How To Make Your Own Organic Garden Fertilizer

 

Here is guest blogger Kerri with a recipe to make to your own organic garden fertilizer: 

Fertilizer Tea Time

I’m thrifty.  I have a Goodwill frequent shopper card and I most certainly love a good rummage sale.  I’m running my 1997 Subaru into the ground…and proud of it!  So, I don’t know about you, but it pains me to drop $12 or more on a bag of organic fertilizer.   I’m tired of forking over my hard earned cash to Menards!  Take a stand with me and make some fertilizer tea!

Fertilizer Tea 

Yields 3 Gallons 

Ingredients:

4 Cups Seed Meal (I used cottonseed meal)

1 Cup Dolomitic Lime

1/2 Cup Bone Meal

1/2 Cup Kelp Meal

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a double-layer large square of cheesecloth.

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Tie the corners to make a tea bag.  Pour three gallons of water into a large container (I used a 5 gallon pail that I had on hand).  Submerge the tea bag in the water ( I used a length of old pantyhose to secure the tea bag to the handle of the bucket to suspend it in the water).

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Steep for 24 hours.

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Sparingly water your garden plants, near the roots, with your finished tea.  I used a soup-ladle full for each plant.  One batch was enough to fertilize my front and back garden and a few potted annual flowers.

So far my results from application of the fertilizer tea, after one week, have been solid.

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The plants appear strong and vibrant and the eggplants have experienced a bit of a growth spurt.  I would say that the fertilizer tea is on par with any organic ready-made fertilizer you can buy at your local garden center.  Although the original recipe poster noted that this yielded only one batch, I’m steeping the tea bag again and will do a weaker fertilization this week…because I’m thrifty.

If you’re interested in making your own fertilizer tea, your best bet for securing all of your ingredients in one stop is to visit your local Stein’s Garden Center.  I first visited a Farm and Fleet ( or Farm and Barn, as I like to call it) and could find only a couple of the ingredients.  The only organic products they carried were Miracle Gro products (which I try to avoid).   I then ventured over to Stein’s and was delighted to find that not only did they have all of the ingredients I needed but they had three different organic brands! Thrilling!  I think the grand total for all ingredients was around $70.   This may seem like a lot to drop all at one time but, if I’ve done my math right, for a small garden like mine, you could be set for a couple of seasons.  You may have to purchase more seed meal.  I plan to continue to use the fertilizer tea in combination with side dressing with additional composted manure for the rest of the season.

Next time: When to harvest beets and easy ways to prepare them!

And…check out these pics from the garden this week.  A katydid came to visit!

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Shoulder Workout Routine

 

A guest post from fitness blogger Ashley:

Today was a “long” run day for me…aka three miles.  I actually decided to just go 3.1 miles to complete a 5k.  Usually on a Sunday I would do some lifting as well but I decided to just go for my run around the neighborhood, come home, do some ab work and roll out with my foam roller.

So let’s just pretend that I lifted today and I decided to workout my upper body, specifically my shoulders. There aren’t many upper body exercises you can complete without the strength and range of motion of your shoulder muscles.  The rotator cuff is comprised of four small muscles which work in conjunction with the deltoid.  The deltoid encapsulates the shoulder joint and with the rotator cuff,  they work together to stabilize the shoulder joint.

There are many ways to strengthen these muscles groups so I have picked out a few of my favorites.  I have learned that it’s just as, if not more effective for me to work with a lower weight and do more repetitions than trying to lift as heavy as I can.  The deltoids and rotator cuff muscles are small so the motions you use in these exercises will feel a bit more difficult even if you aren’t using very much weight.

I have to always preface my photos because I feel like a doofus taking them…well, having my mom take them of me.  I want to look cool and like I’ve said before smiling is so not cool in fitness photos.  So instead of smiling I tend to just smirk or look blindly into the camera and they come off looking rather ridiculous.  So just focus on the exercises and not so much on the dork performing them.

Shoulder Press (Military Press)
**See, Military presses aren’t as fun as I make them look so don’t let me be deceiving.

Start with your elbows at 90 degrees at about ear level and press them straight up from the starting point.  Lower back down to your ears and repeat.  With all of these exercises, take your time and just get in a good rhythm.  You always want to be in control of the weight and not feel like the weight is controlling you.

Lateral Raise

Start with the weights at your side with your palms facing in.  With straight arms or a slight bend in them, raise the dumbbells so they are parallel with the ground.  Your palms should be facing the ground at the top of your exercise.  Lower both dumbbells back down to their starting point and repeat.

 

Front Raise:


Start with the dumbbells in front of you facing your body just like you did for the lateral raise.  With straight arms, raise both dumbbells until they are parallel with the ground.  Just like the lateral raise, your palms should be facing down when you’re at the top of your exercise.  Lower both dumbbells back down to their starting point and repeat.

 

External Rotators

This exercise you will be seated on a bench or I suppose you could sit on the ground too.  Start with the dumbbell in your left hand and bend your left knee so your foot is flat on the bench or ground.  Using your knee as a stabilizer, start with your elbow at a 90 degree angle on the inside of your knee with your palm facing down. From there you are just going to raise the dumbbell so that your forearm is facing towards the ceiling.  Your elbow should stay at a 90 degree angle the entire time.  Lower back down to the starting point and repeat.  This is a difficult motion for your rotator cuff so use something light and do more reps.


A good workout for your shoulders would be:
Military Press: 3 set of 15 repetitions
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External Rotators: 3 sets of 25 repetitions

Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 25 repetitions
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Front Raises: 3 sets of 25 repetitions

I realize I’m repeating myself when I say use a lighter weight for higher rep workouts.  You can always decrease your reps and pick a heavier weight too.  Take a little bit longer rest in between sets if you’re going to use heavier dumbbells.

After this workout, you’ll have shoulders like boulders as my friend would say.  Have fun and remember to keep good form, good posture and always breathe while lifting.  Feel free to add in some cardio and stretching to get a well rounded workout in.  Have fun having hurt so good shoulders!

Champagne Grapes!

These little beauties are called champagne grapes not to be confused with the wine grape. They are also called Corinth grapes. They are very tiny, seedless and absolutely delicious! If you haven’t tried them in your life you are missing out! They are only available a few late July through the few weeks of August and are grown in California. They get their name of Champagne grapes because someone took a picture of them next to a glass of champagne for a magazine once. I guess you could say they are photo celebrities.

corinth grapesThis week’s grapes are coming from Three Sisters Organic Farm in California. You can read more about them on their website here. 

 

Lucinda’s Easy Banana Bread / Muffin Recipe

Banana Bread Muffins

 

The easiest banana bread (muffin) recipe, ever:

2 cups flour (reduce to 1 and 3/4 if using whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 mashed overripe bananas
1 cap full of almond extract (optional and can be replaced with vanilla)

Put into muffin pan and bake at 350 until done. No, I don’t know how long I am too much of a hot mess to watch the time! :-) When the tops look done and the toothpick comes out clean. They should look like this:

Muffin pan of banana muffins

 

Originally posted on lucindaclark.com

 

Sour Cream Rhubarb Coffee Cake

A guest post from the McDonald Family:
This summer we have had a bumper crop of rhubarb in our garden.  Some people love rhubarb and others view it as a weed and pull it out of the garden and put it right in the trash.  We love it as it is a very versatile vegetable and is a great complement to many recipes.  Recently we tried a new recipe and absolutely loved it.  This coffee cake is delicious for breakfast or anytime throughout the day!

 

Sour Cream Rhubarb Coffee Cake

 

Ingredients:
½ C sugar
½ C chopped nuts
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ C packed brown sugar
1 ½ C chopped rhubarb
½ C butter
1 egg, beaten
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 C sour cream


Directions:
Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.  For topping, mix sugar, nuts, butter and cinnamon in a small bowl until crumbly.  Cream butter in large bowl, then add brown sugar and egg and cream together.  Combine flour, salt, and sugar in another bowl.  Add to creamed mixture, alternating with sour cream.  Mix thoroughly.  Add rhubarb to mixture and mix to distribute evenly.  Pour into pan.  Sprinkle with topping and bake until knife inserted comes out clean. 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes
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Summertime Pasta Salad Recipe

A guest post from Holly: 

pasta salad

I’m going to continue with my summertime, cold, refreshing salad recipes because it’s hot outside and vegetables delivered from Brewers Organics are a plenty!

Ingredients:

penne pasta (cooked per the box directions).

4 small carrots julieened,

1 red bell pepper chopped

2-3 broccoli crowns chopped

fresh parsley

Directions:

Soak the cut vegetables in a thoroughly whisked together mixture of:

1 tsp olive oil

1 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tbs sugar

2 cups water

After soaking and stirring for about 20 minutes I poured the mixture over the pasta, added fresh parsley, stirred & photographed!  It tasted really, really good with some Annie’s Naturals Goddess dressing.  I recommend it!

Guacamole Topped Hamburgers

 

 

Guest blogger Gloria used the avocados in her recent Brewers Organics Box for guacamole topped hamburgers:

 

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A Simple Weeknight “Picnic”

I’ve been craving a burger lately and recently my brother introduced me to putting guacamole on it as well.  Well, lucky me, I had organic avocados in my Brewers Organics box this week!  And corn on the cob!  I decided that we’d start the week off with a little “picnic.”  While the burgers, corn and broccoli were cooking, (I steamed these on the stove since it’s not too hot to turn it on this week!) I sliced the avocado, scooped it out and mashed it up in a bowl.

I like to keep my guac pretty simple – I just added some lime juice (from a Brewers Organic’s lime), sea salt, pepper and garlic.  These avocados are so ripe that I like to let the flavor stand out on its own.

I topped our burgers off with some lettuce from my garden, and the guacamole on top.  It was such a fun, simple meal to start our week off just right!

Homemade Applesauce (4 easy ingredients)

The McDonald family is showing us how to make some easy homemade applesauce.  This is a family fun recipe for your organic apples delivered by Brewers Organics!

 

One of the absolute easiest things you can make with fruit is homemade applesauce.  You can make some with as little as four apples.    Generally we make it in the fall when there are apples everywhere but summertime is a great time for it too since you can refrigerate it and enjoy it cold.  It’s a great way to get small kids to eat fruit since everybody loves it!  This recipe is easy to multiply if you prefer to make a bigger batch.  Last fall I peeled 40 apples so we could can it.  We still have a few jars that haven’t been eaten yet!  Unless you are really that ambitious, just grab a few apples, sugar, cinnamon, and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

¾ cup water

¼ cup white sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

(Makes 4 servings)

 

Directions:
In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.
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Veggie Tuna Salad

 

In this post, guest blogger Ashley shares a light and healthy tuna salad recipe:

I had dinner at my mom’s house a couple nights ago.  I usually do at least once a week since we have the guilty pleasure of watching The Bachelorette.  For the record, there is not a show that goes by that we don’t contemplate the reason we watch the show since it is nothing short of ridiculous.  I guess the main reason we do is it gives us time together and something to laugh about. 

It was one of the 90 degree days that I went over there and my mom decided to make something light and delicious…tuna salad on a bed of spinach.  I really enjoyed my meal and yesterday I decided to make a batch of my own with my produce from Brewers Organics.  I would like to the share the recipe in hopes that you too can eat something light and healthy on days where the oven and stove just aren’t an option. The portions I have in the recipe are just a guideline that you can follow if you’d like.  If you like one veggie more than the other feel free to add more or remove an ingredient if you don’t like it at all. 

Veggie Tuna Salad
1 c. cucumbers, chopped
1 c. zucchini, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped 
1/2 c. red onion, chopped 
2 cans tuna, drained…I used Trader Joe’s brand tuna 
1 handful of parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 c. parmesan cheese…or any other cheese you like 
1/2 c. veganese (I used this instead of mayo but you can use whatever you’d like.  You can also substitute avocado for the mayo as well)
salt and pepper to taste

**Other optional ingredients: chopped tomato, brown rice macaroni noodles or any other veggie or spices you enjoy. 

Mix all the ingredients together and serve over spinach or any other lettuce you enjoy.   Feel free to add in a couple hours of mindless reality television while you enjoy this easy and delicious recipe.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

 

The McDonald Family is cooling off with some old fashioned strawberry lemonade and sharing their recipe with us:

Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than old fashion lemonade.  It is very easy to make and it’s even more rewarding when you use organic fruit from your Brewers Organics box.  Regular lemonade is delicious as is, however with all the fresh organic fruit available in summertime we like to add strawberries to ours.  You can even add or subtract the amount of sugar you use depending on how tart you like your lemonade.  Here is our recipe for our Summertime Strawberry Lemonade.

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed and tops cut off

Juice of 4 lemons

1/3-1/2 cup sweetener of your choice (depending on how sweet you like it and how sweet your strawberries are)

2 cups cold water

Ice

 

Directions

Blend strawberries, lemon juice and sweetener together in a blender.

Pour mixture into a pitcher with 2 cups cold water, and plenty of ice.

Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Stir again and serve!

 Yields ~ 8 servings

lemonade