Edibles

Galvanized tomato garden for one

Many people grow large vegetable gardens. I grow a small one that fits in five wash tubs.  It’s just the right size for two of us, since one of us doesn’t like tomatoes. This is a garden that a Flea Market gardener would love….I do!

Five galvanized tubs with drainage holes hold tomatoes, green onions and jalapeno peppers

Five galvanized tubs, with drainage holes, hold tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green onions and jalapeno peppers.

For a good mix, I used one bag of each kind of soil at Home Depot just like is recommended in square foot gardening. The salesman there thought I was nuts, I think. I fertilize and watch for worms….didn’t find one, the healthiest I’ve ever seen,  until the end of the season.

Black Krim is the variety I grew this year, full bodied intensely sweet and inside, red, not black!

Black Krim is the variety I grew this year, full bodied intensely sweet and inside, red, not black!

Sweet 100s

Sweet 100s by the dozens…99 maybe.

Mini harvest for one

Mini harvest for one. My husband doesn’t like tomatoes. Most of the peppers I popped into a Zip-loc bag and froze. I then would add them to soups, spaghetti sauce and casseroles.

Watch for this guy, a tomato worm. They say these, (not this one), turn into hummingbirds moths.

Watch for this guy, a tomato worm. They say these, (not this one), turn into hummingbirds moths.

Some of the tomatoes, I dried and packed in jars of olive oil. See my recipe here.  ~~ Sue

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Categories: Creative Containers, Edibles, Garden Junk, Get Galvanized, How to: Easy projects | 10 Comments

Marie’s Rust Garden

One nice thing about our Flea Market Gardening companion blog, is that we can feature some big garden projects, step by step.

This May, Marie and Randy Niemann, of Ogden, Utah, embarked on an ambitious raised bed project which totally transformed their back garden and patio.  Here’s how they did it over just the last months.

Randy was the architect and muscle for the job, and Marie, a long time member of our Flea Market Gardening Facebook page was the ‘decorator’, embellishing the beds with her collection of Flea Market junkola. Marie certainly did her part of the construction, too, even though she needs to be careful of straining her back.  Here, she says, she laid out the general plan to change their lawn into four raised beds with brick paths between. They also wanted a seating area in which to relax, barbeque and sit and enjoy the garden’s progress.

Garden plan laid out with ribbon

Garden plan laid out with ribbon

In order to complete the job, they needed to rent equipment to do the heavy work, such as this Dingo, sort of a self-propelled push tractor. They also added water spigots and drip emitters to each bed for irrigation. Randy took a week off from work to devote to the project…what a guy!

Marie had to remove all the Flea Market finds

Marie had to remove all the Flea Market finds

First each laid out the plan, Marie with tape, Randy with flags,…just get the lines straight! You might see Marie’s Mr ‘T’ back there in the corner, a scarecrow Randy and Marie made of old Model T parts. He’ll supervise the job until he’s moved to the front yard to join Neighborhood Watch.

Randy removed the dirt with the 'Dingo'

Randy removed quite a bit of dirt with the ‘Dingo’

Nine yards of gravel

Nine yards of gravel!

Filling the space with a gravel base

Filling the space with a gravel base

Since Marie and Randy live at 4500 feet, they needed deep footing to run water pipes.

Leveling the area exactly

“More prep work, the area has to be perfectly level, a good foundation makes for a good end result.”

Marie has a tip, “The main rule of thumb is to have a good solid level foundation to get good results in the brick being level. I actually invented a little tool to help in measuring the tamped down gravel. It had to be perfect! I got tired of bending down measuring the depth for Randy. So I got a piece of white PVC pipe and spray painted the bottom three and a quarter inches florescent orange. Then it was simple to walk along to check the depth against the string to see if we were high or low. Don’t know if that’ll make sense, but I was happy with my invention that saved my back!”

Starting to build the planter boxes!

Starting to build the planter boxes from Randy’s design.

One box done, four to go

One box done, four to go. The blocks inside hold the planks together securely.

All six boxes built

All six boxes built, four large, two small.

“Looks like it is going to take a lot of dirt to fill the boxes now. Marie says, “We have some we saved to fill each one part way up, then add good rich soil hopefully weed free! I have a lot of sand left over, so I’m thinking of mixing some of that with this dirt. It should be easier on my back and also everything will be within reach from each side. I’m excited to get to them filled and get busy planting seeds and rust!”

***

Boy, that was a lot of work!  We are SO tired just watching you two do the heavy lifting…..

Laying pavers all day in the heat makes a guy dog gone tired

Laying pavers all day in the heat makes a guy dog-gone tired!

Marie says, “I don’t know why Scooter and Tucker didn’t go lay on the nice soft cool grass. Silly Boys!”  We say, “Pavers? The dogs or the bricks? My thoughts exactly! You need more dogs to pave this area.”

A truck load of good dirt

A truck load of good dirt

Now for the best part….dirt!

Ready to plant

Ready to plant.

Any gardener loves this sight….only we know the satisfaction and hard work it takes to get a garden bed to this point.  A blank canvas to ‘write’ on and Marie writes in RUST!

But oops,…not quite yet…

First things first before we plant we need water

First things first before we plant we need water.

Randy and Marie installed water lines to each box with drip lines for irrigation.

What are you planning to plant, Marie?

“Mainly veggies and will for starters use containers for flowers until I get a feel for how it’ll look! Before I had one small garden and one even smaller to plant and decorate. Now I’ll have to give this some thought with five!”

Finished raised bed garden

Finished raised bed garden, complete with the table and benches that Randy also made.

Marie says, “My hubby bought an umbrella for the picnic table he made, and I told him good job on the color! It’s the exact color of rust!”

It should be easier on my back and also everything will be within reach from each side. I’m excited to get to them filled and get busy planting seeds and rust!

Marie's junkola is ready to go in.

Marie’s junkola is ready to go in.

Funnel planters with baby wave petunia's started from seed

Funnel planters with baby wave petunia’s started from seed

A little more Rust, old bike and gate. That new windmill needs to age

A little more Rust, old bike and gate. That new windmill needs to age

Randy, taking a well deserved break with a Blue Bud.

Randy, taking a well deserved break with a Blue Bud.

View from the deck, July 3rd and things are growing and filling in

View from the deck, July 3rd and things are growing and filling in.

“I’m having a blast! It makes me so happy to finally be able to grow more veggies and enjoy my rusty treasures at the same time. I know we’ll be spending a lot more time outside now!” says Marie.

Salad Garden

Salad Garden, July 11

Pepper garden

Pepper garden

“This is the pepper garden with my favorite hanging funnel planters filled with wave petunias I grew from seed.” (see the picture above)

All photos are by Marie Niemann. More detail shots in the slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: Edibles, Garden Art, Garden Junk, Garden Vignette, Gardening, Get Galvanized, My Big Garden Project, Recycling, Rusty Rust | 15 Comments

Volunteer dill peeks in window

Monster dill

This dill seeded itself next to the potted mother plant, stashed there during Fall patio cleanup. When Tractor Man isn’t tractoring, he looks out this west-facing window and the wispy feathery leaves have been growing up this early Spring to peek in at him. They don’t call it weed for nothing.

Some dill to cook with and some to dry

Some dill to cook with and some to dry

Dill is easy to grow in most every garden and it reseeds enthusiastically. You can plant it along with cucumbers but not next to tomatoes for some reason. Deer don’t bother it. It can grow in containers just fine. To cut it take the side fronds, an 8″ piece yeilds about a tablespoon of chopped dill for cooking.

To dry it, cut off the smaller fronds and discard the stems, spread it out in a shallow tray or cardboard box. Cover it with cheesecloth if you leave it outside in the shade. When it feels absolutely dry you can crumble it up and keep in a small jar.

So what can I do with my dizzying deluge of dill? Besides drying some for later use, here are two (or more) things:

Oven Cajun-dill Salmon with Brown rice
This is my salmon and tartar sauce recipe and Alton Brown’s oven brown rice, the easiest, most reliable way ever to cook brown rice! You can also add seasonings like a dry soup mix of your choice.

Brown Rice
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 T butter
1 t salt or seasoned salt
2 1/2 cups boiling water
Cover and bake at 375 for 1 hour
Salmon
Lay salmon pieces in a glass pan
Sprinkle with dried or fresh dill and Cajun seasoning
No oil or water needed
Put in the oven 20 minutes before the rice is done to serve them together.
Tartar sauce
mayonnaise
relish to taste
dill to taste

This is what I made last night to serve with roast chicken and a green salad.

Easy Cheddar-dill Bread

Easy Cheddar-dill Bread

Cheddar-dill Beer Bread
While looking for dill recipes, I found this one from Alton Brown, a great cook. This bread turned out nice and soft, was fast to make, tasted great warm and was a nice savory bread that cut easily for sandwiches. I’m impressed!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces cold beer, ale or stout (I used Fat Tire ale)
1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, optional

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with the nonstick spray and set aside.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and dill in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cheese and stir in the beer just to combine. Spread the batter, which will form into a ball, evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, if using. (I moistened the top with beaten egg and we didn’t have sunflower seeds, I used chopped walnuts)
Bake on the middle rack of the oven about 45 to 55 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm with dinner.

Additional things to add:
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or
1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, 1/2 cup chopped scallions

Rosemary-Feta
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Italian
1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Lunch for Tractor Man
Lunch for Tractor Man

OK, so looking for more dill recipes…
Potato salad
Cucumber, dill and onion salad
Sliced green onions, diced celery, carrot, and cucumbers, maybe some cubed chicken, and finely chopped dill
Chicken, veggies and rice with dill
Snipped dill in scrambled eggs
Dill ricotta cheesy spread/crepe filling
Herbed gnocchi with dill and Pecorino
Ooooh, dill “pesto”, with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice stuffed under the skin of a roast chicken

More:
Dill Cream Sauce
For veggies, chicken or fish
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1-2 T chopped fresh dill
Melt butter, remove from heat; add flour and mix until smooth. Add milk and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper.

Tuna-Dill Pasta Salad
I recreated this recipe long ago from Take Ten, a sandwich shop near my work. It sounds like a lot of dill, but in this it’s great. Season to your taste and add until it’s right for you.

1 Package small shell macaroni
2 green peppers chopped to 1/2 inch size
1 can tuna (in water)
2-4 T fresh chopped or dried dill weed
1 t Garlic Salt
½ cup Mayonaise (sometimes you need more)

Boil the pasta, drain. Pour into a big mixing bowl; add the green peppers, dill and tuna. Add Mayo….stir and refrigerate. Soooo good, especially in summer.

***

Update: By the end of May, I have harvested most of the dill fronds and the seed heads, about 6-7 inches across are still on the plant, which has continued to grow.

Dill seed heads

Dill seed heads

Harvested dill, enough for a whole lotta salmon

Harvested dill, enough for a whole lotta salmon

Categories: Edibles, Gardening, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

My galvanized wash tub garden

A year of gardening in my tub garden

These were found at an old junk yard.

These were found at an old junk yard.

I guess we at Flea Market Gardening all agree that we like galvanized anything!
These are the galvanized wash tubs I got at the old “Rust Brothers’ junk shop in Coarsegold down the road.  I don’t have a deer fence yet and the idea here is to grow a few veggies close to the house and hope the deer don’t get them.

June 12th
Three tomatoes, two peppers, Tractor Man wants green beans in one. I have each end of this area blocked off to deer, but they could come through the entry bed. I did get deer fencing to put up. I haven’t had veggies for so long because I haven’t had a deer fence, so this is fun!

i mixed all the different soils I had just like it says in the Square Foot Gardening book.

i mixed all the different soils I had just like it says in the Square Foot Gardening book.

July 1
My flea market ‘crops’ are twice the size from when planted June 12th!

Black Krimm. I had never tried this one,...it had a small yield.

Black Krimm. I had never tried this one,...it had a small yield, but it was a gift from a friend, so...

Sept 1
So, what do you put on besides tomato? For me, it’s good nutty wheat bread, 1/2 inch slices of tomato, buttery avocado slices and a bit of salt. Mayo, of course. What do you do?  I picked many peppers.  Huh?  And popped them into a zip loc bag in the freezer to use all winter.  Some I used fresh.  Did I mention that this is a garden on a SMALL scale?  Yes, if you have a small space or only want a few things for right now, easing into the whole veggie garden thing,…do try this!

I love this long row of Baby Sweet 100s

I love this long row of Baby Sweet 100s

Just one more ‘leetle babie’ tomato picture.

My 'harvest'

My 'harvest' ....I think I got about 4-5 baskets of tomatoes and hot peppers,...enough for two people, considering Tractor Man will not eat raw tomato.

Sept 12
See my cute little ‘harvest’ I have three tomatoes and two hot peppers plants still doing well in my galvanized tubs. They’re so sweet especially these.

Protected from deer?

Protected from deer?

See how, when we had to go out of town, I used my plastic outdoor chairs to block them off to any deer.  What,..am I delusional?  I saw no deer munching when we got home, so did it work….LOL!

Another basket to eat, dry or freeze

Another basket to eat, dry or freeze

The garden at the end of July

The garden at the end of July

I know some folks out there are canning and preserving, and soon I’ll be oven-drying a batch of these. I wrote a blog post recently on an easy way to do this. “How to Make Your Own Delicious Dried Tomatoes

Green onion bottoms

Green onion bottoms, 50 cents worth...

About halfway through summer, I poked in a few old green onions from the fridge,…poked ’em in around the peppers.  The green tops grew!  Read more about them here in , My green onion garden.  So I cut some of the growing tips while leaving the roots intact to grow more.  We’ve since learned you can do this with celery and garlic, too!

July 1

July 1st the onions are starting to grow

July 1st the onions are starting to grow

July 26

July 26th- The onions are shooting up!

The onions are shooting up!

The 'onion garden' in winter

The 'onion garden' in winter

Feb 15
Snow doesn’t seem to harm my winter ‘onion garden’ and I planted more this month!

Categories: Edibles, Gardening, Get Galvanized, How to: Easy projects | 7 Comments

My green onion farm

Did you know that when green onions get a bit old in the fridge you can plant them in a garden pot or veggie garden?  I did this in my galvanized wash tub garden and could cut fresh onion tops all through Autumn.

Green onion bottoms

Green onion bottoms

These are regular grocery store green onions that I plugged in next to the peppers and tomatoes in my tub garden.  These are from onions that were still plump but had some outer leaves going mushy.  In the photo above are two bunches I used for cooking ,…only the green parts.  These cost me 50 cents each!

The 'onion garden' in winter

The 'onion garden' in winter

I cut about 3 ” above the white papery part and leave the root growing. These have been cut many times and grow back this way. It looks like I could cut some more…

I’d like to try celery, too, and my friend, a non gardener pokes garlic cloves in her rose bed and gets new garlic bulbs,…like to try that as well.

March 2

my green onion ‘farm.’ These tubs were found at the close out sale at our junk shop called Rust Brothers in Coarsegold, CA. I paid $50 for six large plus 4-5 smaller galvanized tubs and containers.

My onion garden, with onions planted last fall and now in late winter

My onion garden, with onions planted last late summer and now in late winter

The bigger onions were planted next to my peppers last summer in my wash tub garden and I’ve been cutting them AND they’ve been re-growing all that time. I just planted the new small ones and will plant a Tomato in the middle there in May. We’ve heard from you all that this works with celery, so I’d like to try that next. Meanwhile we have all the onion tops we want for potatoes, salads, soups and garnishes. Yea!

Categories: Edibles, How to: Easy projects | Tags: | 4 Comments

A culinary herb basket

Chives, Italian parsley, purple sage, dill and thyme

Chives, Italian parsley, purple sage, dill and thyme fit in the basket

For a Flea Market gardener, finding a large woven basket can be useful as a kitchen garden in a small garden or where deer abound. Sometimes having a basket of herbs close by the kitchen door, will discourage deer who tend to keep their distance. To make the basket last as long as possible fit a piece of heavy black plastic, with some drainage holes cut, inside before adding soil.

Chives are cut, then grow and cut again until the flowers are allowed to bloom, also edible!

Chives are cut, then grow and cut again until the flowers are allowed to bloom, also edible!

Thyme, chives, parsley and sage are the most used herbs in my cooking, just the right amount for this basket. These colorful and pungent chive flowers found themselves in a salad, surprising my guests a bit. I particularly like to grow chives and Italian parsley because they come back each year in my Zone 7 garden.

Since this basket has been sturdy enough to leave outside for several years, when I move it, I’m careful to hold it from the bottom. I know it will eventually wear out, so I’m looking for replacements and keep these sturdy baskets on my mental list when going to thrift shops and Flea Markets.

Roasted Herb Potatoes Cut red or white potatoes in 6-8 wedges each. Mix 1 T olive oil for every three potatoes with a mixture of chopped rosemary, chives, thyme, parsley and sage. Add potatoes and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes. I stand the potatoes on their skins, or mix them halfway through.

Categories: Edibles, Gardening, How to: Easy projects, Spring gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blue bottles and beer bread

Bud Light Platinum in new blue bottles Photo by Nancy K Meyer

Bud Light Platinum in new blue bottles Photo by Nancy K Meyer

The new availability of light beer sold in the very desirable blue bottles adored by Flea market and junk loving gardeners is causing some commotion.  Sunglass wearing, non beer drinkers are now slinking into the grocery store to purchase the bottles and then are faced with the dilemma of whether to dump or not dump the beer.  A flurry of recipes including beer as an ingredient has ensued.

Nancy K. Meyer from Iowa says, “I know blue bottles are not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those of us who ♥ them~~~look what I found at the grocery store this morning—beer in blue bottles, can and tin. (Honey, can I bring you a beer ???)

George Weaver, another reader muses, ” I wonder if the Anheuser Bush research team had the Flea Market Gardeners in mind when they thought up their marketing strategy on this one. I think this is all the proof needed to show that Facebook is selling our posts to market researchers.”

Blue Bud bottles

Blue Bud bottles-Kirk Willis

As for using the blue bottles in the garden, Kirk Willis, says, “Yes…the labels do come off. A bit tricky. Soak them in hot water, and then start peeling. I used an SOS pad to gently take off the glue…used WD40 on some instead of the SOS pad. They look so cool with just the blue, minus labels.”

Now Tractor Man, my hubby, doesn’t drink beer,…he’d be stunned if I offered him one…I do make beer bread though,…the yeast in the beer makes it rise and you can add cheese or herbs.

Cheddar-Dill beer Bread, lunch for Tractor Man

Cheddar-Dill beer Bread, lunch for Tractor Man

Cheddar-Herb Beer Bread
While looking for herb recipes, I found this one from Alton Brown, a great cook. This bread turned out nice and soft, was fast to make, tasted great warm and was a nice savory bread that cut easily for sandwiches. I’m impressed!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces cold beer, (your blue bottle beer, of course)
1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, optional

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with the nonstick spray and set aside.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and herbs in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cheese and stir in the beer just to combine. Spread the batter, which will form into a ball, evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, if using. (I moistened the top with beaten egg and we didn’t have sunflower seeds, I used chopped walnuts)
Bake on the middle rack of the oven about 45 to 55 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm with dinner.

Additional things to add:

1 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh
thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives,
1/2 cup chopped scallions

Other combinations
-Rosemary-Feta
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

-Italian
1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

***

Like George Weaver says, “If these blue bottles are this much of a success with people that don’t drink, Just think what the beer drinkers will think of them.”  Keep posted for ideas for using these blue bottles. ~~ Sue

Categories: Blue in the Garden, Edibles | Tags: , | 15 Comments

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