Category Archives: Gardening

Bringing Back the Plant Based Diet

We are now well into the post holiday season.  I have a ton of bone broth stored in my fridge and deep freeze, and now I’m on to my next adventure…bring back the plants!!!!🌱

As a diary free family we have a lot to work around during the holidays and I feel like I’m cooking and baking in all of my spare time, just to keep up with the demands of school, family and sports celebrations.  So I tend to let some of our healthier habits slide, simply because I’m too tired (i.e.:lazy) to keep them up.  One of the things I have let slide is the variety of plant based foods and meals.  Typically we try some new vegetable each month, my kids get to help pick it out and help me find recipes.  Some things we like and add into our regular meals and others, well lets just say my family is opinionated and leave it at that!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰

During the holidays, I let that tradition go and resort back to frozen peas, corn and standard mixed veggies and keep carrots and cucumbers in stock, but that’s about it.  So, we still get some serving of veggies, but I’m definitely over it by the end of January.  I star counting the hours until I can plant my garden, spend extra time digging through produce to find the freshest one, and even start pulling out my spring time recipes to kill off some of the cabin fever.

You know me, I love me some research!  I scoured my library for a new take on plant based foods and I’m only 2 chapters in but I’m loving The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer RD.

She has a great take on adding in plants to a standard American diet, achieving a “plant based omnivore” diet and how to transition on the “Plant-Powered Diet Spectrum.”  I love that she covers all facets of food consumption, allowing it to be okay that you consume meat and animal products, go completely vegan, or find a comfortable place inbetween.  She give healthy alternatives to the processed foods that we have become accustomed to.  I have flipped through the recipes in the back and have 3 on my list for this upcoming week!

She also has a great pantry resource. This was, by far, my favorite thing in the book.  Many people assume that to eat a plant based Diet you have to go to the store multiple time each week to get the freshest ingredients, and who has time for that?!?!  Most of the things on her list are things I make at home or I can buy with my Amazon Pantry account and have them delivered, SCORE!

There is even a 14-Day meal plan for newbies!!

Just to be clear, I’m not an affiliate for this book or author, I just love sharing great resources that I find work well for myself and my family. But I do give credit where is due!  Here’s Sharon’s blog check her out!

  I have always noticed a huge shift in personality with both of my kids when we eat better, and I have found that I can handle their drama better when I have a better diet. Simple things like being a regular bathroom userπŸ’© can actually have an affect on how your brain works!😱. When your body is a toxic waste dump and it can’t get rid of the waste your body begins to reabsorb the toxins! And that’s just one benefit of simply adding more whole plants into your diet, imagine what else will start to fix itself when your body is working properly!!! 

That’s all I have for now!  See you on the other side!

Hay Bale Garden – Post Vacation

So I started out this gardening season with an experiment using hay bales instead of pots or a raised bed.  After some research I found that the idea behind using the hay bales was because they hold water well and will keep the plants hydrated even on extremely hot days. I also read that the root system would be stronger due to the ease of growth for the roots through the hay.

It has been an interesting adventure for sure. We had a cold front come through late May that was unexpected and I lost all my seedlings. Then round 2 seedlings were planted into June, well after frost, only to be taken by a cute little rabbit that has taken residence in a field behind our house.πŸ™„πŸ°

Third time was a charm for me!  All my seedlings went in just fine, and I was able to use my dogs’ hair around the bales to prevent the rabbits from getting to the plants again.

As my plants took root and grew I was excited to see if they would make it through my next challenge…family vacation.

We were gone for two weeks total and I didn’t ask anyone to check on the plants or water them.  I wanted to see if the theory that the bales would hold water well and allow the plants to grow even in a drought situation.

I was pleasantly surprised at the results I came home to…

With the exception of two plants, all of my plants survived and I even had a couple surprises too!

Broccoli plants growing well even with some caterpillar munching

Corn is looking a little droppy, but still growing

cucmbers are ready to go even if a little light. They were shaded by the zucchini leaves.

Speaking of zucchini, these got huge! I clearly missed a couple before we left

our biggest zucchini is as long as my son’s leg!

The only this I am working on bringing back is my tomato plant. It was in a pot that had a well in the bottom to give it continuous water. The pot blew over and  the well drained. I’m not giving up on it yet though. There is still plenty of green to give me hope, and this plant has been a strong one. It is actually a clipping from our plant last year. It broke off an my 5 year old asked if we coule put it in a vase of water. Little did I know that over the winter it would develop an amazing root system and then take to being replanted in the spring!πŸ… Tomatoes are the best!

I can’t wait for the recovery of this guy!
Til next time!

Hay Bale Garden (Week ??)

Well, third time’s a charm,right?!?😁

We finally have plants coming in of their own accord! πŸ˜†. For our third round of seed planting we just went straight into the bails with the seeds.  I wanted to see if transplanting was part of the issue. 

The zucchini has done well this time around and will be nice as it drapes over the bail. 

The corn is finally showing signs of life. I was worried that the seeds would not sprout like the second round, but we have 4 stalks going strong now.

The green beans and broccoli have done well, they are from the second planting and survived the transplant.

Our beets are also coming through now, the second planting was a complete dud. 

My lettuce never grew in, but I’m hoping that all the fails are not all me. We do have a tone of birds that have been frequenting our yard.  So I’m wondering if some of the seeds were stolenπŸ€”

We also added a potted tomato plant that has been an over-winter experiment. We took a clipping from one of last years plants and put it in a jar of water over the fall and winter seasons and planted it in a pot this spring. We have only gotten one tiny tomato from it so far but we have a lot of flowers getting ready to bloom!

So far this experiment has been a great learning experience and my whole family is enjoying it. I would call that a SUCCESS! 

Until the next time, keep playing with your food!

Hay Bale Garden Weeks 3 and 4

Full disclosure, I am struggling a little with this garden! πŸ˜–

It actually has less to do with the type of garden and more to do with the chaotic weather that happens here in Ohio.

My bales have been doing ok, but did not get to the high temperatures suggested in the book. I am under the impression that was user error though.  I do not think enough watering was going on.  I did amend my watering schedule and they began to break down better as week 3 went along, but still not enough heat.

By this time the seeds we had planted needed to be moved because the starter cells were just not big enough for all the root systems going on. My 5 year old and I moved most of the seedlings to pots inside so they could continue to get stronger. Most survived others did not (that is what all those extra seeds are for right?!πŸ˜‰) we also began setting the pots outside on sunny days to begin the hardening off process.

Coming into week 4/5 of this project I got a little hasty, and let’s be honest, impatient, to get these plants outside. Checking the weather constantly, I found a day that was going to be nice followed by other days that were supposed to be nice.  Got the seedlings that survived the first transplant and got them in the hay bale beds. The weather then turned and has not been above 54 degrees for a weekπŸ˜•πŸ˜£.  I’m hoping there is enough heat in the bales to keep the roots healthy. We shall see!πŸ’ͺ🌱

In the mean time we have started a new batch of seeds to replace anything that doesn’t make it from Planting 1.0.

I will say that so far my Golden Retreivers have been deterred by the hay! And plenty of bees and butterfly’s have begun visiting us too.πŸš«πŸ•

Week 1 – Hay Bale Garden

So the weather has finally gotten nice enough to start the hay bales and my seeds. 

So for week one of garden prep I have moved my hay bales into place on the south side of our rental. They will be in full sun at least 8 hours every day, so I have chosen plants that can handle the full exposure.

M/E formation

I also placed them in an M/E formation. This will allow me better access to the bales as a whole, and my kids will get a kick out of it because that is their initials! πŸ˜‰ There were suggestions in the book I’m referencing for stacking them or doing a stair step formation. I considered all three options because I have 2 golden retrievers that aren’t afraid to swipe some good produce! But I also have kids that like to climb the bales. In the end I went with this formation because it’s the easiest on many levels and this is my first year so I really want to be able to see what works and doesn’t as far as growing int the bales goes.

One thing I did notice while getting the first layer of fertilizer on the bales is when you go to water them it.. Takes.. Forever! 

Fertilizer and Soaked bales

  I lucked out and have had my bales since October, so they have been moisturizer well over the winter.  But I still watered each bale for a good 4-5 minutes. They soak up water like a sponge and you’re supposed to water them until it runs out the bottom, so if you are going to do this either spend a couple days watering before you start or buy the bales early enough that they can sit out in the elements and let nature do the work for you. 

Close Up of Fertilizer

 So at this point I have spent $30 on 5 hay bales. I got them in October so they were part of my Halloween and Thanksgiving yard decorations and I stacked them along the back side of our rental where the insulation is not great and they helped keep the pipes from freezing this winter. So I’ve gotten a lot of use for $30!

I also spent $8 on a large bags of 10-10-10 all purpose fertilizer. The book says you can use liquid, but I have other planting a going in so the bulk dry mix works for me.

I also spent about $20 on seeds, seed starter mix and a seed starting container.

So, just under $60 all in so far.