3.30.2012

Step Into My Garden.


A little over a month ago, my husband and I decided we wanted to start a garden, but there was one major problem - we had absolutely no space for one. Our courtyard is all stamped concrete... and too small to build a raised bed. (Not to mention we are renting, so building something wasn't really an option.) BUT we were in luck! A graduate from our university had started a "secret garden" in a little hidden corner of our campus about a year ago, and since graduating last Spring, it had been pretty much abandoned. We were lucky to find out about this little plot and were more than happy to give it a little TLC to get it back up and running! 

My husband mixing the compost into the soil!

While we were preparing the garden - clearing the grass & weeds, adding compost to the soil, and waiting for the weather to warm up a bit - we decided to get a little head-start at home! We set out to get our seeds and also purchased this seed starter. It was a great choice and worked perfectly to get our little veggies growing at home! An added bonus was that we were able to bring it in at night, since it was still pretty cold.

We planted tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and snap beans!

Look at them grow! This was only 9 days after planting!


Once everything was big and strong enough to survive the outdoors, (We might have been a bit too overprotective and worried. Ha!) we loaded them up in the car and headed to their new home!

Ready to be separated and put in the ground!
Snap beans! I can't wait to eat these!
Getting my hands dirty!
Our homemade trellis for our snap beans!
Just 3 pieces of wood and string!
Since planting this garden, it has become a great little "retreat" for me between classes. I could spend hours there - doing who knows what - but it is so quiet and relaxing. I water, pluck at things that shouldn't be there, trim leaves, and stare. =) For now, this is just a start. We both dream of a much bigger garden - on our own land, of course - but for now, we are happy to start small and learn as we go! 

Now we just wait... to eat! 
*ATH*

3.16.2012

Addicted to Sprouting!



Well, I've developed a new addiction - but one that is good for me! My husband and I have always loved sprouts - alfalfa, broccoli, onion, and many more - and agree that a sandwich just isn't a sandwich without them. Although they aren't necessarily expensive, we knew growing our own would save a little money, plus, it would just be WAY more fun! So, we hit up our local health food store, bought some organic alfalfa and broccoli seeds, watched a couple of YouTube videos on "how to sprout" and off we went!




Day (or night) 1: Soak 2 Tbsp seeds in water for 8 hours or over night.


Day 2: Drain the water out of the jar, rinse, then drain again. Shake the seeds so that they are spread out evenly in the jar. Place at a diagonal to keep draining. Repeat the "rinse and drain" every 8 hours (or so). 


Day 3: Continue to rinse and drain. The seeds should have little tails by now!


Day 5: Still rinsing and draining... still growing!


Day 6: Dump the sprouts into a bowl of water and mix around so that the hulls float to the top. Use a spoon (unless you know of a better way!) to scoop them out of the bowl. That's it! They're done!

The broccoli sprouts are my favorite of the two. They are SO yummy! I am on a schedule (lets just see if I can stick to it) to start a new batch every Sunday, so I will have new sprouts every Friday! 

I hope you will give sprouting a try! They will change your sandwich world! =) 
*ATH* 

3.13.2012

A Change for the Better: 6

Soap Nuts!


This is a really exciting change for me! A few weeks ago, I began running low on my normal liquid laundry detergent and knew that this needed to be my next area of change. I hopped on the computer and started doing some research on natural laundry soaps. One of the first things that came up were "Soap Nuts". I had NEVER heard of these before and was quite intrigued! One thing led to another and I ended up watching a YouTube review by a woman who had been using these soap nuts and was doing a giveaway! (Sponsored by the company Greener Living) I usually never try for things like this, but this time I thought "why not?" Long story short, WE WON! I couldn't believe it! About a week and a half later, this showed up at my door for FREE!



The soap nuts come in two different forms: the nuts & liquid. I won the liquid version, but will be purchasing the nuts after I run out of this. (I believe the nuts are a bit less expensive and can be boiled down to liquid form if desired.) 




Something that was a huge change from the beginning was the amount of detergent needed. I was using about 4 oz. per load of my old liquid laundry detergent and am now using 1 oz. per load of my liquid Soap Nut detergent! (HE washers only need 1/2 oz.!) *We also use a bit of Borax as a natural laundry booster. 



One benefit to the liquid version of the soap nuts is that it has so many uses! Here are a few examples:
- All Purpose Cleaner
- Glass Cleaner
- Shampoo (for people & pets!)
- Insect & Mosquito Repellant
- Jewelry



Above is the nut form that I will be ordering in the future! There are many other brands to choose from, but I am really happy so far with Greener Living. They are even in the process of changing their packaging to being plastic free! 

Well, I'm off to do some more laundry! =) 
*ATH*