Lola's Victory Garden

Monday, March 30, 2009

Excellent Gardening, Home and Nature Resource

If you're itching to get in the garden and start to work, there is an excellent resource you don't want to overlook. That is The GardenWeb Forums.

If you ever have an questions about your lawn, plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, fruit and vegetable plants, this is the place to have your questions answered by other avid gardeners.

There are also Home Site Forums on the GardenWeb. There you can get all your home repair, remodeling, plumbing, you name it, type questions about your home answered. Some of the people on the site are professionals, others are homeowners just like you, trying to take care of their own homes and do it themselves.

There is also Nature.Net where you can have your questions answered on anything having to do with nature. Want to get your questions answered about Butterflies or Hummingbirds, click on each.

Lola's Victory Garden

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuff Times Call For Tightwad Measures

At one point I had the 4 Tightwad Gazette books, but I seemed to have lost them when I moved. Last year I purchased II and III used online. You can find them for as little as a few dollars on Ebay, or You can probably also find them at your local public library.

Each book offers valuable tightwad tips, strategies and recipes. One strategy that is a real money saver is using meat as a condiment, rather than the main part of the meal. Kind of like homemade Hamburger Helper to stretch the budget. (Think of Spaghetti with Meat Sauce or Beef Stroganoff.) I try sneaking in this strategy once in awhile and am successful, depending on what the dish is. My family easily threatens mutiny when I go to extremes.

Lola's Victory Garden

What Herbs To Plant?

Basil – For pasta sauce, pesto, in home pickled foods.
Dill – For sauces and in home pickled foods.
Cilantro – I use this all the time for Indian dishes and in Tomatillo Salsa and Tomato Salsa.
Catnip – Just a little for Sophie. She's really funny on kitty krack.
Mint – Great in teas and adult beverages. (Must be planted in it's own container or it will take over.)
Parsley – For salads, salsas.

Lola's Victory Garden


What Vegetables To Plant?

I started to select what I will be planting this year. I will be starting the majority of these from seeds.

San MarzanoTomato – Great for making pasta sauce. Since last year I only got 4 quarts of sauce from my garden, I will be planting as many of these as I can to increase the yield.
Roma Tomato – Paste tomatoes, great for sauce.
Beefsteak Tomato – Great for sandwiches.
Early Girl Tomato – Early ripening tomatoes. I will plant a few of these so that we can begin enjoying tomatoes fresh from the garden as soon as possible.
Jalapeno – Great for Tomato Salsa, Tomatillo Salsa, in chili and for use in other home canned pickled items to add a little heat.
Yellow Banana Peppers – Great pickled and in salads.
Green Bell Peppers – Great for stuffed peppers, in salads.
??? Peppers – My son picked out a variety because they are extra spicy. I believe they are chili peppers and I will likely be drying them in my food dehydrator for later use.
Zucchini – Great for shredding and freezing for Zucchini Bread. Also great for Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles. Also great canned with tomatoes.
Green Beans – Awesome pickled with Dill or Basil. My kids and I could eat these all day.
Cabbage – I want to try canning my own Cole Slaw this year.
Eggplant – I want to try canning Caponata. I love it and it's so expensive at the grocery.
Tomatillos – I made some awesome Tomatillo Salsa last year and I would really like to try growing my own if I can find seeds locally.

My partner also wants to plant melons, not sure what kind.

That’s a pretty good start. Most of the items can be started by seed or sewn directly into the ground after the last frost. I may add some root vegetables like Kohlrabi, Turnips, Parsnips and salad greens depending on how large we expand the garden area. My priority is lots and lots of tomatoes so that I can put up as much pasta sauce and salsa as I can so that I don't have to buy as much canned tomatoes and paste at the grocery store.

Lola's Victory Garden


Sunday, March 22, 2009

What Is Victory Gardening All About?

I think our older generation is more familiar with the term "Victory Garden". Most people think the term originated during WWI when food shortages were common. Civic leaders wanting to cultivate patriotism and prepare the country for hard times promoted the idea of planting your own garden. The term actually dates back to the 1600’s and is from a book, "Victory Garden" by Richard Gardner.

Sometimes I think times couldn’t be tougher than today, but then I wasn't around for those food shortages. People are losing their homes left and right. Tent communities are springing up in some areas. People’s cupboards and refrigerators are bare.

The Victory Garden concept is one whose time has come again. You don’t need a large plot of land for your garden. My very first garden was on the porch of my apartment back in 1989. I attached long planter boxes to the railing and planted herbs, beans, peas and peppers. I purchased several large planter boxes and tomato cages and grew my own tomatoes.

You can start your own plants from seeds, or purchase seedlings from your local garden center. Starting your own plants is easy and inexpensive. I’ve got an upcoming post on how to create your own biodegradable newspaper pots. It couldn’t be easier and cheaper. Start saving your newspapers now. All you need is newspapers, seed starting mix, trays and an inexpensive florescent shop light. You don’t need to buy expensive grow lights. Regular florescent lights work just fine.

Even if you think it may be a little late to get started, it’s really never too late. Last year I got a very late start and still had a bountiful garden. I had plenty to share.

Last year I used cinder blocks to partition off an area for my garden. This year I will be expanding my garden to include even more vegetables, many of which I plan on canning. I'm even going to try my hand at upside down gardening.

I began canning last year. My first efforts were strawberry jam, blueberry jam, blueberry rhubarb jam, raspberry jam and blackberry jam. Then I branched out to pickled items, bread and butter zucchini pickles, pickled asparagus, pickled green tomatoes and pickled okra. I also canned asparagus, tomato sauce and tomatillo salsa. I even canned meatloaf. Yes you can! And it’s good too!

Welcome to my Victory Garden.

Lola's Victory Garden