Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lettuce Eat!!

It's getting to be that time of year, again...Cool Crop Season!!...the beginning of a fresh & delicious harvest!  Cool crops are those that perform best before the heat of the summer...think carrots, radish, peas, broccoli, cauliflower AND GREENS!  All of these crops are sooo easy to get growing in a small space.  From my days working retail at a garden center, I was always amazed by how intimidated people could get by the idea of veggie gardening.  Let me tell you, you can do it!...and you will love it!
I love lettuce, spinach and mixed greens because they are so easy to grow...and mostly because you can get a good jump start on spring by starting them in a sunny window in your home.  How tasty does a fresh baby greens salad sound? about while there is still snow on the ground?! 

Here's how you can do it:
1.)  Head out to your local garden center and pick out some lettuce, spinach and mixed greens seeds.
2.)  While you're there, if you don't have them already, you can grab a flower pot (shallow, bowl-shaped bulb pots have worked best for me) and some potting soil. 
3.)  Fill your pot with soil, leaving about 1" from the top of the pot without soil.
4.)  Water the soil in your pot so that just a little water begins to run out of the bottom drainage hole.
5.)  Lightly sprinkle your seeds on the top of the soil in your pot.
6.)  Very, very lightly sprinkle more potting soil over the top of your seeds.
7.)  Sprinkle lightly with water and place in a warm, bright window (don't forget a tray for drainage).
8.)  Keep the seeds moist (but not soaked) until they begin to sprout.
9.)  Once sprouted, continue to keep them lightly moist.
10.)  When the leaves of your greens are about 3"+ in size, harvest by cutting with kitchen scissors about a half inch above the soil surface or "stem" of the greens. 

Eat.  Enjoy!
Easy Breezy!
Now, start thinking about the other delicious cool crops that you can start seeding in the garden in about a month here in Iowa! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not For Saying I Love You...

Have you seen Hallmark's Valentine's Day commercial?  You know...the one that says, "Valentine's Day is not for saying I love's for saying I love us...I love who we are together."?  I like it.  Yep, the big sappy, romantic part of me loves that message. 

I admit it... my feelings towards Valentine's Day have changed this year.  Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I now feel like I have the most wonderfully kind, caring, supportive and fabulous guy that there could ever be for me {...not to take away from you...I hope that you have found yours, too}!


I don't think this completely explains my change of heart {no pun indended!}.  I have always thought of Valentine's Day as a very commercialized holiday...which, yes, it is.  I guess the difference is that this year I am okay with that.  Yes, it is a very commercialized holiday.  I am agreeing with Hallmark in a sense {& Dr. Laura Berman from Oprah on XM radio...I know, I know...geek alert!}...

...Hopefully we are always showing the special people in our lives what they mean to us...but...just in case we aren't {or even if we are}, isn't it nice to simply show them on this designated day for love?  A card and a nice {hopefully inexpensive} bouquet of mixed flowers is all it takes...nice & simple...but still, thoughtful & pretty.

I say "go for it!"...throw out a few bucks to your local {please go local!} florist or candy maker...even find some of your inner craftiness to make your own card!  Hey, weren't those pop-out cards from elementary school with the neat little springs pretty darn fun to make?! 

Happy Valentine's Day, Friends! 

...and just to throw in my commercial pitch for the holiday...Seeded Earth gift certificates are always available as very sweet gifts, too!!  ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scabiosa...A Not So Pretty Name...

...for a very pretty flower! 

Scabiosa caucasica is easily one of my top three favorite perennial flowers of all time!  I adore her!...especially Scabiosa 'Fama' and Isaac House Hybrids.  She may not have the prettiest of names, but don't let that deter you from her graceful, blue beauty.  With such simple, delicate elegance, scabiosa adds a touch of class to any bouquet.

Scabiosa caucasica is one that has grown better for me than any other of the scabiosa family.  It performs best in part sun with well-drained, rich {adding compost to your soil when planting works great!}, alkaline soil {if you're in Iowa, most of our soils usually lean towards alkaline or neutral -- if you're not, try sphagnum peat or organic mulch}. 

Oh, and did I mention that scabiosa makes a lovely cut flower?!  It sure does!  Give it a fresh cut in the cooler parts of the day {morning or near sunset are best}, arrange in a vase with floral preservative and you will have fresh, beautiful flowers for at least a week or more!

Want to try this variety yourself?  You can find seeds from Botanical Interests here .