Monday, May 25, 2009

Yucky Yuccas

We worked a bit on our back gardens around the pool. We took out a Yucca and put in some Zebra Grass in its place. The problem with Yuccas is that they grow larger and larger and are a pain to split. They are tough to keep looking clean and kept. The dead leaves are difficult to pull off as are the flower stalks in the fall. We have one more Yucca to dig out and more! As nice as they can look I find them more work than they are worth. My advice is if you are considering them...know they are far from low maintenance, but are nice if you keep up with them. Also to save $$, if you need more than one and can wait for the second, just purchase the one and wait one season and you should be able to split it and have a second plant...if not a third and fourth.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vegetable Garden: Coming Soon....We Hope

We have yet to find the time to get started on our vegetable garden. This weekend my mom is coming over Saturday to watch Owen so we can open the pool and hopefully we get that done quickly and have extra time to get started on the vegetable gardens. I did, although, purchase 1 tomato, 1 sweet banana pepper and 1 hot banana pepper plant for the extremely small garden in the backyard. Its not much but its better than nothing. This small garden will eventually be for the kids to plant things and watch them grow... our kids will hopefully enjoy some gardening with Mom and Dad.

Herb Garden: Small Start

I purchased some herb plants yesterday to plant in our small existing back garden. The garden is very small and I just bought a few plants to get started. I purchased 2 sweet basil, 2 oregano, 1 thyme and 1 rosemary. I planted them and added organic food to the soil to help them along since the soil here is very much clay based. I figured since the garden construction hasn't even started yet I should at least plant a few things in the gardens that are ready. Its a small start, but its better than nothing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Front Garden Reconstruction

This past weekend we finally got to work on the front garden. We were able to strip it down...literally, there are only 2 plants left. Aaron dug out the 3 holly and the 2 large and 3 small evergreens that were half dead and looking nasty. My Aunt came over and watched baby Owen for us while we stripped it down. It only took a few hours and we also were able to clean up the small garden at the end of the driveway. Next step with the front flower garden is to purchase new plants and create a whole new look of the front of our home. We want to raise the garden as well as make it a bit bigger and change the shape a bit. We hope to get a sort of Contemporary look. I want the garden to look clean and kept but keep a natural feel and relatively low maintenance. I may go with some yews, dogwoods or spireas for against the house and them some ground cover and hostas upfront. I will also add annuals each year in the spring to add some colour. So that is some of my current ideas but we shall see what I end up doing.
So here we have all our old plants, our empty front garden and our small front garden.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recipes: Quinoa

This grain has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life System for long-duration manned spaceflights.-wikipedia

Made just like rice, quinoa is a great addition to any pantry. You can find plenty of recipes online but it is easy to come up with your own.
Simply cook it with water/stock and add your choice of spices with any combination of vegetables, meat, tofu, beans for whatever suites your mood. Also try adding quinoa to your favourite broth soups, stews pasta sauces, salads and even cereals. Quick, easy and most importantly...healthy!

Here are 3 of my favorite recipes found online:
Quinoa with Hot Italian Sausage & Feta
Peruvian Quinoa Stew
Quinoa Tabouli

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day Gifts

So for this mothers day I decided to give the 2 mothers something practical and "green". So I found some pots that had a very nice saying on them "the best mothers grow into grandmothers" and I purchased 2 oregano plants and potted them in the decorative pots. They turned out great. I hope that our moms use the oregano for cooking but it is a nice decorative plant even if they don't, and it smells wonderful.