Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bloomin' Marvelous Series - Garden Envy

Hi Everyone!  It's Mary again, from Sweet Little Bluebird!  Today I'm sharing how my sister-in-law Annie's garden grows, for our "Bloomin Marvelous" series...and boy is her garden marvelous!

I have major garden envy.  Major.  Earlier this summer my family and I made a trip to visit family outside of Buffalo, New York, to celebrate a graduation. Good times were had by all, along with great food!  A good amount of the food on the table came directly from my my sister-in-law's vegetable garden.  For living in the suburbs, Annie has a pretty impressive garden!  I have never grown my own vegetables successfully.  I attempted to grow some tomatoes one summer and it was a complete disaster - not one healthy tomato.  After getting tips and a quick education on my sister-in-law's garden, I think next summer I may give it another try!   

This year Annie's goal is to grow enough vegetables and herbs to sustain her family through winter.  A source of her inspiration came from the book, AnimalVegetableMiracle: A Year of Food Life by author, Barbara Kingsolver.  Annie found this book incredibly enlightening about sustainable living.  This summer and fall she will be busy canning, freezing, drying what she harvests.  She planned her garden wisely.  She takes part in a local CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) and receives a huge box of locally grown produce each week for $15.  She plants opposite of what she receives from her CSA boxes - so no veggies like broccoli in her garden. For the most part, Annie tries to purchase the majority of her food that is grown locally.  If however, she needs pineapple or avocado for a dish, she'll purchase that at her local grocery store.

So what's in Annie's suburban backyard garden?  A lot!  She has veggies planted along her back fence and two seperate beds in her backyard.  Additional veggies and herbs are planted around the side and front of her home.  Here is a list of what she grows:  fortex green beans, black beans, Portuguese beans, edamame, onions, garlic, chives, scallions, sugar snap peas, spinach, turnips, carrots, variety of tomatoes (large amount of heirloom), hot peppers, sweet peppers, parsnip, winter squash, purple and yellow potatoes, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, two varieties of basil.  Additional herbs are planted in pots for easy picking right outside her front door. 

What I love most about Annie's garden, it's all 100% organic.  Not a single pesticide and she only fertilizes organically.  She achieves a beautiful, healthy and thriving garden by planting carefully (companion gardening).  To prepare her garden, she dug 8 inches deep, replacing her clay soil with yards of local compost.  She then added composted horse manure, more of her own compost (she has a compost pile in her backyard too), along with coffee grounds and sphagnum peat moss.   She is able to keep insects away by smart planting.  Onions deter a lot of bugs, so they are planted around the majority of the garden, except near her beans. Onions are green bean's enemies. To learn more about companion gardening, click here.   

Here are a few pictures of her marvelous garden and links to a couple of great recipes!   


During our stay we had a "make your own pizza" night!  
Annie picked turnips for pizza toppings and spinach for the salad.  
So good! 

Turnips were sauteed in olive oil...
Summer Spinach Salad... 

Annie was sweet and sent me a couple of photos 
and links to two great recipes to share with all of you.

First up, Vegan Pesto!  Click here for the recipe.

Next, Spicy Snow Pea & Sesame Stir-Fry!  
Click here for the recipe.
I'd like to thank my sister-in-law for sharing her home, garden and recipes...THANK YOU!  And thanks to all of you, for stopping by the Cafe for our Garden series!








Just a reminder, our link party is coming up on July 29th where we are asking for you to link up all your gardening posts.  It can be about your flowers, vegetables, fruit, recipes using your fresh produce or something that has been inspired by gardens or nature.



28 comments:

  1. What a beautiful garden! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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    1. Thanks, Marci...I just love her garden!

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  2. Wow! That's incredible! I'm a newbie gardener and seeing pictures like this is both inspirational and awe-inspiring. I hope to get a little harvest this year, but I aim to one day be like Annie and be able to preserve a great deal of what I grow.

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    1. Oops, I wasn't finished - Hope you have a great harvest this year!

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  3. This is an impressive veg garden! And it is so neat :-)

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    1. Hi Linda! I wish she lived close, I'd be visiting her garden often!

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  4. Mary I have garden envy too!!!! Thank you for sharing your sis in law's lovely garden!

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    1. Thanks, Nat! I scored several canned gooodies from last year's harvest PLUS some awesome grape jam...SHE MAKES THE BEST JAM!!!

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  5. Totally envious! I haven't had a garden in years, but next year I want one! Now I'm off to check out that Stir fry recipe...yummmm! Great post Mary!

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    1. Thank you, Danni! I hope you have a veggie garden next year. I plan to plant some tomatoes and basil.! The Stir-Fry looks and sounds so good!

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  6. What a beautiful garden! Looks like she will be enjoying lots of delicious recipes from it.

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    1. Hi! I'm looking forward to hearing what she plans to make and how much she is able to can, freeze and dry for the winter!

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  7. I want to meet your sis in law, she sounds like a classy lady! And make her pesto. Mmmmmmmm. What a lovely post.

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    1. Thank you, Heather! Annie is great! I'm saving the pesto recipe for next year, when I have my own basil growing!

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  8. Oh yum...It's my dream to have a rockin' garden. I never have any luck growing anything from seed. Makes me so sad...

    -andi

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    1. I have the same dream, Andi. Hopefully next year I can turn that dream into a reality!

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  9. She is a master gardener! I love the idea of being self supporting with fruit and veggies and have been working towards that in the last year or so. I freeze the pesto I make (minus the parmesan) in ice cubes trays. Once they are frozen, I transfer the cubes to freezer bags. I use the cubes for flavoured oils and as the basis for full pesto.

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    1. That's wonderful, Maureen! Hope you have a great harvest this year! Thank you for the awesome tip for pesto in ice cube trays!

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  10. Now I have garden envy too...and belly that's grumbling for some of that pizza. Very impressive.

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    1. Hi Amy! Me too....such envy. The pizza was great! First time I ever had turnips as topping - so good!

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  11. I have hopes of one day doing sustainable gardening. The idea of growing so much of your own organic produce rather than store bought is like going back in time. It definitely seems like there are a lot of tips and tricks to learn but what fun and satisfaction. Great information, thanks for sharing ~ Amy

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    1. Thank you , Amy! I love the idea of getting organic produce from my backyard too. When I try again, I'll start small...then add more veggies and herbs each successful year.

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  12. Your sisters garden is beautiful Mary, I would love to visit :)

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    1. You have a pretty great garden too AND YOU HAVE A LEMON TREE!!! I dream of having my own lemon tree. Lucky girl!

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  13. Thank you, everyone! I'm looking forward to planting a few things next year. Seeing her garden and learning how she achieves such hearty veggies without all the yucky pesticides has inspired me!

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