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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beginning Composting And Working Toward A Sustainable Lifestyle

Disclaimer: Grandma Bonnie's Closet was not compensated for the review of this product. I received a free product in exchange for an honest opinion. The opinions in this post are all mine.

I have always wanted to start composting. We had a few failed starts at composting over the years. I had set aside a covered pail under our kitchen sink to hold our vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds and so forth. One of the problems we had was the smell would start to gather gnats even though the pail was not even near full. 
I have since found the solution to the smell and gnat problem. Thanks to www.gaiam.com I received a Ceramic Kitchen Crock to take my composting to the next level. 
This compact counter top crock holds up to one gallon of kitchen scraps. The glazed interior will not stain or hold odors. The carbon filter in the lid will also help prevent odors and gnats. My favorite feature of the Kitchen Compost Crock is that it looks beautiful sitting on my kitchen counter. With the crock sitting at eye level I won't forget to use it or empty it into my compost pile. 
What should I put in my compost crock?
Most table scraps can be collected. Vegetable and fruit peels, coffee grounds, paper coffee filters, tea leaves, tea bags, and eggshells.  Just stay away from adding meats or fats.

How to start a compost pile.
1. Put down a layer of straw or twigs on bare earth. This will allow worms and other organisms access to your compost. 
2. Alternate moist and dry materials in layers. The moist layer would be from your kitchen scraps. The dry layers would be straw, leaves, wood ashes, and sawdust.
3. Add green manure such as grass clippings and clover. This will add nitrogen and speed the process along.
4. Keep the compost pile moist. Either water of allow rain to water your pile.
5. Turn every few weeks with a shovel to aerate the compost. The added oxygen will complete the process. 

I am very happy with my ceramic crock and will be using it for years to come. Just taking one more step to a sustainable lifestyle.
I hope you get started on composting. The Ceramic Kitchen Crock was $42.00 but is now $25.00. So it's a great time to start composting with your own Ceramic Kitchen Crock
Happy Composting! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Great Tips For Starting Garden Seeds Indoors With Recycled Containers.

Starting your own garden plants from seeds not only saves you money but can also give you a greater variety of plant choice. Starting your seeds indoors gives the plants a head start that can bring an earlier harvest and greater yield. I have started my seeds in a variety of recycled containers. This year I used saved large and small yogurt containers, single serving ice cream containers, solo cups, paper tubes and newspaper.
1. Save as many containers you want for your seed starting or make some from newspaper or paper tubes.
2. I made my newspaper tubes with two sheets of 9”x9” newspaper advertisement. I folded the sheets in half. Rolled the paper in a tube and inserted one end in the fold. I then cut 1&1/2” slits in the bottom end and folded the ends in to make the bottom. I made the paper tube by cutting 1 inch slits in the end of a toilet paper tube. I then folded the ends in to form the bottom.
3. Label your containers. Do not depend on memory.
4. Don't start your seeds too early. Different plants have different needs. Check your seed packet to find out how many weeks each vegetable variety will take to get ready indoors before your last frost date.
5. Make sure your containers have good drainage holes. Water from the bottom if possible. I use a teaspoon to water my seedlings. This controls how much water and where the water is placed. I have heard a turkey baster is also great for watering..
6. The seedling will need lots of light to prevent spindly plants. A south facing window will do great for lighting. If you need to you might want to use growers lights.
7. Turn the container each day to prevent the seedlings from reaching toward the light and developing weak, elongated stems.
8. Before seedlings can be planted outdoors, they need to be hardened off, or acclimated to direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. It is best to do this over several days by placing them in direct sunlight during the morning only of the first day, then increasing their time outside by a few hours each day until time to transplant.

For many other great gardening tips and information check out Grandma's Garden Corner.
Happy Gardening!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Disclaimer: Grandma Bonnie's Closet was not compensated for the review of this product. I received a free product in exchange for an honest opinion. The opinions in this post are all mine.
We have been making plans this year to become a little more self sufficient. Living a sustainable life is our goal and we are starting with our garden and food production. The first and most important aspect of growing our own food is that it should be as healthy as possible. I like organic and non-GMO foods so that is what we are aiming for here. I started looking into heirloom seeds because they would be a good step forward in a sustainable living situation. This is when I came across Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I immediately emailed and asked to try out their Home Gardener's Collection. This collection includes 20 full sized packets of seeds and Clyde's Garden Planner all in a collectible burlap bag with drawstring closure.

With so many seed companies selling heirloom seed varieties I am sure you are asking, "Why did I pick Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds?" I selected Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds because they work to supply free seeds to many poor countries and here at home they supply seed to many school gardens. Their goal is to educate everyone about a safer food supply. All of their seeds are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented. They are not a member of the pro-GMO American Seed Trade Organization! They do not buy seed from monsanto-owned Seminis. They even boycott all gene-altering companies. So, if you are looking to grow your own garden and you want healthy non-GMO food for your family Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds might just be what you are looking for.
Now let's get on to the fun stuff.
Clyde's Garden Planner

Using the garden planner is easy. Line up the red line on your last spring frost date. Then look along the side and select the vegetable you would like to plant and it will give you an indoor and outdoor planting date. 
For example my last spring frost date is supposed to be April 30th. (Not so sure about that this year.) This would make my date for planting peas and spinach outdoors as March 22 and after. Well, that date passed me by! For some strange reason my garden was covered in snow on March 22nd. Well, any way I am putting the peas and spinach seeds in this weekend rain or shine. Also, when you flip the planner over it will give you fall planting dates.
This is a list of the seeds I received in the Home Gardener's Collection. One package each of: Radish Early Scarlet Globe, Pepper Orange Bell, Peppers Italian Pepperoncini, Pepper Purple Beauty, Snow Peas Sugar Ann, Garden Pea Wando, Lettuce Rocky Top Mix, Lettuce Lollo Rossa, Spinach Bloomsdale long Standing, Tomato Principe Borghese, Tomato Raspberry Lyanna, Melon minnesota midget, Turnip Navet Des Vertus Marteau, Onion Tokyo Long White, Carrot Little Finger, Bean Contender, Eggplant Little Fingers, Basil-Greek Dwarf and Dill-Bouquet.
Today, I am starting some of the other vegetable seeds in recycled containers to keep indoors until the the risk of frost has passed on by. I will be writing another post in a week or so to update you on the progress of our heirloom gardening adventure. You can expect several posts throughout the summer on this seed collection and its progress in my garden. How is your garden adventure coming along? I hope spring has arrived in your neck of the woods. Happy gardening!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Garden Planning

I have been itching to get outside and start my garden since about January. I am sure those of you who have had to endure this too long and too cold winter just might be feeling a bit like myself. I have been looking over my seed catalogs, reading and researching gardening methods and just daydreaming about my spring and summer garden.
I have plans to extend my vegetable garden this year. I will be trying a new gardening method of which I will be writing about in the next few weeks. The new method is a bit like the weed free raised garden bed I tried last year. I will be posting often about the new products I am using to keep my garden producing throughout the spring, summer and fall. I invite you to follow along with me on this new garden learning experience. If your green thumb is itching to get into your garden you may just want to stop over and read a few of my other garden posts for some great tips on keeping a garden planner, tips for gardening success and much more. Well, off I am to do some spring garden clean up, and get a few seeds started in side.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wild Hippo Chocolate And Treats

Disclaimer: Grandma Bonnie's Closet was not compensated for the review of this product. I received a free product in exchange for an honest opinion. The opinions in this post are all mine.

Anyone who reads Grandma Bonnie's Closet knows that I love anything chocolate. Well Wild Hippo was wonderful enough to share their delicious chocolate treats with me. Not only is their chocolate delicious it is handmade with love and is Organic, Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Vegan approved. 
This chocolate bar was so tasty and gave me my chocolate fix plus I shared it with my son as it was just enough for two. 

The chocolate hearts tin would make a great birthday gift, Mothers day gift and would be great for an Easter Basket.

Now, if you want more than chocolate then try these Sunbutter Cups which are sold by the dozen. I really like peanut butter cups and I found that these healthy Sunbutter Cups make a great alternative. I could eat them every day! 
If you are not into chocolate but would like some healthy Organic, Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo, Vegan treats check out their Date bites, Muffins and chocolate chip cookies here
If I may suggest all of these healthy treats would make great fillers in your grandchildren's Easter Baskets.
Wild Hippo also has a Organic, Hypoallergenic, Paleo, Vegan deodorant that I use myself. You can check that out here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Italian Ice Recipe

I spent the day with my grandson and we found lots of interesting projects to keep us busy. Our first project was making an afternoon snack. My grandson likes ice cream but dairy and gluten are not allowed in his diet. So, grandma had to find a good alternative for Little Bug. I started making a simple Italian Ice from an old memory of my grandmother making Italian ice for the family.
That's Little Bug mashing the strawberries.
After mashing one or two cups of strawberries I added 1/4 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. I suggest sweeten to your taste.
Cover the strawberry mash and freeze. Take the strawberry mash out of the freezer about every 30 minutes and break up with a fork. This will stop it from forming a large frozen Popsicle block. About two hours or so your Strawberry Italian Ice will be ready to enjoy.

While waiting for his snack to freeze Little Bug did some painting.
Later on I pulled out some craft foam and we made a rocket ship and some space aliens. Little Bug wanted to make a city for his aliens so of course I helped him make a great city for him to enjoy.

That was our great day! How was yours?