10 Edible Plants To Grow Indoors

edible plants

 

 

edible plants to grow indoors

If you’ve got a green thumb but don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you may think gardening is a pipe dream.  But think again!  There’s more you can do with your indoor space than potted plants and succulents!  If you like to eat your efforts, this list of edible plants you can grow indoors is for you.  It may take a little more creativity, engineering and planning, but indoor gardening is great for those who live in apartments, condos or have regulations on outdoor gardens in their area.  These 10 plants are commonly grown outside, but can easily be translated into indoor plants with a few alterations and accommodations.

 

1. Avocados

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It’s true that you can grow an avocado plant simply using a pit, but this type will likely yield no edible fruit.  Instead, plant a dwarf avocado tree in a large pot with sand in the bottom.  Remember to allow for drainage and water regularly, but never make it soggy.  You’ll need tall ceilings for this type of tree – even dwarf trees can grow to 10 feet.

 

2. Carrots

Carrots require a bit of room, but aren’t particularly finicky to grow.  Start with a window box or pot that’s a foot and a half in length.  After you plant your seeds, keep the soil watered but not soaked.  The seeds should germinate within 2 weeks.

 

3. Tomatoes

If you want to try your hand at indoor tomatoes, all you need is a 6 inch pot (for one plant).  Start with a starter mix of soil and plant your seeds, keeping the soil well-watered but never soggy.  Once the plants start to germinate, transplant them into potting soil.  As your plant gets bigger, you may need to stage it to prevent the stem from breaking.  Tomatoes like sunshine, but not intense heat so pay attention after placing them near windows.

 

4. Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be purchased to grow indoors as a kit, like this one.  You can also use a laundry basket, as with the method shown here.  Basically, you inoculate straw with mushroom spores and stuff them in the laundry basket.  The basket is usually kept in a box or bag until completely colonized.  Mushrooms prefer shade, so it’s not necessary to keep them in a window or sunny spot!

 

5. Green Onions

These are possibly the easiest vegetable to grow indoors.  Simply place the bottom of leftover purchased green onions in an inch of water in a glass.  Place them in a window and allow the shoots to grow for about a week. (be sure to change the water daily!) When they’ve doubled in size, plant them in a small pot.

 

6. Peppers1280518.large

Peppers enjoy warmth and sun, so if you’ve got a nice warm spot by a window, many types of peppers will thrive.  Banana or cherry peppers do well indoors.  Be aware that peppers do like room, so use a pot that’s at least 3-5 gallons.  For ease, try starting from a sprout instead of using seeds.

 

7. Radishes

Radishes are easy to grow whether inside or out, which makes them perfect for a beginner gardener.  They like it warm, so place the container near a window, but move them on particularly hot days.  The best part about radishes is that they’re ripe and mature in only a few weeks!

 

8. Salad GreensLettuce_604

Salad greens are easy to grow in small spaces, beginning either with seeds or “starts”.  Use a planter box that allows for drainage.  Plant your seeds or starts about 4 inches apart, and if using starts, be sure to massage the roots before planting.  Keep the soil continually moist, but don’t overwater.

 

9. Lemons

Lemons grow best in very sunny spaces – with at least 12 hours of sun per day.  If you start with a dwarf tree, you’ll likely be able to harvest fruit the first year.  Plant the tree in a pot that’s slightly larger than the root ball of your tree in soil specifically formulated for citrus trees and water it daily – though be sure not to oversaturate.

 

10. Mandarin Oranges

It’s best to start mandarin oranges as a dwarf tree.  They grow well in spacious pots with very rich soil and lots of drainage.  Place them in very sunny locations and rotate them regularly as you water them to ensure equal sun exposure all over.  The root system will likely grow abundantly, and when the begin to poke through the drainage holes you’ll need to transplant the tree in a container at least 2 inches larger in diameter.

 

If you want a more complete overview of these plants and more, you can read this post on greatist.  More information can also be found here on care2.  See a much more complete list of plants, herbs and tree you can grow indoors on howstuffworks.

Looking for more? Check out these 25 edible garden ideas on Remodelaholic!

 

Featured image via care2

Title image via Better Homes and Gardens

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

7 Ways to Get Your Patio Ready for Spring and Summer

7 ways to get your patio ready for spring and summer - Tipsaholic.com

 

You’re probably itching to spend a lot more time outside now that it’s warm, so let’s get to work and get your patio ready for spring and summer!

Tipsaholic - 7 ways to get your patio ready for spring and summer

1. Build (or Buy) Outdoor Planters

A couple of really great outdoor planters with bright flowers can add a lot of style to a patio. However, outdoor planters can be costly so why not build them yourself? Here’s a great round-up of DIY outdoor planter projects!

If you’re not that handy, you can always buy a set of outdoor planters to get your patio ready for spring. Maybe you’ll like this trio of white textured stone outdoor planters, this bold and modern orange outdoor planter, or this classic white slat outdoor planter.

2. Hang Up Outdoor Curtains

Turn your patio into another room simply by adding curtains to make it feel more of a part of your home. If you have a pergola or a porch, you can attach hooks to the underside and put curtains on galvanized steel pipes or rods. Hang them on the hooks and presto, you’ve got curtains! Try using outdoor fabric for more durability.

3. Put Up Outdoor String Lights

There’s nothing better than string lights hanging above you to create the perfect atmosphere for relaxing outside as it gets dark and breezy. If you don’t have a porch, you could always string them across your fence (or from your house to the fence if your yard is fairly small) or around a couple of trees.

4. Paint or Stain Your Fence

Fences can look worn out over time, especially if you haven’t painted or stained them to protect them from everyday weather conditions. Follow this tutorial to get your patio ready for spring and summer. A new-looking fence will be like a facelift for your patio!

5. Create Something with Outdoor Pallets

Since it’s so easy (and cheap) to get your hands on a couple of outdoor pallets, why not build furniture and other cool stuff for your patio? From a potting bench to an outdoor table with wheels, there is a wide variety of projects you can do with outdoor pallets.

6. Add Shade Sails

If you don’t have a porch, shade sails is an economical way to block the hot summer sun when you just want to relax in the breeze. Plus, they look so cool and modern! They come in square and triangle shapes and a wide variety of colors. Some shade sails also offer UV protection. Here’s some more information about shade sails. It’s a great way to get your patio ready for spring and summer!

7. Decorate

Is your patio furniture looking plain and sad? Swap out your cushions for new colorful ones and grab a few fun outdoor throw pillows to instantly transform your outdoor space. You’ll probably also want to get a storage bench to store your new pillows and cushions during inclement weather.

Looking for more inspiration on how to get your patio ready for spring? You’ll get a ton of ideas from this great patio round-up.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

Feature image via Involving Color

30 Sweet and Simple Succulent DIY’s

30 Succulent Ideas

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Succulent gardens are not only space savers, they're easy to maintain and look great!  In planters, vertical beds, upcycled containers, mini gardens, terrariums or any number of other spaces, succulents create unique and charming decor.  Get some ideas from our gallery of 30 sweet and succulent DIY's.

tipsaholic - 30 sweet ant dimple succulent diy'sSpringtime means warmer weather, more sunshine and sprouting plants! It’s time to get your gardens in order. Don’t have a green thumb? Never fear! Succulents are the perfect plant for unseasoned and master gardeners alike. They don’t take up a lot of space, require only a little soil, and are difficult to kill. They come in a huge assortment of sizes, shapes and colors. They can thrive in lots of different environments, and love full sun.

If you’re looking for something low maintenance and beautiful, succulents are the plant for you. Not sure what to do with your succulents? Use our gallery of 30 sweet and simple succulent DIY’s as a guide to getting started!  These creative projects are perfect for welcoming Spring.

Planters:

Vertical Gardens:

Miniatures:

Terrariums:

Odds and Ends:

30 Sweet and Simple Succulent DIY's - Tipsaholic.com #gardening

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

 

10 Fantastic Tin Can Crafts for Kids

10 Fantastic Tin Can Crafts for Kids | Tipsaholic.com #diy #craft #kids #cans

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Take time out with the kids today to enjoy crafting together with these 10 fantastic tin can crafts. Each craft requires just a few supplies, some creativity, and a child or two to make things interesting! It’s incredible what a kid can do with a set of recycled cans – so start saving up your empty soup cans and get inspired by a couple of these great ideas for little hands.

 

1. Stilts from Playful Learning

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 2. Lanterns from Domestic Doozie

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3. Bird Feeder from Momtastic

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4. Music Maker from Minieco

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5. Topple Game from The Zui Blog 

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6. Wind chime from All You Magazine

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7. Hanging garden from Stuff Steph Does

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8. Desk organizer from Somewhat Simple

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9. Flower feeders from Think Crafts

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10. Tin can phones from Skip to My Lou

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Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Featured image courtesy of Stuff Steph Does.

What to Plant in May

What to Plant in May | Tipsaholic.com #gardening #vegetables #planting #food #healthy

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They say that you reap what you sow. Well, it’s May and it’s time to sow the seeds for a harvest to reap come summer! Here’s what to plant in your garden during the month of May. Since weather conditions may vary depending on where you live, this list of what to plant in May should apply to you if it’s consistently in the 50s during nights.

 

1. Cucumber

Cool down in the summer with cold cucumber dishes by planting cucumber seeds in your garden now! Cucumbers grow very fast; you should expect to see cucumbers show up in your garden within two weeks of planting. If you have a small garden, cucumbers will be a perfect fit since they can climb. Find an area in your garden that receives full sun and you’ll be enjoying cucumber salads (and cucumber facials) before you know it!

Here is some more information on growing cucumbers and learn how to prevent them from tasting bitter.

 

2. Cantaloupe

This sweet fruit is popular with kids and can be turned into a delicious cantaloupe milkshake! It’s important to ensure that your soil is warmer than 65 degrees before planting cantaloupe seeds, so if you live in a cooler climate you can cover the soil with black plastic for a few weeks to heat it up. Then cut out small holes and plant the seeds without removing the black plastic. Grow vines in raised rows for best results, but you can grow them on a trellis if you’re limited on space.

For more tips and tricks on growing cantaloupes, read this guide on growing cantaloupes.

 

3. Zucchini

The question of what to plant in May is often answered with the beloved zucchini. Your neighbors will love you if you plant zucchini in your garden. With proper care, you’re sure to get a bumper crop and end up giving some of your crop to others! At least, you’ll never run out of this vegetable all summer after you plant it in your garden this month. Zucchini, or yellow squash, should be planted in warm soil; use the black plastic method mentioned above when planting zucchini in May if needed. Grow zucchini in full sun and be sure to frequently water the seeds.

For more detailed information on planting summer squash in your garden, here’s a great guide.

 

4. Beet

If you salivate over the thought of a beet and goat cheese sandwich, plant beets in your garden in May. Soil that is at least 50 degrees is warm enough for beet seeds to grow. Beets are a long-season crop and you’ll be enjoying the red root vegetable until well into fall. If you live in an area where it’s dry and doesn’t rain very much, soak the beet seeds for one full day before you plant them. Then enjoy that beet sandwich!

You’ll find more helpful information on planting beets here.

 

Now that you know what to plant in May, what are you planning on growing in your garden this month? I’m leaning towards zucchini…

For more gardening tips, check out How To Grow Vegetables From Scraps and Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden.

 

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!

 

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

 

How To Keep Your Cut Flowers Fresher Longer

How to Keep Your Cut Flowers Fresher, Longer | Tipsaholic.com #floral #indoor #arrangement #gardening

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It’s the season of budding trees, bird nests, gentle rains and blooming flowers!  Springtime brings with it a feeling of freshness you can’t find at any other time of year.  Once you’ve finally thrown your windows open, you’re probably thinking about Spring-y updates for your home decor.  The fastest way to bring spring into your home?  Flowers, of course!  Whether you’re decorating with those pride-inducing blooms from your own garden or the bouquet you got for Mother’s Day, a vase of fresh, colorful petals simply spells Spring.  The only problem?  Junking them when they’re wilted and brown.  It’s a bummer to trash those beautiful icons of Spring, so why not hold onto them a little longer?  If you’re wondering how to keep your cut flowers fresher longer, here are 8 easy tips.

 

1. Clean it up.

Make sure your vase is completely clean.  This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s easy to miss spotty buildup on previously used vases and that gunk can facilitate bacteria growth – a sure way to make your flowers droop.  So scrub hard with your favorite dish soap and a little bleach, then be sure to rinse completely.

2. Prepare your water.

You may be used to dropping your stems in any old water, but if you take some time to properly prepare your water with preservatives, you’ll significantly increase the longevity of your bouquet.  There are plenty of ways you can do this.  If your cut flowers were a gift from a shop, they likely came with “food” which you can sprinkle into the water.  Use only half when you first prepare your vase, then use the rest a few days later when you dump the old water and refreshen the vase.  If your flowers are more garden variety, you can make your own preservative.  Make a mixture of 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 quart of water.  Dissolve the sugar completely.  The idea is to fight away bacteria (vinegar) while nourishing the flower (sugar).

 

3. Don’t ignore the temperature.

Be sure to use cool water – not warm or cold.  Warm water invites bacteria growth more quickly.

 

4. Pluck a little.

Remove the bottom leaves all along the stem.  Any part of the stem that will be submerged in water should be leaf-free.

 

5. Run your water.

Once your vase, water and flowers are properly prepared, run the water in your tap and hold your flowers with the ends of the stems in the running water. Cut them while still in the water and transfer them to the vase right away.

 

6. The angle matters.

Cut your stems at an angle to increase the inner area that will be exposed to the water.

 

7. Avoid direct sunlight.

Keep your flowers in an area that doesn’t receive much direct sun.  This will minimize both wilting and bacteria growth.

 

8. Change the water.

Don’t keep your flowers floating in the same water until they die.  Recut your stems, change out the water and add your preferred preservative every other day.  It may seem like overkill, but fresh water in freshly cut/exposed stem is the best way to ensure your flowers aren’t bogged down in gunk.  Do spot checks every day to remove any fallen leaves or petals from the water.

 

It takes a bit of maintenance to keep your fresh cut flowers looking pristine, but with a little effort, you’ll be surprised by how long they last!  And that colorful, spring feeling they bring to your home decor is worth it.

 

Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com

 

5 Tips for Arranging Flowers From the Garden

5 Tips for Arranging Flowers from the Garden @Tipsaholic


5 tips for arranging garden flowers via Tipsaholic

Starting months ago, you planned your garden, planted it, and helped everything grow. After that hard work, you are rewarded with beautiful plants and flowers in your own yard. Now you are only need to take a few steps out your door to find flowers perfect for making centerpieces, bouquets and other indoor arrangements. Here are five tips for arranging flowers from the garden.

Plan Ahead

When creating your garden, be sure to select annuals and perennials that are good for cuttings. A few examples of flowers, perfect for using in arrangements, are marigolds, gladiolus, iris, peony, black-eyed susan, and, of course, roses. Also plant enough blooms to maintain a good amount outdoors after a few are harvested for the indoors.

Select Interesting Containers

Since these are flowers from your garden, think beyond a vase when picking what type of container to display the arrangements. A glass jar, bucket, or pitcher can be good choices. Even a boot or box could be selected. Just add a smaller clear glass vase inside to hold the flowers and protect the item from any water damage.

Create Color Combinations and Texture

Picking the right flower combination can give you the look you are after. Using all one type of flower in an arrangement can look very classy; or select different flowers of all the same color for a monochromatic look. Consider adding a pop of color with a few blooms in a contrasting color to add interest to a bouquet. Be sure to select flowers that are growing at different stages, even including a few buds.  Also, include non-floral items like branches or leaves for added texture.

Vary the Heights

Before placing the flowers in your container, remove from the stem any foliage that will be below the water line. Then cut the steams so they are at varying heights, placing the tallest blossom in the bouquet towards the middle, and working your way out with the shortest at the edge of the container. A few blooms can even hang over the edge.

Enjoy the Process

Remember this is something fun and creative and not an exact science. Don’t be afraid to play around with different foliage, flowers and vases when creating an arrangement of flowers from the garden.

 

Photo source: Better Homes and Gardens

 

I’m Frances. I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me as I decorate, organize, and try new things over at my blog Improvement List.

9 Great Spring Projects with a Purpose

9 Great Spring Projects with a Purpose

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When things start warming up and signs of spring abound, the last of your “cabin fever” can be resolved with a few spring projects in preparation for longer days ahead. Get a head start on spring cleaning, gardening, and organized summer fun with these spring projects that also serve a practical purpose!

9 spring projects with a purpose - Tipsaholic.com

1. Car Kit

Get your car ready for the busy traveling season ahead with this easy car kit from iHeartOrganizing! Build your kit to suit your family’s individual needs with first-aid items, traveling games, and snacks.

2. Planter Boxes

There’s no better way to dress up your porch this spring than with a set of these fabulous planter boxes. Paint them your favorite color and fill them with your choice of flowers, ferns, and mosses.

3. Natural Cleaners

Whether you’re dreading spring cleaning or totally excited for it, you’ll love this set of printables from Clean Mama that will help you make your own natural cleaners and decide where to use them. Ditch your hazardous chemicals for household naturals like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon and deep clean like you never have before.

4. Produce Bag

It won’t be long before your local farmer’s markets open up again, and you can be ready to bring fresh fruits and vegetables home to your table with this useful produce bag that makes a great up-cycle of an old t-shirt!

5. Cleaning Toolbox

Spring cleaning is made more efficient with this great cleaning toolbox! Avoid all the scrambling under kitchen sinks and running around each time you clean a new room by keeping all your tools in one great DIY kit

6. Cushion Covers

You’re going to want to be ready for all the great backyard get-togethers this season, and a patio furniture update is perfect for giving yourself a classy new garden-party look. Fashion a few of these cushion covers with your favorite outdoor fabrics.

7.One-Board Birdhouse

The birds are back! Take some time to do a little bird watching this spring and try your hand at this super-simple (and cheap!) one-board birdhouse from Birds and Blooms.

8. Hanging Garden Lights

The days are getting longer and those quiet evenings spent relaxing in the yard are becoming more of a reality. Make those nights even more magical with these hanging garden lights to add a bit of sparkle!

9. Foot-Washing Station

Spring can be a messy time of year when the earth is still damp and muddy or you’re spending time in the garden. Keep your indoor floors a little cleaner by creating one of these clever foot-washing stations outside your back door.

9 Great Spring Projects with a Purpose - Tipsaholic.com

 

Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at www.utterlyinexperienced.blogspot.com, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

How To Grow Vegetables From Scraps

How To Regrow Vegetables From Scraps via Tipsaholic.com


Wait! Don’t throw away that stalk of celery or the white bulbs of that bunch of scallions. Did you know that you can re-grow vegetables, right in your kitchen so you’ll always have some of the most popular veggies we use in our daily cooking? Best of all, you don’t need a green thumb, a garden or even warm, sunny weather to do it! (featured image via Remodelaholic)
 

6 Vegetables That Can Grow From Scraps via Tipsaholic

Green Onions

Since most recipes call for only the green part of green onion (also called scallions or spring onions), we often wind up wasting the white bulbs. But those bulbs are the heart and soul of the onion plant! When you’ve finished with the green tops, put the bunch of white bulbs into a glass of water and leave it on your windowsill. In just a few days, you’ll be begin to see new green onions springing up! Harvest them as you need them, but be sure to change the water every few days.

 

Leeks

You know how leeks look a lot like great big green onions? They can be regrown the same way as green onions, too! Follow the same bulbs-in-a-glass-of-water routine the next time you have a leek or two leftover and you’ll wind up with your own supply for months to come.

 

Celery and Fennel

These two veggies are also candidates for the water trick. When you buy a bunch of celery or fennel, simply cut off the base and put it, stalk tips facing up, into a bowl of water (just enough to cover the bottom of the bunch, not the whole thing). For these two, however, go ahead and keep them out of direct sunlight.

 

Garlic

Have you ever opened your pantry and found a forgotten bunch of garlic with green sprouts on the ends? Next time, don’t throw it away: regrow it! Plant the garlic in a small pot just as you would flower bulbs in the fall: sprouted tip facing up. You’ll end up with a great houseplant and some fresh garlic for the kitchen.

 

Ginger

Cut off a small piece of the ginger root you bought at the grocery store, plant it in a pot and wait for it to sprout. When you need ginger, you can dig up the whole plant, cut off whatever you need from the root and then repot the plant.

 

Romaine Lettuce

You can regrow many types of lettuce, but stem-based romaine is the easiest. Just as you did with the celery, cut the base of the lettuce head off and put it in a bowl of water to regrow. You’ll be amazed how quickly a new head sprouts up!

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden

Tips for Winterizing Your Summer Garden via Tipsaholic.com

Even with apple picking and back-to-school on your mind this fall, don’t forget to put your summer garden to bed for the winter! If you put forth just a little extra effort in winterizing this fall, you’ll be rewarded with great time savings and a garden that’s ready to go in the spring when it’s time to tackle planning and planting the garden again. (featured image via Remodelaholic)

4 Tips for Winterizing Your Garden via Tipsaholic.com

Pull Out Dead Plants

I know what you’re thinking: “But they’re dead! I can just let them rot over the winter!” Yes, you can, but that also means that any spores left from diseases or blights or eggs of obstinate bugs will be allowed to live in your garden over the winter. They are pretty hearty little buggers and might just rear their ugly heads again next summer. Pull out and dispose of all the dead plants in your garden to start with a clean, healthy slate in the spring.

 

Keep Weeding

Nearly the same principle applies to weeds as it did above to disease spores. If you pull out the weeds now, you’ll have fewer of them re-growing in the spring, which you’ll have to pull out anyway. Bonus: pulling older weeds now is much easier than pulling newer, stronger ones next year!

 

Rake Out the Old Mulch

Unless you mulch only with compost or newspaper, which can be tilled back into the soil in the spring, rake out all your hay or bark mulch. If it is allowed to become incorporated into the garden, it can significantly change the pH of your soil; that can affect how well your plants will grow – if at all. If you’re feeling very ambitious, go ahead and add a layer of compost or mulched leaves for the winter, too, which will add some extra nutrients next spring when you till them into the soil.

 

Tidy Up Your Tools

Just as you wash your pots and pans when you’re finished cooking, so too should you clean up your gardening implements to ready them for next year. If you have any outdoor pots or containers, empty them, hose them out and store them out of the weather so they won’t crack or break. Also, give all your hand tools a quick scrub in some soapy water, hose them off and let them dry; you can even coat metal tools with a think layer of vegetable oil to prevent them from rusting over the winter.

 

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

Top Ten Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that always seems to be in rich supply. Either your garden is overflowing or a gracious neighbor brings you a zucchini the size of a small baby. You can only bake so many loaves of zucchini bread before your family begs you to stop. So what else can you make with all that zucchini? To help you out in the kitchen, here are our top 10 zucchini recipes that’ll make you see this summer squash in a whole new way.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

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Zucchini Ribbon Salad | Proud Italian Chef

While we love zucchini bread, baked goods aren’t the only kind of recipes available. If you have a vegetable peeler, making this salad is as easy as 1-2-3.

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Still have zucchini? Try 5 more easy zucchini recipes.

Ten Zucchini Recipes Your Family Will Love via Tipsaholic.com

About the Author: Clarissa Fidler is a 20-something trying to find her place in this world. She grew up in Seattle, attended college in Utah, and now calls Chicago home. In her free time you’ll find her reading the New York Times, cuddling with her cat Harper, catching up on her favorite blogs, running along Lake Michigan, or checking out a new restaurant.  If you’d like to read more by Clarissa, check out her blog West Hawthorne Place.

Five Tips for Eating with the Seasons

 

Let’s be honest, it can be difficult to eat healthy while also maintaining a reasonable budget and cooking meals our families enjoy. An important first step in changing the way we eat is to eat with the seasons. Eating with the seasons means buying fruits and vegetables during the months in which they’re typically harvested. Not only is choosing to eat mostly in-season produce less expensive for you as a consumer, it’s also more environmentally friendly.

 

seasonal_food_chart

Five Tips for Eating with the Seasons

Ready to reap the benefits of a bountiful harvest? Here are five useful tips to help you start eating with the seasons.

 

1. Know the Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The first step in eating seasonably is finding out which fruits and vegetables are available per season. Not only is in-season produce fresher, it’s also less expensive. Erika at Style Me Green has compiled a great, comprehensive list of produce to buy based on each of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Want to look up a specific fruit or vegetable? Check out this Guide to Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables from About.com.

2. Buy Produce at the Local Farmers Market

Eating seasonally is more fun, cost effective, and environmentally friendly when you buy from your local farmers market. Choose a new recipe that incorporates a family-favorite seasonal fruit or vegetable and be sure to pick up the ingredients while you’re out. Not sure where to go in your area? Visit www.localharvest.org for a list of local farmers markets across the nation.

3. Learn How to Can

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the sweet taste of peaches or twang of dill pickles during the barren winter months. Canning is the answer! Never canned before? No problem. Follow this step-by-step guide from Better Homes and Gardens. Already a canning artisan? Browse these creative canning recipes for some fresh inspiration.

4. Plant an Herb Garden

No matter your living situation—tiny apartment or spacious bungalow—planting an herb garden is a great way to live green and make sure you always have the necessary ingredients on hand to spice up your seasonal dishes. Andy and Kerry at Burritos & Bubbly created a cute, simple kitchen herb garden in less than a day. They chose to plant basil, cilantro, peppermint, rosemary, thyme and chives. View their finished project here.

5. Share the Bounty

Making a conscious effort to eat seasonally provides wonderful opportunities to practice the farm-to-table approach. Invite your family and friends over for a dinner party where you share your favorite seasonal recipes. Set the table outside if the weather permits and give canned jellies or preserves to your guests as gifts when they leave. Jump start your planning with this lovely post: How to Host a Farm to Table Dinner from Abby Larson at Style Me Pretty.

More great tips for living a healthy lifestyle.

 Featured Image Source

 

Clarissa Fidler is a 20-something trying to find her place in this world. She grew up in Seattle, attended college in Utah, and now calls Chicago home. In her free time you’ll find her reading the New York Times, cuddling with her cat Harper, catching up on her favorite blogs, running along Lake Michigan, or checking out a new restaurant.  If you’d like to read more by Clarissa, check out her blog West Hawthorne Place.

 

Non-Toxic Bug Spray for Your Family, Pets and Garden

Spending time outside during the summer is great – except for the bugs!   Bug spray seems like a good idea, but many contain harsh chemicals and toxins that we don’t really want to put on our skin, on our pets or around our gardens. Using simple household products and some natural essential oils, you can make your own insect repellent that is both safe and effective.

 Homemade Natural Bug Spray

How to Make Non-Toxic Bug Spray for Your Family, Pets and Garden

 

1) For your family:

Fill a small glass spray bottle (about 8 ounces) halfway with witch hazel and then fill nearly to the top with distilled water. Add 10 drops each of the following essential oils: tea tree, eucalyptus, mint and citronella. Then add 10 more drops of another fragrant essential oil, such as lavender, rosemary, geranium or lemongrass (whatever smells best to you). Just shake well and spray to keep those nasty bugs away!

 

2) For your dog:

Peel several lemons, limes and/or oranges and add the peels to a pot on the stove. Add enough water to cover the peels and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool completely. Discard the peels and put the remaining citrusy water into a spray bottle. Add 25 drops of essential oil for every 8 ounces of citrusy water – I like to use a combination of mint, lavender and eucalyptus. To repel mosquitos, shake the mixture well and spray on your dogs’ backs (where they can’t lick it off) before you take them outside – just be sure not to get it in their eyes!

 

3) For your garden:

In a small spray bottle, mix 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons mild oil (such as vegetable), 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper. Shake well and apply to plants and small bushes to control aphids.

 

Have a great, bug-free summer!

Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.

5 Easy Zucchini Recipes

Saffron Spaghetti with zucchini

Zucchini, a delicious and healthy summer squash, is everywhere this summer. Try these five easy zucchini recipes to add some extra vitamin A to your summer diet!

5 Easy Zucchini Recipes

 

It’s summer… which probably means that you have zucchini in your refrigerator or your garden. If you don’t, just hop over to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and you’ll find plenty of zucchini waiting for you. This delicious summer squash is easy to grow and even easier to eat. Its mild flavor, high vitamin A content, and low calorie count make it a great addition to your dinner table. Make zucchini a staple in your diet this summer by trying these three simple zucchini recipes.

 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats-

Grab four zucchini and cut them in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the middle and toss half of it in a medium pot. Add frozen corn, canned chopped green chiles, Romano cheese, monterey jack cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat up the mixture and then scoop it back into the zucchini halves. If you like lots of cheese, go ahead and add some more monterey jack cheese on top. Set the oven to 350 degrees and let the stuffed zucchini boats cook for 10-15 minutes or when the zucchini softens slightly. Serve immediately.

 

Grilled Zucchini Roll-ups-

If you tend to fire up the grill during the summer, this recipe is perfect for you. Slice your zucchini thinly, lengthwise, with a mandoline slicer. Toss them lightly in olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and then throw them on the grill. Let cook for a few minutes on each side until they get nice brown grill marks and then take them out. Put a scoop of pesto or herbed goat cheese on the bottom of a grilled zucchini slice and roll it up. Secure it with a toothpick. You can experiment with different fillings to find your favorite roll-up.

 

(Not) Fried Zucchini Chips-

Fried zucchini chips, the kind you get at Italian restaurants, are so good and so bad for you. Try a healthier version at home by baking your zucchini chips instead. Start by thinly slicing your zucchini into rounds with a mandoline slicer. A thickness of around 1/4 to 1/8 inch is ideal. Toss the zucchini rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the zucchini on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pop it into the oven at 275 degrees. Bake for around 30 minutes and then turn over the zucchini rounds. Bake for another 30 minutes or when the zucchini chips are browned and crisp.

 

Zucchini Kabobs-

This is another easy zucchini recipe for you to try out on your grill. Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 15 minutes to reduce their flammability. Meanwhile, slice your zucchini into ½-inch rounds and toss them with your favorite marinade or a simple olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper mixture. Thread the zucchini slices on the bamboo skewers (through the skin, so the cut sides will be on the grill) and cook them on your grill for a few minutes until they’re golden and cooked through.

 

Zucchini and Shrimp Quesadillas-

Start with a large whole-wheat flour tortilla and heat it up in a cast iron pan. Spread chopped zucchini over half of the tortilla and add cooked shrimp, Monterrey jack cheese, and your favorite quesadilla ingredients. Try including avocado, green onions, black beans, cilantro, and/or corn in your zucchini and shrimp quesadillas. Yum!

Check out these other great Zucchini recipes:  Zucchini lasagna, zucchini pancakes, coconut zucchini yogurt bread and much more…. For more easy cooking tips, check out 5 Tips for Cooking Great Eggs.

About the Author:

“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.”  Please check out my blog What the Vita!