Gardening

Is It Time To Start Planting Seedlings?

Vegetables

So, it’s almost time to start planting your seedlings. Seedlings are basically the starter plant for your Spring/Summer vegetable and fruit garden(s). You can purchase older plants from local nurseries if this step scares you but you should try it at least once to know how the process goes.

A seedling calendar goes according to your Zone or area of the United States. For instance, I live in CT and my zone is 7. That indicates what flourishes in my area so I don’t waste my time on temperate plants or even trees like Avocado and Fig. They are just too fussy, you have to drag them inside when the temps start falling below 50F!

In CT, local nurseries usually suggest planting your growing seedlings the day after Mother’s Day in May. This way you will have had the last frost under your belt. However, across the United States, especially in Southern States, the calendar could be far more open to plant all year round.

So, according to the CT seedling calendar, here is what you should be planting in a few weeks:

eksSEED-GROWING-CALENDAR

Now the next calendar will help you for end of frost dates according to towns/cities near you. Click link below.

https://www.ufseeds.com/learning/planting-schedules/connecticut-vegetable-planting-calendar/

This Spring/Summer, I plan to plant tomatoes, jalapeños, beets, bell peppers, cucumbers, and all sorts of herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil. I am staying away from lettuces, I have no confidence of my watering skills. Maybe next year!

Happy planting!

The Pretty Farmer!

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Next Blog will cover Companion Gardening – this covers ways to use plants as natural insecticides and more!

In The Chicken Coop

Want To Start Raising Backyard Chickens? Meet Becky First…

Thinking about raising your very own chickens? I have to say I have had chickens for about 2 months now and they are so fun to watch, interact with and collect eggs from! My chickens are providing me with enjoyment and even some emotional therapy. When I have a bad day, seriously, I just go down to their coop which instantly brings me joy. They are the funniest animals. ‘Red’ who is a New Hampshire Red Chicken, meets me at the door, follows me around, pecks at my painted toes and my bracelets when I lean over to fill the feeder or watering cans. Right now, she’s my love!

Of course this is a new project for me. I had been thinking of chickens right after I became a Beekeeper but felt it was too much to handle all at once. So here we are, 4 1/2 years later with chickens! I now have 19 chickens – 12 older ones which are starting to lay. The other 7 are small birds, kept in a smaller, fenced off coop. This keeps them safe from the others because of their age. The ‘Pecking Order’ – which means a social hierarchy – literally does exist within a chicken coop and I personally don’t want to see it or find out what happens with Chicken Bullying!

At night, when everyone starts to tuck in, I start pinning on Pinterest.com, Googling, and researching ways to keep my chickens healthy, happy, entertained, and above all else, laying – hopefully all will start soon! One on-line character I have come across is Becky from Becky’s Homestead. She’s a Homesteader. She’s quirky, nice to listen to and watch. Her knowledge is pretty good, I find, so it’s not hard for me to follow her. She makes raising chickens sound fun, interesting and not necessarily a challenge like most large chicken yard Farmers will make it out to be. If you are raising and growing your own food, it’s always nice to have a Youtube video at your fingertips to help – even at 1 am!

Thinking about raising chickens I ask? Watch Becky, she’s fabulous!

Direct link to 3 Quick Tips to Raising Backyard Chickens.

 

 

 

Gardening, Yummy Recipes

My ‘Patio Pesto’ Empire

The Park City Honey Co. (PCHC) started this summer off with a big bang at the local farmers markets! We are a different kind of company by supporting local at-risk youth from Bridgeport – only! They are girls ages 16 to 30 years of age and we teach them all about food production, prep and service in my cafe at 130 John Street in Bridgeport, CT.

Not only do they help make the food, we sit down and plan menus together. But this summer is different. This summer I secured a tent in local farmers markets to sell food that they make in the cafe. This is not only an income earning opportunity for the cafe and my company, PCHC, but for them as well. They not only get their hourly wages but earn 20% commission on all goods sold. WOW! Yes, 20% commission – who does that any more? Well, WE DO! It provides incentive, learning new techniques in the kitchen and most of all self confidence in their cooking and sales abilities.

I became a Beekeeper about 5 years ago on a dare. It was a great risk I took and now it has changed my life completely. Not only am I aware and very in tune with their green environment, I have been growing my own vegetables and herbs out of necessity offering my bees a variety of plants to pollinate – especially Basil. And I love basil! I love it on everything. And I love Pesto!

A few weeks ago in preparation of these markets I decided to make Pesto from the plants I grow on my patio. Well, why not? They are fresher than fresh, have not been sprayed with any chemicals and have all the sun and water they need to thrive! So I picked them almost clean, leaving all of the smaller to medium leaves to generate new leaves for the upcoming weeks. My leaves only yielded about 6 of 6oz pots for the market to sell. I was hoping and praying customers would like it so it could go in our fridge at the cafe for sale.

Well, wouldn’t you know it – we sold the 6 pots in less than an hour! Now this Pesto is special. It’s a little spicy from the freshness of the fresh picked leaves and has very little salt. It tastes very natural and healthy. Sooooo…we sold out for the Saturday market, now, what to do for Sunday’s market? I drove to the nearest nursery and bought 18 more plants, pots and 4 bags of organic soil. I was snickering all the way to the register waiting for anyone to ask me what I was up to! Who the hell buys this much basil?!!! I do! I saw the opportunity to make a fresh product our customers would enjoy so I took that ball and ran with it.

Soooo…my little Patio Pesto(c) Empire was born. I picked the new leaves off and made 10 pots for Sunday’s market – ALL SOLD IN 2 HOURS! WOW!!!!

Our girls were over the moon with sales which has inspired them to make their very own fresh products for the markets and the cafe. It’s a glorious feeling when you bring good food for a good cause to the table for your family and friends to enjoy.

Make it today and let us know what it tastes like to you!

Patio Pesto Recipe:

2 cups Fresh Basil

1/3 cup Pine Nuts

1/2 Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

2-3 Cloves of Garlic (to taste)

1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt (to taste)

1/4 Tsp of Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)

1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In food processor, place basil and pine nuts together. Pulse until chopped. Wipe down sides and add the remaining ingredients, chop on High for 30 seconds to a minute. Ready to serve.

Please comment with your thoughts! Would love to hear form you! Or visit us at The Park City Honey Co. Cafe at 130 John Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604. 203-333-3353.

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Convenience Says…

 

Summer is officially here in the Northeast. I live in CT and we have been swamped with rain more so than we are used to. So when you have a cloud-free beach day to commit to, convenience of planning is key.

For a long day at the beach the list that we usually make, besides securing the beach parking permit, are as follows:

  • recliner chairs for mom and dad
  • beach towels and sandals
  • toys and games
  • beach mats
  • sunblock
  • a tent/umbrella
  • a cooler for refreshments and food

But there is one thing a lot of people assume will be available at public beaches and those are the public tables. I personally cannot not plan my day around ‘availability’ and quarreling over who was there first. So if I can bring my own, I will.

Introducing the portable Table In A Bag. This is not new news, they do already exist! However, I have never come across one that is remotely tastefully designed and specifically for small claimed beach sandy areas! Remember the hotter and clearer the forecast, the busier the beach. Who wants to fight over tanning territory – certainly not me!

This little Builder-Bob contraption requires no tools for assembly! Just screw the pieces in and you are good to dine or even play Gin Rummy accompanied with a fabulous cheese platter and wine! It can even go to Europe without notice. I see castles in the Loire Valley, with fruit, baguettes, fatty unsalted butter and proper French Tarte-Tatin. Well, don’t you?

It’s so easy your kids will be convinced it’s the beach necessity and requirement for all beach days out! Even try a day out in the countryside, they’ll live for food in flowering pastures!

Featured on Food52.com, it’s going for $49 in natural and natural grey, in wide or narrow. Get these while they are here. Like a Bed Bath & Beyond featured product, they’re gone when they are gone! The price is too good to be true!

Have a great day out!

Gardening

Essentially Oiled

 

I have been researching how to keep my garden bug free. It’s almost impossible to do it without adding harmful chemicals. I cannot use harsh chemicals for the perfect tomatoes as I have bees and bees drink whatever local water source they have, bring it back to the hive, then the hive reacts. Now, we can only imagine what chaos that would create within the hive – deformities, illness, and even death to the Queen. Anyone remember the 25 million bees that dies in South Carolina a few years ago? ‘Like It’s Been Nuked’ article in The Washington Post tells the story of some idiots who got their Zika mosquito spray timing wrong!

*Neem Oil. What is it? It’s the miracle essential oil. Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem, an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced to many other areas in the tropics. It can be used domestically like clearing your skin to keeping pests off your basil plants! Sold on-line and in stores for gardening at Amazon.com or cosmetic use at Mountain Rose Herbs, it should be kept in your garden supply shed or bathroom shelf for everyday use.

There are a few draw backs of Neem Oil. Exposure, consumption, and overall topical usage should be researched by individuals with sensitivities. For gardening, read the labels and ask questions to the seller. For more information on benefits and drawbacks go to the National Pesticide Information Center (click link for article).

Here are a few websites that cover Neem Oil uses.

Eco Friendly Neem Oil Pesticide, click link

All About Neem Oil, cosmetic usage, click link


* This article was written by Alexandra Wallace-Currie. It is merely to make aware of Neem Oil’s existence. Research into Neem Oil should be done thoroughly before usage.