SOJ chef demo

Good morning!

This past Saturday I got the chance to assist Chef Sam Baker at the South of the James Market. Lauren, the blogger over at Vegology, gave me the chance to be her substitute that day. Free food and education? Um, yes!

Chef Sam created four delicious dishes using lots of summery fruits and tomatoes. All the recipes were super quick and easy which I love. I wrote about my adventure over at her blog. Feel free to check it out! -> Guest Post! SOJ Chef Demo 07.28.12

I hope you have a lovely start to the week! Look out for a new recipe post on Wednesday.

my greenhouse gardening

I’ve only grown a ‘garden’ once and that was last year on my back porch. It was one of the many projects that I took on while my husband was deployed. I grew flowers and green onions all from seeds. Almost every day I would check my pots to see if anything had grown. It was lots of fun.

When we were first looking at our current house, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact that there was a greenhouse sitting in the backyard. I imagined tomatoes to the ceiling and luscious whatevers growing everywhere. I could feed my family!

The only thing was, I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to grow vegetables, let alone in a greenhouse. So this past Sunday I started and found some help in the process.

The lady who lived here before us was a gardener. We were told she died of cancer 5 years ago. My father-in-law also died of cancer and so I feel a sort of connection to this house (or her). I’m sympathetic.

You know how some houses can creep you out and some not? Even in it’s current disheveled state, this one is comforting. Maybe it’s the lady, maybe it’s not.

I’m not trying to scare you! Hey, I don’t even go into a ROOM if a scary movie is on and I’m still alive, so just keep reading. 😉

I mean she left me a greenhouse. I’d say that’s my first sign. It’s an 8×10 (I think) with a functioning fan to suck out all the hot air and heater that we need to fix. The previous owners left a lot of stuff in it so I began by clearing out the space while my husband cleaned the outside to let more light in.

before

Ay chihuahua.

Before the planting began, I bought a couple of different organic seeds of vegetables that we frequently eat in the house -> carrots, roma tomatoes, spinach, arugula, peppers, green onions, and zucchini.

The carrots are iffy since they’re a root vegetable but I thought I’d try them anyways. The lady left a huge, deep pot that I thought they might be able to thrive in.

I also lucked out and accidentally bought the bush variety of the zucchini and tomatoes. The vine varieties wouldn’t have worked since they would’ve needed space to spread.

She also helped me a ton by leaving a lot of pots behind. I combined the pots I already had with hers and laid them out on the shelves from largest to smallest. For some reason I thought that made sense.

I then took my seed packets and placed them in the pots to visualize it all. I only needed to buy two more pots to fit everything.

I can’t find the item online, but the soil I used is an organic potting mix from Lowe’s.

I spotted fish tank pebbles in the corner of the shelf and figured I should line the pots with them before I added the soil. I believe it helps drain the water?

Also, I wasn’t sure how high to fill the pots but again the lady helped me out and I saw old dirt lines in a couple of pots to guide me.

Oh and she left me a frying pan in there so I kept it and used it as a pot saucer which I assume is what she had done. Pot saucers help to catch drips and overflow.

My husband had little pieces of scrap wood leftover from a project so I used them to label all the pots.

And no I’m not a magician! I originally had the tomato and pepper seeds in starter pots inside my house so they’ve been growing for a couple weeks.

I planted the arugula in the lady’s crazy pot in the back. I think it’ll work well.

As for the strawberries. They’re an added bonus! I got to work on Tuesday only to find a box of strawberry plants that one of the vets had brought from her own garden. I excitedly scooped up two! I bought an additional two pots and planted them the next day.

I was on such a gardening kick that I moved these EXTREMELY heavy planters to the backyard to make a grouping. They were scattered around the front as well as the side yard. The two larger planters were already filled with soil so I topped them off, filled the smaller one, and then planted flower seeds that I had saved from last year.

I tend to over water so I am resisting the temptation! I know all these plants have a long way to go but hopefully I’ll have a few success stories in the coming months!

I hope the lady would be proud.

Do you have any gardening projects going on this spring?