How to Grow Your Own Food – 10/9/2013 Garden Tally

chicken scratch

garden boxes

Is it just me, or does my garden look totally naked? Sheesh, all I did was pull up a few dying plants and tidy up the place and now the garden is almost bare. I don’t know whether to be happy this years harvest is nearly over, or if I should be motivated to get out there and plant more. We harvested just under 150 pounds of homegrown produce this week. Not as much as I was hoping for, but hey, 1,309 pounds of veggies isn’t too bad if you ask me.

Right now we have Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, fava beans, carrots, peas, leeks turnips and beets growing in the garden boxes. We also have lettuce, peas and tomatoes growing in the greenhouse.

I guess it really is time to pull out the grow lights and get planting if I want to have some fresh greens this winter.

~Mavis

Here is what I have harvested so far this year:

fresh basil

Basil – 1 pound 3 ounces

We are currently out of fresh basil right now. Although we’ve enjoyed making fresh pesto and strawberry basil jam this summer.

beets

Beets – 133 pounds 12 ounces

We’ve still got plenty of beets in the garden, and I think I’m going to get some more started and see if I can grow this over winter. Have you ever grown beets in the winter?

organic gardening bok choy

Bok Choy – 7 pounds

We pulled up all the remaining bok choy a while back and tossed it to the chickens. I don’t think I’ll plant it again until next spring.

broccoli

Broccoli – 13 ounces

Our broccoli plants are doing great and I’m looking forward to a late fall harvest.

cabbages

Cabbage – 40 pounds 14 ounce

Still waiting to harvest our fall cabbage!

carrots

Carrots – 43 pounds 11 ounces

It seems like I’ve been pulling up carrots left and right these days. Having homegrown carrots on hand for lunch snacks and to use in soups and stews is awesome.

chives

Chives – 2 pound 5 ounces

We regular chives and garlic chives growing right now.

lemon cucumbers

Cucumbers 9 pound 6 ounces

Our cucumbers are done for the season. I guess this means I’ll be buying hothouse cucumbers at Costco until next summer.

chicken scraps

Egg Count – 2,139

Chickens are cool. You give them food, and they give you eggs. It’s like you are constantly bartering with them. 😉 This past week we collected 62 eggs. And, I’m happy top report, none of our chickens are broody. Yee-Haw! It’s the first time in a looooong while.

elephant garlic bulb

Garlic 9 pounds 2 ounces

We just planted our garlic last week and it should be ready sometime in July of 2014. :)

garlic scapes

Garlic Scapes 11 ounces

We use them to make Garlic Scape Pesto.

green beans

Green Beans 17 pounds 11 ounces

Our green beans are officially done for the year. Now if I want some fresh green beans I’ll have to get them from the store. Booo!

curly kale

Kale – 41 pounds 2 ounces

I grow it for the chickens… :)

kohlrabi

Kohlrabi 5 pounds 10 ounces

romaine lettuce

Lettuce – 37 pounds 3 ounces

We currently has lettuce growing in our greenhouse and we should start harvesting it this week. I’ll be starting more lettuce seeds indoors today and keep you up to date once they get growing.

microgreens

Microgreens 5 ounces

I need to jump back on the microgreen train. It’s been awhile since I’ve grown some bean sprouts.

blueberry jam with mint recipe

Mint 13 oz

I made some blueberry mint jam this summer and also harvested some mint for tea.

oregano container herb garden

Oregano – 1 pound 12 ounces

I been using fresh oregano for my heirloom tomato sauce.

onions

Onion – 37 pounds 8 ounces

While I was cleaning out the garden boxes over the weekend I found a few more onions growing beneath the tomato plants. We might have a few more out in the raspberry patch yet to harvest but I’m not sure.

basket of pears

Pears 47 pounds 7 ounces

Pear butter is AWESOME!

growing peas in a greenhosue

Peas – 42 pounds 9 ounces

We’ve got peas growing in the greenhouse and in a garden box.

potatoes

Potatoes – 299 pounds 11 ounces

How to Harvest and Store Potatoes for Winter.

Giddy Up! The potatoes just keep rolling in. All the garden beds have been cleared, now all that’s left is whatever potatoes are growing under the pumpkin plants.

french breakfast radishes

Radish – 22 pounds 2 ounces

bucket of raspberries

Raspberries – 21 pounds 7 ounces

Raspberry season is officially over in our backyard. :(

rhubarb

Rhubarb – 39 pounds 9 ounces

purple sage

Sage – 14 ounces

We are using sage as we need it.

pumpkins squash

Squash 108 pounds 1 ounces

The Girl had some peeps over last weekend and I sent them outside to harvest the pumpkins and squash we had growing up near the teepees and garden boxes. They ended up harvested nearly 60 pounds of squash. Not as much as I had hoped for, but there will be plenty for decorating and to eat.

fresh organic spinach

Spinach – 15 ounces

I planted more in the greenhouse for a winter harvest.

mung bean sprouts

Sprouts –2 pounds 15 ounces

Here are instructions for growing your own sprouts.

Strawberry and Nutella Crepes with Bananas

Strawberries 23 pounds 14 ounces

Strawberry season is over for the year.

Besides eating them fresh we made strawberry kiwi jam, strawberry freezer jam, strawberry pie, and homemade strawberry shortcake.

garden swiss chard

Swiss Chard 52 pounds 4 ounces

Out backyard chickens love it! :)

green zebra tomatoes

Tomatoes 233 pounds 9 ounces

We harvested a little over 18 pounds of tomatoes when we pulled up our tomatoes this past week, We still have a few growing in the greenhouse but for the most part, tomato season is over. :(

cut-wheatgrass

Wheatgrass – 7 ounces

zucchini

Zucchini – 72 pounds 13 ounces

I harvested out last zucchini over the weekend. This was not a good zucchini year for us, which is really odd because they grow like crazy around here.

Total Food Harvested in 2013: 1309 pounds 12 ounces

Total Eggs Collected in 2013: 2,139

If you are new to gardening or just want to learn more about organic gardening, my #1 favorite garden book is The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food By Tanya L.K. Denckla.

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Mornings with Mavis – Amazon Deals, Free Kindle Books, Under Armour Sale, Gymboree, Organic Gardening

mornings with Mavis

mornings with Mavis

Good morning everyone.

Hey, did you plant carrots this year? Did you have a good harvest? Lately I’ve been picking carrots every other day and I have been really surprised with the size of them this year. I’m curious how everyone else did.

Anywho, here are a few deals I spotted this morning, have a great day.

Mavis

K'Nex Toy Coupons

Today’s Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Save 50% on Select K’NEX Toys

free kindle booksAvailable Kindle Books I think are cool…

Our Favorite Halloween Recipes Cookbook $0.49
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules $1.99
100 Easy Recipes In Jars FREE
Homesteading – Self Sufficiency. A Beginners Guide $4.75
How To Plant Your First Companion Garden FREE
Clean Eating: The Eating Clean Guide to Lose Weight $2.99
Grandma’s herbal and homemade remedies FREE

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

Under Armour couponsZulily is having a huge Under Armour Sale today.

Already a Zulily Member? Go HERE to Get This Deal
the body shop coupon

Get a $20 Body Shop voucher for only $10 from Living Social today {up to 2 per customer!}

amazon deals

Amazon Kitchen Deals

organic gardening magazine cover

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine for only $4.50 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire 10/10/13 at midnight EST so be sure and grab your subscription before then.

DIY Freezer Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie Bags

Looking for a fast and easy breakfast? Check out my recipe for DIY Smoothie Bags.

clif bar coupons

Coconut Chocolate Chip Clif Bars {12-Pack} $10.60/$0.88 each when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

Peanut Butter MoJo Clif Bars {12-pack} $10.92/$0.91 each shipped when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

Clif Kid ZBar Chocolate Chip {18-Pack} $13.39 shipped when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Goji Superfood Snack, $5.69 shipped when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

amazon baby deals

Jeep Cherokee Sport Stroller $46.59 shipped

Graco Highback TurboBooster Car Seat {Spit Fire} $44.71 shipped

gymboree sale coupons

Gymboree is having a $16.99 & under sale and features everything on the site for $16.99 & under! Plus, you can also can stock up on accessories for $3.99 or less.

V8 V-Fusion juice coupons

Print a coupon good for $1.00 off any TWO (2) V8 V-Fusion juice

Find More Printable Coupons

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Organic Gardening Magazine 1 Year Subscription – Only $4.50

organic gardening magazine

DiscountMags is offering a 1 year subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine for only $4.50 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout.

Organic Gardening Magazine is the essential resource for any gardener, it provides current and authoritative information, with a focus on making the process of gardening fun and easy.

*This special rate will be live through midnight  10/10/13 {EST}. You can purchase this deal as a new subscription or renew your existing subscription for up to 4 years. You can also purchase additional subscriptions as gifts! Saweet!

Go HERE to get Orangic Gardening Magazine

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Halloween Bat Sugar Cookies

how to make bat cookies frosting

how to make bat cookies halloween

Sugar cookies are the coolest cookie because you can do a million different things with them. Once you have perfected the sugar cookie recipe, the possibilities are endless: you can have unique cookies at every holiday, kids love decorating them {and the cookies are so easy to make, they can help with that part too}, and you can whip up a ton in a short amount of time if you need to be PTA bake sale supermom!

These Halloween cookies not only look adorable, but they taste so good too. They’ll be the hit of every Halloween party!

sugar cookie dough

Ingredients

1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

frosting

Royal Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons meringue powder {This is what I use}
food coloring {I use Gel Food Color}

sugar cookie dough rolling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl often {you can use a hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer}. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir just until blended. Slowly add in the flour about a cup at a time, pausing to scrape the sides after each cup.

Once dough has formed a ball, roll out onto floured surface {you can divide the ball into smaller portions if your counter space is limited}. This dough will not puff up once cooked, so I like to roll my dough about 1/4″ thick. Use various Halloween cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or use silpats. Carefully transfer cookies onto baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cool completely on wire racks before decorating.

how to make bat cookies

To make the bats, pipe black icing around the outer edge of the cookie.

how to make bat cookies frosting

Fill in the cookie completely with black icing.

how to make bat cookies sprinkles

Sprinkle a liberal amount of black sprinkles onto the iced cookie.

how to make bat cookies sprinkles2

Carefully tap excess sprinkles off the cookie.

how to make bat cookies eyes

Using first white and then orange icing, pipe small eyes onto the bats head.

how to make bat cookies halloween

Let icing dry completely before plating your spooky creations.

A little intimidated by a plate full of cutely decorated cookies? This awesome book can help:

cookie decorating

The Complete Photo Guide to Cookie Decorating

Looking to get your cookie fix? Check out more Cookie Recipes.

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Compostival Celebration in King County October 7th-17th, 2013

Compostival Logo

Compostival Logo

I got an email the today letting me know that Seattle Public Utilities and Cedar Grove Compost are kicking off “Compostival.”  They are celebrating the fact that local residents have composted 350,000 tons of yard waste, food scraps and paper in their provided yard bins .  Holy cow!  That is a lot of potential garbage turned into usable material!

how to compost kitchen scraps

“About one-third of what comes to the landfill every year is food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste that should instead go into the yard waste cart for composting to divert those resources from the landfill,” said Pat McLaughlin, director of the King County Solid Waste Division. “The average household generates nearly 50 pounds of food scraps and food-soiled paper each month, and we want to thank everyone who is already doing their part to increase recycling of this valuable resource.”

Here’s the best part, scratch tickets are available at Zeeks Pizza for chances to win tons of cool and FREE stuff {free pizza, free compost, and the grand prize of tickets to watch the Seahawks/Buccaneers game}.  Each scratch ticket also includes a coupon for buy two compost bags, get one free.

If you want more information about the event, go HERE.

Way to turn trash into treasure Seattle,

Mavis

How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets

How to Build a Compost Bin Out of Wood Pallets

How to Compost Kitchen Scraps

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Greenhouse Gardening – Tomatoes in October? No Way!

magnum glass greenhouse

magnum glass greenhouse

Baby it’s cold outside! My goodness. I went out to water the plants in the greenhouse this morning and it was pretty darn chilly.  I need to get a warmer bathrobe if I’m going to be out watering my plants at 10 am. 😉

perennial herbs

So far the sage, thyme and chives I transplanted alongside the greenhouse last month are hanging in there.

perennial herbs

The oregano, rosemary and garlic chives are thriving too.

sun gold tomatoes

But check this out. Sun Gold tomatoes. In October. How cool is that? These are real ones too. 😉 Not those tasteless ones you find at the grocery store that were picked last week and then ripened in the back of a truck as they were shipped across the country.

green zebra tomatoes

I’m not sure how much longer the tomatoes will last, but for now, I’m enjoying every one that I can. Even these green zebra tomatoes. Aren’t they pretty?

old barrel water spout

Oh, and thanks to the One Hundred Dollars a Month Reader who suggested I move my rain barrel into the greenhouse. You suggested I fill it up to let the afternoon sun warm up the water {thus warming up the greenhouse}. So far so good.

Okay, so maybe I don’t know if it’s actually warming up the greenhouse at this point, but you know what? I don’t have to drag the hose out there so I’m happy. 😉

growing lettuce in containers

And last but not least, take a look at the lettuce I have growing in a 3-tiered planter. How cool is that?

Looks like salad is on the menu tonight.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

I’m off to plant some seeds.

~Mavis

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Best Pumpkin Varieties for Cooking and Baking

Best Pumpkin Varieties for Cooking and Baking

Best Pumpkin Varieties for Cooking and Baking

Just like everything in life, not all pumpkins are created equal.  Some are actually favored for cooking and baking because of their high sugar content.  I like to use a lot of my pumpkins just for fall decorating, but I grew a lot of sugar pie pumpkins this year, because they last forever, taste great, AND they look festive on my front porch.
how-to-make-pumpkin-puree

If you are headed to the store to buy a pumpkin for cooking and/or baking {or planning out your garden next year} there are a few varieties that are better than others.  Smaller varieties tend to work best in baking.  The Small Sugar pumpkin and the New England Pie pumpkin are the most popular.  They have smooth flesh and get sweeter the longer they sit.  The white pumpkin, the Lumina, is also a good choice for baking.  A 3-4 pound pumpkin is ideal for flavor.  Don’t be put off by a dull orange flesh–the sweeter pumpkins dull faster, but it does not affect the flavor on the inside.

Pumpkin-French-Cinderella-HEIRLOOM-Seeds-picture

If you are lucky enough to have a farmers’ market with a little more variety nearby, you should try to find the Cinderella or the Jarrahdale pumpkin.  They are supposed to be super sweet and great for baking.  Make sure to pick your local farmer’s brain about other varieties too.  Wise, they are about such matters.  {Sorry, I think I just channeled Yoda, it won’t happen again.}

If it is roasting the seeds you are after, pretty much any pumpkin will do.  Seeds are another great way to try out a little more obscure varieties, because each seed has a slightly different flavor.

What is your favorite pumpkin to cook and bake with?

~Mavis

If you’ve never baked a fresh pumpkin before, check out my easy How to Cook a Pumpkin tutorial.

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Food Waste In America – What to Do with Iceberg Lettuce

food waste America

food waste America

This week there was a little bit of everything in our free produce scrap boxes.

Mr. Produce Guy knows our chickens LOVE lettuce and so we typically end up with at least one full box of leafy greens. There were also organic apples, organic strawberries and even some cut cantaloupe melon this time around.

lettuce tomatoes food waste

Now we like lettuce, but what does one do with an entire case of it?

I mean, it’s not like you can freeze it or anything.

silver laced wyandotte

Luckily our pet chickens LOVE lettuce. I thought about dropping some of the extra lettuce off at the food bank, but the deal I made with Mr. Produce Guy way back when, was that the produce was for my birds. Not human consumption. So even though I salvage a few things here and there from the free produce boxes for my family, I don’t want to get anyone in trouble by donating the extra edibles. Which is kind of silly really.

But a deal is a deal.

can I feed my chicken scraps

Any anyway, what the chickens don’t eat is composted into new soil for next years garden, so it’s not like the food is going completely to waste. I just wish ALL grocery stores had some sort of donation program in place where all their unsaleable merchandise could somehow be donated to an organization in need.

bantam chicken brown

I’m sure Squirrely, our bantam chicken wouldn’t mind sharing.

how to save on produce

This week I was able to reclaim 4 pound sor strawberries, 2 heads of lettuce, a bowl of cantaloupe, and about 10 pounds of apples. Not a bad day at the office if you ask me.

What do you think?

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

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