion sets were ordered from Territorial Seed because someone I know grows that variety and orders their onions from them. There are many other reliable garden suppliers online too that sell onions. Shop around and have fun. Ours were back ordered, but arrived just in time for planting in early spring as promised. 

I opened the box as soon as it arrived yesterday so the dormant onions could breath. Even though the suppliers planting guide said to keep the seedlings dry, I moistened a paper towel and wrapped it around the roots overnight. 
Onion Sets
Today, I removed the paper towel and cut the rubber-band that held the group of onion sets together. Then sorted them - putting aside the smallest sprouts and grouping the larger sprouts in groups of 6. The smallest were planted in cell packs that I am keeping outside so they can grow a little more before transplanting them to the garden. 
All the larger sprouts got planted in a raised bed 4 to 6 inches apart and about 1-inch deep. The raised bed is located in full sun and provides compost-rich, loose soil and good drainage. We opted not to use a pre-emergent herbicide as the supplier recommended because we grow all our produce organically.

Stay tuned for more updates on growing onions.
Thanks Mom!

Related Links
Phytochemical and Health Properties of Onions
Benefits of Quercetin (in onions, apple skins, tea and red wine)
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2015 Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 10, 2015

RIP Dr. Annemarie Colbin @naturalgourmet #GardenCuizine

Dr. Annemarie Colbin passed away today...

Back in the 80's, my mother and I operated a well-known health food store and 60-seat restaurant in South Jersey - Garden of Eden Natural Foods and Country Kitchen, Inc. We were pioneers for organic and natural, whole foods even before the arrival of Fresh Fields on the East Coast, which was eventually acquired by Whole Foods Market. 

To this day we have life long friends made from customers and employees of the business. One thing that I will forever remember is the car loads of organic produce that I picked up in person (with my dog Aspen) from Albert's Organics (at the time Albert and his wife were working there) in Kennett Square, PA. 

Back in those days, Annemarie Colbin was very well known to me, my staff and customers. We sold all her books and were familiar with her recipes and teachings. Her culinary school Facebook page announced tonight that she just passed away. I don't have any other information other than that. 

Annemarie founded the Natural Gourmet Culinary school in NY in 1977, which has grown over the years and is well known by members of the Academy of Nutrition and by vegetarians and people looking to learn more about healthy cooking with whole foods.

This video from a few years ago highlights some of Dr. Colbin's recommendations for a healthy diet and lifestyle. What she says makes sense.

Related Links
Books by Annemarie Colbin

In Loving Memory of Annemarie Colbin

Today in Our Spring Garden #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Today in Our NJ Garden
Inside under warm grow lights caladiums are coming back to life next to growing seedlings of Italian basil, border basil, flowers, all sorts of heirloom tomatoes, Harry's requested San Marzano tomatoes (organic seeds from Italy for pasta sauce) and several hummingbirds' favorite annual salvias and my new favorite - Coronado hyssop.

It still feels pretty chilly out in our South Jersey garden today. We have a mix of both life and death in the yard. I'm always sad to see scattered mourning dove feathers in the yard, often near bird feeders - signs of hungry hawks. 

Chattering songbirds, noise of buzzing insects among hidden blooms on boxwood shrubs:
Buxus microphylla ‘Green Mountain’ and emerging buds on hydrangeas, trees and even growth poking through dead looking grapevines bring a smile to my face and are among the many happy, joyous reasons to celebrate spring. 

Perennial horseradish never disappoints and is sprouting in it's usual spot in the garden. Around the yard we have spring blooms of weeds, pink hellebore, Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys', tulips and fragrant hyacinth's.

Strolling through the garden soothes the soul

Hopefully tomorrow we'll get out in the garden to clean up and get some lettuce and arugula seeds planted. And, say a prayer or two for my high school girlfriend whom I recently learned committed suicide, and for our friends who have just lost a love one or pet, and for friends who are having health struggles at this very moment.

Exciting news for our cat loving friends

Our newest feral cat Jazzpurr was given run of the house today, but being super cautious as he is, he decided to stay put in the sunroom to supervise the growing seedlings.

Happy and Healthy Gardening!
Blog post and Photo Collage Copyright (C)2015 Wind. All rights reserved.