Let's Get Growing

Let’s dive into some tips, tricks, & planning- start small and grow from there. You may live in a patio home of an HOA, a 1 acre plot, or a 5+ acre property. We have been there and done all of that! The best news is, you can too! You don’t have to be a victory gardener to see green.

Dilly Beans Recipe, Small Batch

A good green bean harvest meant we could feast on dilly beans this year. This was our first season of pretty good success with beans. At least in our eyes. Success looks different to different people. Let me explain that last year we were only able to save 11 ounces of beans… carefully packed away…
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Lemon Balm Tea, aka Melissa Tea

Herbs have so many uses, you should grow some. Herbs can be used for so many ailments as well as for enjoyment, that’s especially true with Lemon Balm. Our herb garden started out small, with the herbs that were most familiar to us. As we began learning more about homesteading through taking classes, listening to…
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Growing Coriander in the Garden

You may be growing Coriander and not even know it. It’s what comes after your cilantro plant bolts Our coriander was truly a “learning by living” experience. We had an extended cool, spring season. Many of our herbs thought summer had gone and started “bolting” into flowers. It took about a month after the white…
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Frugal Gardening and Farm Tip: Tomato tie-up wire

Check out this frugal gardening hack. Why pay full price for stuff to tie-up your tomatoes? This is actually Christmas wreath tie I bought at Walmart. I picked it up the day after Christmas for 75% off… they were basically giving it away. This is what we like to use to tie-up our tomatoes. It’s…
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Sweet Potatoes Sunday

Hunting for sweet potatoes on a sunny Sunday. Sweet Potatoes are one of Amy’s favorites. The kids like them too, especially with a little cinnamon. Our summer crop yielded a handful of the red-orange beauties. Most of them were found peeking above the heavy clay soil (we mixed in a heavy dose of compost this…
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Jalapeño Poppers on the Homestead

Jalapeño Poppers, with or without the heat. When we lived in Arizona, we had access to heat, both in temperature and in foods (especially  jalapeños). We ate with friends who would joke about spicy foods- “That’s not spicy! That’s like toothpaste!” We’ve had deep fried jalapeno poppers with oozy yellow cheese from restaurants- this is…
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Jalapeño Popper Cheese Ball

Jalapeño jackpot makes a tasty Jalapeño Popper Cheese Ball At the end of the summer, our garden struck the jackpot with jalapenos. I preserved Cowboy Candy, prepared Make as you Go, Pico de Gallo, and made Jalapeño Poppers near the end. The Jalapeño Poppers got me to thinking about incorporating these flavors in a different…
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Persimmon Seed Weather Prediction

The first year we lived on our property, we discovered we had a few trees with small, orange, crab-apple sized fruits on them. We weren’t sure exactly what they were until, one day in the fall, we tasted one and then we knew exactly what we had- a persimmon. The next year, we worked on…
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Make as You Go, Pico de Gallo

As summer’s end brought inconsistent weather, autumn stepped in, and we began to bring in less and less tomatoes. This just about puts a damper on canning tomatoes. We had too many to have for just sandwiches, but not enough for major preserving… What can you do? Use the tomatoes for a refrigerator jar of…
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Candied Jalapeños Recipe

Call it “Candied Jalapeños”, “Jalapeño Candy” or “Cowboy Candy”, it’s just yummy! Our nephew’s family joined us for a gathering and brought a tray, a block of softened cream cheese, and a jar of sliced jalapeños in a sweet, clear syrup, and dumped it over the cream cheese. There were crackers and tortilla chips to…
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Garden Fresh Tomato Soup Recipe

There’s nothing like garden fresh tomato soup. After a couple sessions of canning tomatoes from our garden, and a few rounds of B.L.T. sandwiches, we needed another way to enjoy them and boy did we find the answer with this tomato soup recipe. Our dining room table has become the place to unload our rolled…
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Corn Success Despite Adversity

1st corn crop brings less than an ear-full but more than “needed”. We are celebrating, knowing that we can check off one more item from our Homegrown Thanksgiving Menu! Corn! This success will taste so much sweeter come Thanksgiving when you consider how much adversity we faced with our crop this year. Second time is…
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Embracing the “F” Word: “Failure”

Failure can create valuable lessons on the homestead, workplace or life. This homesteading adventure that we’re on is opening up all sorts of opportunities to face the “F” word… “failure”. In life we try to avoid failure, no one likes to be labeled a “failure”. It’s a brand that’s hard to shed from the psyche.…
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Gardening is Possible Anywhere

How we learned about urban, small space and desert gardening. When we moved from Iowa to Arizona, I gave all of my canning jars away to friends. I certainly wouldn’t need them in the desert! When we moved into our Mesa, AZ home, it was love at first site. Finally, a yard we didn’t have…
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Pumpkin Planting Experiment

Few things make me smile the way a pumpkin makes me smile. I know, it sounds weird, but I just love pumpkins and have this dream of someday growing a state fair champion pumpkin. In the meantime, we’re doing our best to have a real pumpkin patch this year and are experimenting with a way…
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Natural Japanese Beetle Control

It’s a beauty of a beetle but bad news for plants. Shiny, metallic colored insects hanging out on orchard leaves and vegetable plants. They are beautiful, but when they consume what we are trying to grow and leave behind skeleton leaves, they become a menace. It seems that this beetle, known as a Japanese beetle, are…
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Canning Made Easy

How to do boiling-water processing or water bath canning If you’ve never preserved fruits and vegetables by canning, this is a really easy way to get started. You just need a boiling-water canner, which is a large pot with a lid and a rack to help you manage those hot jars. You can also purchase…
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Learning How to Grow Potatoes

They say potatoes are easy to grow, they’re right. They say that potatoes are about as easy a crop to grow as anything you might try to plant. If our first harvest is any proof, they’re right. We hauled in a total of nearly 10 lbs. In our first effort! It was an exciting experience…
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Summer Squash Pickles Recipe

Summer squash is plentiful, how ’bout some pickles? We have never had much luck growing squash. It seems we’d get in 3-5 and then the leaves of the plant would start looking diseased, shrivel, and die. Year after year. We could have said, “We just can’t grow squash,” or we could just keep trying to…
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Garden Planning, Let’s Get Growing!

Observe before planting your garden. When we moved into our home we knew we wanted to have a family garden. The first summer we resisted starting one though. Why not just dive in? We could have, but we would be blindly going for it without the most important method of learning…. Observation. Lots and lots…
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Cherry! Cherry! Cherry! Kind of a jackpot!

Today was a big day for us and our orchard! While out for a walk on the property, Amy strolled into the orchard. We planted our trees a year ago and actually harvested about a half dozen small apples from one of the apple trees. Last year’s apples were a big surprise because we figured…
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Our Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving menu items An update to our “Inspired to Try, Homegrown Thanksgiving Challenge”. The Thanksgiving menu is ready to share, think we can pull it off? We’ve got our starters, main course items, and desserts. The menu items consist of food we are currently growing so we can prepare to save them for November- and…
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The Orchard

Our Orchard, A Memorial to A Great Man

Instead of just a tree, why not plant an orchard? When we moved into our home, it was shortly after Chris’ dad had passed. Family and friends wanted to give us something that would remind us of him. Maybe a flower bush or special tree? After some thought, we decided to pool our gifts into building a…
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