Gardening? Try planting only edibles.

1431552893885 Two years ago I read an article that stated if your kids help you plant seeds, watch a vegetable grow then they’ll eat the vegetables. Issue #1 when we planted the carrot seeds – nothing appeared. Issue #2 I had no idea how, what and where to plant things. Issue #3 when something did grow, it was infested with bugs. At that point I brought in the professionals – Seattle Urban Farm Company

WP_20150514_16_33_07_ProThey built a 2’x14′ planter out the front with a cold frame for winter planting, changed the soil in the back vegetable patch, planted seedlings, fertilized and maintained the vegetable gardens. At the same time they educated me in urban gardening. I learned what to plant, how to plant and when to harvest. For example, how to thin out carrots, where to place your tomatoes so you don’t shadow your other vegetable plants, top your snap peas, and how to deal with the bugs and crows! I can’t say enough great  things about this company. Throughout this past winter – I never needed to buy broccoli or kale because I could harvest it from December until March. I’m also growing garlic and it will be harvested in July  (I’ll have enough until Christmas)! As soon as Spring arrived here in Seattle – the urban farmer was out – planting snap peas, bok choy, new broccoli, kale, carrots, beets, potatoes, spinach, lettuce and cabbage. Recently the tomatoes went in. The company has a variety of maintenance and assistance programs. If you’re in the Seattle area I highly recommend you call for an estimate. If you’re out of the area – they have written a fabulous book Food Grown Right in Your Backyard
It’s very informative and easy to digest. After reading it, I was able to decrease the maintenance plan and harvest the vegetables timely and correctly to encourage new growth to have a second and third harvest of that plant.

Last spring, I tried planting only edible plants, since my girls eat us out of fruit within a day of buying it. It was a success! I was able to use all of my herbs throughout the year and my blueberries and strawberries all came back. I had my first strawberry harvest today. If you’re in the USA,  Dutch Gardens has a fabulous online catalog and offers unique fruit planting. I have strawberries that are designed for hanging baskets and blueberries for pots. They do have a variety of other perennials which you won’t find at your local nursery. A secret with Basil – put it indoors in a glass of water and it will grow throughout the year. You can have fresh basil all year round.

Another little secret is copper Slug and Snail Tape.
You can also use copper pennies (Canadians can use the old penny) throughout your pots, but the tape is great if you have a large box.

The slug tape stuck to the vegetable box.

The slug tape stuck to the vegetable box.

Happy gardening.

How to get veggies into your kids! (Juice Recipes)

Click here to view just the Juice Recipes

It was just over a year ago that I started juicing (the girls were two). I have two very picky eaters and ones that don’t eat veggies. Yes I did try to expose them 15 times to the same vegetable, yes I did give them veggies to gnaw on when they were babies, and yes I made fun shapes and designs out of vegetables. I even put in a small vegetable garden – had the girls choose their vegetable, plant the seeds, water the seeds but the only ones they would eat would be the peas. After this – I felt like a failure of a mother because I thought I’m not getting my kids to eat vegetables. They will grow up not eating and appreciating the value of vegetables. I hated meal times. I still do. To this day I still carry the Peter Rabbit Organics, Pea, Spinach and Apple Puree, 4.4-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 10) (vegetable ones only) but it makes me feel somewhat better.

Then I was introduced to juicing when I ate at the Willows Inn at Lummi Island. My first juice was carrot, then came lemon balm! Wow! I asked the server what was in it. They specifically told me that it was just fresh carrots for the carrot juice and the lemon balm had some simple syrup (dissolved sugar). All I was thinking about was if I thought this was awesome the girls would like it. (I had tried various green juices before but I couldn’t stomach them, they really didn’t taste great no matter how you tried.) So I decided I’d buy a juicer and start to find juices that I liked and not the ones that are: good for you plug your nose kind. It worked. The girl’s love the juices listed below and drink one every day and I feel like a star.

First you need a juicer, not a blender because the juicer strains out a lot of the pulp. Yes even a Vitamix doesn’t work as well as a juicer. I have a Breville BJE510XL Juice Fountain Multi-Speed 900-Watt Juicer and it’s easy to clean (dishwasher proof) I highly recommend to rinse it right after use, so no pulp is caught in the in-between spots.

How I introduced the girls to juices: I started with carrot juice (its sweet), put them in shot glasses (or use fun new glasses) and called it Super Juice and said this will make them see better and possibly see better in the dark. (Ok I know that studies show this is not the case but it got them to drink it) I also tell them it helps them grow, and builds brain cells to help them learn new things.

So here are some juice recipes that my girls, husband and I love AND get the veggies in. I received a few of these recipes from an avid juicer, plus another twin mom (KG) who puts her juice in a martini glass! I’m still on the search for a broccoli juice. My girls won’t go near broccoli even though I’ve called them trees, had dips for them etc. I did install a green house in hope that if the girls water and take care of the vegetables especially the broccoli they will want to eat what they’ve grown. Fingers crossed.

Juice Recipes

1. Carrot Juice
Carrots – purchase carrots at a farmers market or choose the organic ones in the grocery store that still have their stems on them. Do not buy bagged carrots. Depending on how many people you’re serving cut up 8-10 carrots. Clean the carrots, de-stem, juice and serve. If your kids have texture issues – you can strain it using a strainer over the cup.

2. Beet, Strawberry, Apple, Ginger Juice (Purple Super Juice)
1 beet – cleaned, raw, de-stemmed.
1 cup of strawberries
1 honey crisp apple
Thumbnail of fresh ginger. I put the ginger with the apple when I juice

3. Spinach, Blueberry, Apple, Lemon (Sour Brown Super Juice)
2 heaping handfuls of Spinach (I put this in the juicer with the apple)
1 honey crisp apple
¼-1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
½ peeled lemon

4. Kale, Red Pepper, Cantaloupe, Mango New Favorite
6 stems of Kale (juice it with the cantaloupe)
1 red pepper
1 cup – 1 ½ cup of ripe cantaloupe
1 ripe mango peeled and pit removed

5. Sweet Potato, Red Pepper, Beet, Carrot, Apple, Orange (Pink Super Juice)

Quantity of juice from ingredients 27.5oz

Quantity of juice from ingredients 27.5oz

Ingredients of Pink Super Juice

Ingredients of Pink Super Juice

½ sweet potato (yams)
2 carrots
½ red pepper (picture shows 1/4 because I used it in dinner last night)
1 beet
1 honey crisp apple
1 orange (a great way to use up dry oranges)

Of course when the girls are sick I grab a case of oranges from Costco and juice oranges.

*New Juice 06/19/2014 from a colleague of my husbands. This juice is from “The Big Book of Juices” by Natalie Savona

6.  Beet, Carrot, Celery, Apple, Orange, Ginger (Pinkalicious Juice)

1 beet
2 carrots (I did 3 carrots)
1 stick of celery
1 apple
1 orange
1 small slice of ginger

I will update my list as soon as I have a broccoli one! Please feel free to send me your favorite juice recipes and I’ll try the out and post if successful. Enjoy juicing.