Tuesday, April 27, 2010

66 Things You Can Can Grow At Home: In Containers, Without a Garden From apples and figs to bananas and guavas -- and hops.

By Rachel Cernansky

Growing your own food is exciting, not only because you get to see things grow from nothing into ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, but you also don't have to worry about the pesticides they might contain, and you definitely cut down on the miles they—and you—have to travel.

As it turns out, with pretty minimal effort, anyone can be a gardener. My boyfriend and I are essentially first-timers this season and so far have the beginnings of strawberries peeking out, tomatoes are on their way, the basil's about ready for a big batch of pesto, and once the last frost hits, the peppers, kale, spinach, chard, and mesclun will be on their way, too. All on a tiiiny little terrace (with the help of a little DIY carpentry).

If you're up to the challenge—and it really isn't much of one—growing your own food can be so rewarding. And so much cheaper! Just be sure to choose the right planter or container, learn how to maintain it properly, and go find yourself some seeds! (Or starter plants.)

Here's a starter list of all the crazy things even urban gardeners, without space for a garden, can grow at home.

Tree fruits - including apples

1. Apples can be grown in a container; you can also grow them on the balcony or other small space using a technique called espaliering.
2. Kumquats
3. Avocados (plenty of extra tips online if you search)
4. Blackberries
5. Blueberries (sometimes helpful videos are available online)
6. Pomegranate
7. Cherries
8. Figs
9. Pears

Citrus fruits

Citrus trees in particular are said to be good for beginning gardeners and are easy to grow indoors, so don't let inexperience or lack of outdoor space stop you from enjoying fresh-picked, hyper-local fruit.
10. Dwarf oranges
11. Grapefruit
12. Tangerines
13. Meyer lemons
14. Limes

Tropical fruits

Tropical fruits can also be surprisingly easy to grow indoors, even in non-tropical climates. Such as...

15. Bananas (look for container gardening tips online)
16. Pineapple
17. Papaya
18. Guavas (several varieties)

The real surprises

19. Hops—yes, as in the "spice" ingredient in beer. Turns out they're easy to grow!
20. Aloe Vera
21. Strawberries
22. Tea (well, herbal tea)
23. Quinoa!

The non-surprises

24. Tomatoes
25. Summer squash
26. Other squashes, like acorn and pumpkin
27. Hot Peppers
28. Sweet peppers
29. Cucumbers


30. Small cantaloupe
31. Jenny Lind melon (an heirloom cantaloupe)
32. Golden Midget Watermelon


Just about any herb grows well indoors—just be sure that if you're going to do any container-sharing, you do your research first about which herbs co-habitate well together. (Some will hog water, for example, and leave the others dried out.)

33. Basil
34. Oregano
35. Parsley
36. Rosemary
37. Chives
38. Catnip
39. Thyme
40. Sage
41. Parsley

Leafy Greens

42. Kale
43. Mesclun greens
44. Spinach
45. Swiss chard
46. Lettuces (plenty of options there, from micro-greens to head or loose-leaf)
47. Mustard greens
48. Collard greens
49. Arugula

Root Vegetables

50. Carrots
51. Beets
52. Potatoes

Other healthy-sounding stuff

53. Sprouts
54. More sprouts: mung bean and lentil sprouts
55. Wheatgrass
56. Kohlrabi
57. Turnips
58. Rutabagas
59. Celeriac
60. Parsnips
61. Jerusalem Artichoke
62. Sugar snap peas
63. Rhubarb (not ideal in a container, but it can work)
64. Mushrooms (again, more tips online if you look)
65. Pole Beans
66. Aaaand... asparagus, although some disagree that it does well in a container. Try it if you're ok with a risk!

Bonus 67: You can grow your own loofah, too, but you'd need a garden rather than a container for that.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garden and stuff

Well the garden is going in slowly but surely, I am not too thrilled with all the ticks but to be fair I don't think I ever noticed them before. I'm not sure where I thought they lived (other than on the dog and cats) but turns out it is in the dirt. Thanks to PW's answer the other night, we have begun a daily tick check (including the dog). But, I digress, the garden will be needing an additional box as we have filled the first. Since my energy has begun to return we will hopefully get it done over the next few days.

In other news, we have finally bitten the bullet and got a milking machine. The barn installation happens today and the rest of the logistics worked out from there. There seems to be so much to do, we have to also build something to house the new electric fence charger as it is not connected in the barn. This would make life a whole lot easier as I could then relocate the stanchion and the dairy cows. Those beef cows are vicious at feeding time.

The few remaining coop birds have been shut out of the coop at this time in hope of relocating them to the barn, to be fair it was only 1 hen and 4 roosters living there. The chicks need to be relocated and the coops seems ideal. In another week the new chicks should hatch, hopefully providing replacement layers. Ms Broody is doing great, she has even stopped pecking at Dh's hand when he tries to feed and water her. :)

I woke up at 4 this morning and had planned a whole other blog but it is still being refined I think. More to come soon :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chatting with PW

Barnes and Nobles hosted a "Meet Ree Drummond" chat on facebook tonight and it was incredible. First of all, the "chat" was actually done via the discussion board and so it was impossible for her to answer questions as they were coming, so there was a bit of a lag. That is to be expected and believe me she had a HUGE undertaking. There were so many questions being asked in such a short period of time I could hardly keep up. She must have a killer refresh rate on her computer. She was very funny, as always and a pleasure to spend the time with. She even answered one of my questions, let me tell ya that felt like a big accomplishment. LOL!!! I doubt her book tour will make it to Wichita or Ponca City, so I'll have to catch her Stillwater book signing. If you are one of the few people who haven't heard of PW, take some time to visit her website. I promise there is something for everyone.

*image from Reedrummond.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quick Note

The 1st trimester yuckies are still upon us ;( The toddlers are running a fever and flu like symptoms are running rampant in the house ;( I had my 1st prenatal appt and will have a sono to check the due date of the baby. HG is really enjoying reading everything in sight, it is really wonderful to watch. School is getting back to a more normal schedule again and the results of EE's re-evaluation will be available shortly. I cannot believe how many appointments have come up in the few short days I have been home again. Well, off to try to get dinner going and get everyone back to bed.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Bubba is hilarious, he totally gets the concept of fetch, however I do believe this game should be renamed retrieve. He loves getting the bone but he does not want to give it back, lol! The kids have a blast trying to get the bone back and have now started tying the bone to a string for extra fun. He is such a good dog for putting up with it, lol.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The broody hen

About a week ago we had a huge pile of eggs in the barn freezer so I asked Dh to put so hay on them and allow one of the hens to sit on them. Sure enough we got a volunteer :) The beautiful buff orpington has been setting on "her" eggs since then and Dh takes her food and water. We went to check for other eggs and sure enough the other chickens are laying next to her, lol. There are a few hens laying on the ground behind the freezer so Dh went to check, to his surprise there was another hen laying on some eggs. He reached around her to get the other eggs only to find that she was stiff, we have no idea how long she had been there :( We are keeping an eye on our other broody girl, we have no intention of loosing her, and are very interested to see how many eggs will hatch :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Bubba in the family tree

Well we finally have a Bubba in the family. We have given up on outdoor dogs and got a nice indoor pup, they (previous owner) called him Bubba Ray :) He is house broken, crate trained and loves to play fetch, the kids are smitten. He reminds us so much of Sammy . . . we just love him to bits.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The nice part about doing taxes in a small farming town is that you gt to talk to lots of farmers. Today I was explaining the challenges I was having trying to find someone to seed my pasture, given that every farm around me is so huge. It is amazing how many acres these families are in control of, but I digress. Mr Farmer asked about the number of cows I had, then scratched his head. He had 2 suggestions: 1. in February go out and broadcast the seed during the time that the soil is warming and cooling continually, and 2. go out and broadcast some seed now and then run the cows over the area so that they can plant it for me. :) I really like this guy, I may have to pick his brain again in future. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quite the Pickle

I was chatting with DH after he came home from the store and wouldn't you know it, the darned Pickle went ahead and gave birth :) We've got a Gherkin, lol :) Mama and baby appear to be doing very well, though I wouldn't know since I am stuck at work and am getting all my information second hand via messenger and pictures, lol. Looks like I will be leaving sooner than I planned :)

more pics to come, DH has a really slow connection at home and the bulk uploader is taking forever to come up. :(

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Well hello Dolly

Dolly our Hereford gave birth yesterday to a beautiful red heifer. Mother and baby are doing wonderful, Dolly doesn't even mind us coming around the baby. The girl is to be called Baby Doll :) Dolly has wonderful long teats, that looks so full, lol. LJ is excited to have some more company around his size :)

Pickle should go any day now, her udder is so tight that the teats look like nubs on the end. We are of course hoping for a heifer but have chosen names for either sex just in case, Gherkin for a girl, Vlasik for a boy, LOL!!!

This development means that we will have to get Quinn to the butcher in the next couple weeks, as we do not want him to breed back our beef cows. Hopefully he has bred Buttercup by now, we will know soon enough.

DH started his new job yesterday, we were blessed to have a dear friend to watch the kids as they can only train him on the morning shift. Work is winding down for me, though there may still be work past the 15th, I am excited at the possibility as it means I may be able to get the Angus bull I need ;)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations

WASHINGTON- Sidestepping a stalled Senate confirmation vote, yesterday President Obama recess-appointed Islam Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative. Dr. Siddiqui's nomination was held up in the Senate and was opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 80 other environmental, small-farm, and consumer groups. More than 90,000 concerned citizens contacted the White House and Senate to oppose the nomination. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws.

"Dr. Siddiqui's confirmation is a step backward," said Tierra Curry, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. "His appointment ensures the perpetuation of pesticide- and fossil-fuel-intensive policies, which undermine global food security and imperil public health and wildlife."

As undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Siddiqui oversaw the development of the first national organic labeling standards, which allowed sewage sludge-fertilized, genetically modified, and irradiated food to be labeled as organic before public outcry forced more stringent standards. Siddiqui has derided the European Union's ban on hormone-treated beef and has vowed to pressure the European Union to accept more genetically modified crops.

CropLife America, formerly known as the National Agricultural Chemicals Association, lobbies to weaken the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, claiming that pesticides are not pollutants because of their intended beneficial effect and that pesticides positively impact endangered species. The group has lobbied to allow pesticides to be tested on children and to allow the continued use of persistent organic pollutants and ozone-depleting chemicals. It also launched a petition asking Michelle Obama to use pesticides in the organic White House garden and fought county initiatives in California banning genetically modified foods.

Read the Full Article

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

He is risen! On this beautiful spring day we are thankful. The children enjoyed the local easter egg hunt this weekend, though I have ached too much to get out and about. The weather has been really lovely, we have opened the windows and let the cool breezes sweep through the house. A pretty yellow adorns the trees at the front of the house and the green replaces the brown all over the yard and fields.

Yesterday Quinn mysteriously got out and got all bully :( He snorted, banged his head and horns into the telephone pole and pawed the ground menacingly at Dh and the truck. He was eventually rounded up, but not before making his way to the house and mooing at the kids and I through picture window. He is officially 2 now so it is a bit to be expected as he is half jersey. I had hoped to keep him till Mag calved but it looks like he will be off to the freezer sooner. I will call the locker on Monday and see when I can get him in.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moments ~ Emerson Drive

I've needed this song so often. Enjoy :)

He got it!

As you know, my job is soon coming to an end with the upcoming April 15th tax filing deadline. Dh has been offered and has accepted a job not too far from home that will continue to keep the farm running. It's 3rd shift but he's worked it before, he can apply for a shift transfer after 6 months. :) The job comes with benefits and the ability for the children and I to go to the wellness center at a very low cost :) We are very excited!!