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10 Easy Garden Hacks You Probably Haven't Seen

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

For all of us who like to garden, there are always little problems to be solved. And let's face it. Gardening is a lot of work, so anything to make it easier is alway welcome!  Here are 10 of my favorite, tried and true gardening hacks I think you'll appreciate!

 

1. Sprinkle Cinnamon on Seedlings. It stimulates stronger root growth, prevents fungus, and is a pest deterrent. 

 

2. Make free, biodegradable root pots from toilet paper rolls. Plant right in the ground! 

 

3. Use wine bottles to water while you're away. Going away for a few days? Fill empty wine bottles and turn upside down and it will water just the right amount to keep plants healthy!

 

4. Plastic bottle watering can. Don't have a watering can? Here's a quick, easy and inexpensive solution. Simply poke some holes in the screw top of an empty plastic bottle, fill it up, and problem solved!

 

5. Sweeten your tomato plants with baking soda. Just sprinkle a small amount of baking soda around each plant (about 1/4 cup). You can also mix about 1 tsp per gallon in water and use them to water plants. Tomatoes are sweeter when the soil has lower levels of acidity.

 6. Use an old pallet to hang garden tools. I love repurposing things and this is so easy! You only have to add some hooks, stain or paint it if you want, and done! 

 

7. Sprinkle Hydrogen Peroxide on your seedlings and plants. Hydrogen Peroxide can be a gardener's best friend! And it's organic! Just mix 1 cup of HP with 2 gallons of water and water in the evening. It helps with soil aeration, disinfects pots and compost materials, boosts root development, fights fungal infections and is an insect repellant. 

 

 8. Forks in the garden? No, they're not so you can start eating your salad right away! If you have uninvited guests nibbling on your veggies, this will send the away!

 

9. Re-use that cooking water. Don't throw out that water you've just boiled potatoes or eggs or broccoli in! Dump it on plants to add extra nutrients. You have a ready made "compost tea." 

10. Use coffee filters to line pots. This will keep the water from draining so fast and keep roots damp longer, so you don't need to water as often.

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The PERFECT Breakfast Smoothie and Its Benefits

Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

Blend together:
2-3 Kale Leaves, stems removed--
  • Kale is high in iron. ...
  • Kale is high in Vitamin K. ...
  • Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. ...
  • Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. ...
  • Kale is great for cardiovascular support. ...
  • Kale is high in Vitamin A

4-5 Fresh Pineapple Chunks-

  • Immune system support. ...
  • Bone strength. ...
  • Eye health.
  • “Pineapples can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age, due in part to its high amount of vitamin C and the antioxidants it contains,” Flores said.
  • Digestion. ...
  • Anti-Inflammatory benefits.(this is my favorite. Pineapple has Bromelain, which is responsible for most of its healthy benefits)!

Handful of Frozen Organic Blueberries-

As most of us are aware, Blueberries are one of the "super foods" which means it is one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world, containing   

  • Resveratrol--super antioxidant
  • Vitamins K,C and Manganese
  • Contains lots of fiber and has a low GI (helps maintain blood glucose levels) which I love because I have type 2 diabetes
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps ward off heart disease and cancer

Handful of Strawberries-- (it is very important that you only eat organic strawberries)

  • Help regulate blood pressure
  • Boost Immunity
  • High in Vitamin C
  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Helps reduce inflamation

Greek or Regular Yogurt or Yogurt substitute--

  • Supplies probiotics
  • Calcium, protein, Vitamin B12, B2, Potassium and Magnesium

1/2 Avocado-

  • High in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids or "Healthy Fats" which help the heart. 
  • Lowers bad Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels
  • High in Fiber
  • Loaded with antioxidants
  • May also help symptoms of arthritis

Small handful of flaxseed-

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart healthy effect.
  • Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidants.. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
  • Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.

Small handful of Hemp Seeds (or other healthy nuts)--

  • Excellent 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote cardiovascular health.
  • High in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid found in borage oil and egg yolks that has been proven to naturally balance hormones.
  • “Perfect protein” not only containing all 20 amino acids, but also each of the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce.
  • Rich in soluble and un-soluble fiber which naturally cleanses the colon and reduces sugar cravings. 

Low Carb Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

I add a few drops of Stevia for a little extra sweetness as well, or you can add a little honey. Either way, it's up to you!

 

 

 

 

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    Amazing Outdoor Wedding Ideas

    Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

    I am running this blog post again because it's been one of my most popular, and it's almost "wedding season" again! So enjoy!!!


    Who does't love a wedding? And there's something extra special about saying your vows outdoors in nature, enjoying family and friends in a more relaxed environment. I did it! Twice! Ok...now you know. My first wedding was in my parent's back yard in the beautiful Napa Valley, surrounded by vineyards. The second time, (and now my current, and final one), was at the beach in Northern California. My daughter was married in a rustic old barn. They were all beautiful ceremonies. 

    I happen to adore upcycled, repurposed, DIY, and vintage decor, so if this is for you, here are some amazing ways to make your wedding memorable with unique, rustic and very affordable ideas. I think lighting, plants and those personal touches are so important, and your creativity really makes it your own.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Take a peek at our beautiful Boho Outdoor and Wedding Collection. All at great prices and all with free shipping!

     

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    LeAnn's Hearty Stuffed, Baked Winter Squash

    Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

    I grow many different kinds of Winter Squash in my garden that keep all year so it's fun to experiment with cooking them in different ways. I had some surprises come up this year, I don't know where they came from, but they weren't the seeds I planted. They were Carnival Squash, and Kabocha. Both are medium large and round and resemble small pumpkins. They turned out to be nice surprises! They climbed the trellis beautifully and produced lots of yummy squash! Most Winter Squash are interchangeable, so use whatever you have on hand for my squash recipes. They're all rich and delicious. And this one was a huge hit with my husband, who's not as enthusiastic about veggies as I am!! 

     

    I found a similar recipe from the UK, and changed some ingredients to better suit what was in my pantry. It turned out wonderful! 

     

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large, or 2 smaller Winter Squash, whatever variety you choose
    • 3 TBSP butter
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic chopped
    • Fresh or dried rosemary, thyme, or italian blend. (about 1 tbsp)
    • 1 med red onion, chopped
    • Handful of walnuts, coarsly chopped
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream, or half and half (both work fine)
    • 1 cup cheese (whatever kind you like! I used mozzarella and parmesan blended)

    Make sure the outside of the squash is scrubbed clean. Cut the squash in half length ways and scoop out the seeds and soft fibers. Put in a roasting dish, add the chopped garlic, a pat of butter and 1/2 the chopped herbs of your choice to each cavity, then brush with a little oil, salt and pepper. (I use my hand and squish all the ingredients around the cavity so the whole squash is coated.)

    Place in an oven preheated to 375 F and bake for about 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes, until the flesh feels very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

    While the squash are roasting heat the rest of the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, add onion and remaining herbs then gently cook for 10 -15 minutes until soft, add the cream and reduce by half until the whole mixture is thickened. 

    Scoop the soft flesh and all the buttery, garlicky juices out of the squash and put into a bowl, leaving a thin layer of flesh still attached to the skin, so the squash holds its shape.

    Roughly mash the flesh with the creamy mixture and cheese, then stir in the walnuts, and season a little more with salt and pepper. Leave a little cheese to sprinkle on top!

    Spoon the filling back into the empty squash halves and scatter on the reserved cheese. To finish return the squash to the oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling. 

    Try these variations:  I steamed and chopped broccoli and added that to the mixture. You can add kale, spinach, whatever you choose.  Also, you can have a complete meal in a bowl if you want to add some chicken, sausage (sausage works excellent with this), or any meat. Get creative! It's hard to ruin such a tasty treat!

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    How to Prepare for Your Summer Garden

    Posted by LeAnn Kurtz on

    This is a rough guide with suggestions for what you can do to get ready for your spectacular Spring / Summer garden!

    Keep in mind, of course, where you live and how the weather affects you. I live in Northern California wine country, so we have mild winters and can garden year round, with different crops. Yes, it does freeze here periodically at night, but no snow, and average daytime winter temps in the 50s and 60s. So, depending where you live, you can just start these projects according to your own weather. A little bit later in colder places, earlier in warmer climates.I don't want to get too technical because gardening should be fun, and done at your leisure...as long as you get those crops planted in time for summer!

    1. Build you soil: One thing I work on all winter is composting. I have a big compost
    tumbler which is off the ground, with a crank for turning. I dump all organic kitchen scraps (veggies, fruit, egg shells, coffee grounds) in there, with the exception of meat and bones. We also have chickens, so when I clean the coop, the poop and bedding goes in too. I know this is harder in snowy areas, but there are ways to make it work. Especially if you compost in one of these bins, off the ground. Here is a great link to composting if you need suggestions. When my composter gets full, I empty it in the garden and spread it out, and just let it sit until I'm ready for planting! I manage several large loads over winter so it's ready to go in spring. 

    2. Plant your perennials: Things like trees, shrubs, vines, bare-root roses. Once it's hot, it's too late!

    3. Start your seeds indoors: If you want to get a little jump on those indispensable summer veggies like tomatoes, squash, sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, start seeds indoors under lights in late February or early March. I like to use a little larger seed starting container, the 3 1/2 inch ones instead of the tiny ones. For one thing, I don't need so many of each plant, and if you have the room, it lets them develop a better root system and grow a little bigger before transplanting. Most plants are ready to plant after about 6 weeks...but this way, if your weather isn't cooperating, you can wait a couple extra weeks without damage to your plants. For a simple garden planting guide for your area, here's The Farmer's Almanac guide, and you just type in your own zip code!

    4. Start slow developing flowers indoors: Start seeds of flowers that are slow to develop, such as lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), wax begonias, petunias, and geraniums.

    5. Direct seed colder climate vegetables: Direct-seed radishes, spinach, carrots, peas, onions, and cabbage family vegetables. Once again, use the Farmer's Almanac guide to customize for your area. 

    6. Time to cut down your cover crops: If you planted cover crops this winter, it might be time to cut them. You can chop them up and leave them to compost in the beds, or add the material to your compost pile.

    7. Start planning your garden layout: There are several online garden planners, but I think my favorite is the Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner. This is a fun and creative way to plan your garden, allowing for fences, planter boxes, flowers, shrubbery, even patios, decks, furniture, you can plan your entire yard if you want! 

    8. Work on those bigger projects like raised beds and planter boxes: There's always plenty to do in your garden, and if you want to add special touches, they can seem overwhelming. If you start early, it's more enjoyable and I find I can enjoy different aspects of gardening year round! Build or repair fencing. Put together raised bed boxes. Put up some cute bird houses. Decorate flower pots...paint rocks...make stepping stones

    There's a world of creativity for you to explore!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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