Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Lasagna Gardening!

 Oct. 9, 2020

I love gardening!  About twenty years ago I read a book about lasagna gardening.  I have been gardening this way since.  It is so easy and produces such great results.  The best part of it is that there are virtually no weeds to pull or hoe.  I am running this past you gardeners this fall with the thought that you may try it come spring.  

The following are pictures of a flowerbed I built on the edge of our drive way and our garden that was built on top of grass. Both are several years old.  

To build a lasagna garden:

1.  Pick your spot to build it.  It can be on top of lawn or driveway.  Just needs to have dirt below it.

2.  Lay down cardboard to cover the area of your garden.  Make sure all the area is covered.  You can also use newspapers to fill in holes where the cardboard doesn't cover.  You may wet this down if you want.  That will help to keep it in place but not a must.

3.  Begin layering your materials.   Use manure, straw, leaves, hay, and/or grass clippings.  A variety of these is good. If you use straw there may be some wheat come up but it pulls very easily when it is about six inches tall.  I don't worry about it until then. There may also be some weeds come from the manure, but again they will pull easily. I particularly like to use plenty of leaves. So begin bagging some now and keep them until spring when you will build your garden.  In between layers you are supposed to put peat moss.  I am usually too cheap to do this but I know that some of it is necessary so I buy a big bag of it when making a garden and layer it in.  

4.  I like to build a new garden about a month before I plant so it has a little time to settle.  I water it with a sprinkler a little every few days.  But if you don't get it built ahead of time don't worry.  Just build it and plant.  You can sprinkle your seeds in the garden or put in plants.  Be sure to sprinkle it often to let it compost down and keep your seeds/plants moist.  After the plants come up I lay several sprinkler hoses in the garden connected to a three way splitter to water the garden through the summer.  

5.  I use this garden then again year after year.  In the spring I usually put on another layer of old composted manure and some more leaves.  

6.  The soil on these gardens stays very soft.  The petunias in the picture all came back from seed from last years petunias.  I leave the dead plants on the garden through the winter.  This protects the soil from blowing away when we have big wind storms.  Then when April rolls around, I take the old dead plants off of the garden and sprinkle the garden with water a few times.  This drives the old flower seeds into the soil, gets them moist, and allows them to sprout.  Many flowers will come back to enjoy the following summer doing it this way.  Again, I don't work up the soil but I often add a new light layer to it. 

Give it some thought - prepare ahead this fall by gathering leaves - and give it a try come spring! 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

My secrets on how to make great, quick, easy brownies


Some years ago I had a friend tell me how to make the best ever brownies.  I'll share with you what she told me.....

Buy brownie mixes when they are on sale at the store!! Then make them according to the directions - EXCEPT put in an extra egg for each box of mix.   Most boxes have directions on them that tell you how to make cake-like brownies.  This is what we are doing.  I usually make two boxes at a time and put them in a 9x13 pan to cook them in.  That way they are nice and thick. Brownies made this way stay soft and delicious for a long time. If you are only making one box put the mix in a smaller pan. 

Other hints:

Oil only the bottom of the pan before you cook them.  

When you think the brownies are done, test them with a toothpick (not in the center of the pan) but 1/2 way in to the center.  It is so easy to get them cooked too much.  I usually leave mine in the oven about 35 minutes at 350. 

When they are done and slightly cooled, I cut them with a plastic knife.  It slides right through and doesn't get gummed up.  If they are too hot it will melt the knife!

Sprinkle powdered sugar on them with a sifter to make them look nicer.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Settling for mediocracy?

 October 5, 2020

This past week some of our horses got a gate open and got out into our yard.  They took a bite or two out of the good green grass in our yard.  I would have thought they would have loved it and thought maybe they were in heaven ...... but NO.....

They walked right by the good green grass and stopped out on the road and began grazing the bar ditch.  They did not like the good (in my understading) green grass but went back to the kind of grass they were used to eating daily as they grazed in the pasture.

This brought to mind an analogy for us ---- are we comfortable with our surroundings?  Do we love being in the same routine, doing what we want, and settling for mediocracy? OR we do strive for something better?  Do we strive to be Godly, God honoring, God fearing, God obeying workers for our Almighty Savior?

Jeremiah 15:16

16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by thy name, O Jehovah, God of hosts.

May I encourage you today that you not be comfortable with your mediocre surroundings.  Instead SEEK GOD with your whole heart and life and walk in His green pastures honoring, obeying, and praising Him!!