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Trying Out Something New


(EDIT:  This post was done using the trial version of Gutenberg, the new format WordPress is rolling out soon.  I am not sure if I did not do it right or it is a glitch, but the various paragraphs are not showing up in the post.  Looks great in the editing view, but like I have no writing skills in post view.  Figures!  Anyway, enjoy the run-on paragraph mess.)   As many of my subscribers know, the postings on my blog have become sparse at best.  The various obligations of being a wife and mother, a small business owner, a church officer, and more have made it so that I do not have a moment to spare… much less sit down for an hour or two to craft a blog article.  My blog is completely free and I do not make a penny off of it; therefore, it sits with many other pursuits at the bottom of the pile that remains mostly untouched during the past few years. As my seed business grows larger and my customers have the desire to read pre-made articles on various topics, I have decided to revamp my blog to make it 1.) more customer friendly so there are plenty of articles related to what I sell plus some other topics, 2.) it is more search engine friendly, 3.) provides up-to-date content, and 4.) is set up to allow me to post quickly and easily. Wordpress is currently undergoing changes that will help me on the “quick and easy” bit, but the new format will not support some (possibly all) of my previous posts in the format that they were in.  I have the option to make certain changes to them to make them more compatible with the new format.  In an effort to do this with my limited time, most of my old posts will be disappearing in the near future (before November 1, 2018) and will be reappearing rewritten and updated for the new format and potential up-to-date content. I am not sure how long it will be between the disappearance and reappearance of the articles, as it will depend on me, my ability to adapt to and learn the changes that are being made in WordPress, and how detailed it is to make the appropriate changes to the content to make it not only accurate for the subject but also fully interactive with all of my social media platforms.    My current plan is to re-release the articles ‘in season’ with the particular topic so that I have the ability to add a video demonstrating a technique or list a new 2019 variety or whatnot. I ask for your patience during this time, but hey, for the most part, it will be kind of like the “same old” with not many posts.  Stick with me.  If WordPress follows through on what their changes promise to be, and I can make the ideas in my head a reality, this blog will be popping by the time all is said and done. Good luck with any gardening endeavors (or planning) that you have in the next few months.  I look forward to surprising you with something interesting once winter comes. 😉 *************************************************************************************** © Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Tomato and Cucumber Salad


Can you tell we are ready for summer foods here?

Crisp cucumbers, fresh summer tomatoes and just a little sweet heat from peppers make this light, bright salad perfect for your next summer cookout. There are no greens, which wilt quickly when dressed, so it’s also a great salad to bring along to share with family and friends.

 

Spicy Patio Choice tomato salad using AAS Winners

(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Bardzik)

Servings 6

Ingredients

For salad:

  • 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 medium gherkin type cucumbers halved and cut in ¼” slices
  • 6-8 bunching onions scallions, roots removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet, non-bell peppers seeded, deribbed and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For vinaigrette:

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup Sherry vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil – the good stuff!

Instructions

Make Vinaigrette:

  1. Place garlic on cutting board and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt. Using the flat side of your knife, mash the garlic and salt into a smooth paste.

  2. Combine in a small bowl with honey, cumin and vinegar. Whisk together and season with black pepper.
  3. Drizzle vegetable oil into vinegar, while whisking, to form a creamy emulsion.

For the salad:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, cucumbers, bunching onions, peppers, and fresh cilantro.
  2. Taste dressing with a forkful of salad. Season dressing to taste with additional salt, pepper, oil and vinegar as needed. Lightly dress salad, starting with ½ cup of dressing and adding more to taste.

 

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Okra and Tomatoes


Solve the okra slime problem by roasting! The final product takes on the crisp texture of potato chips. A perfect summer snack! Change up the spices substituting the Indian Garam Masala blend with garlic powder or chili powder.

Roasted Okra and Tomatoes Recipe using AAS Winners

(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Bardzik)

Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. okra pods harvest at 2-4″ long
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

  2. Slice okra pods in half lengthwise. Toss with 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs Garam Masala. Season with salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven.

  3. Toss tomatoes with remaining 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs Garam Masala. Season with Salt and pepper.

  4. When okra has roasted for 5 minutes, scatter tomatoes on sheet pan and cook for 7-10 minutes longer until Okra is crisp. Enjoy!

Grow a Theme Garden This Year & 7 Ways to Combat Disease in Your Garden This Year!


Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

With busy schedules and jam-packed gardens, plants have to do double duty if they’re going to fit into modern lives. We aren’t just growing a vegetable or flower garden anymore. Now gardens have multiple purposes like supporting pollinators, engaging children in the garden, providing the supplies to create your own beauty products, or decorating your plate with edible flowers and ornamental vegetables.

So why not create a themed garden with plants that do serve that dual purpose?

Therapeutic Garden Grant Applications are now available! Plus show your team spirit with flowers!


Create a Garden Color Combination to Show Your Support!

  • Do you have a high school or college graduation party coming soon?
  • Is your baseball team starting out the year with a great record and you want to show your support?
  • Or are you an all-around passionate fan who wants to show your team’s colors in the garden?

If you are any of the above, a combination garden container is a perfect way to show your support for your favorite team or institution.

🌷It’s Spring – Time for Tulip Festivals! 🌷


Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

It’s the Year of the Tulip!!!

It’s Spring and nothing says Spring as much as Tulip Festivals!

2018 is the Year of the Tulip and we thought we would celebrate by bringing you a list of tulip festivals!   Find the festivals in your area and celebrate Tulips and Spring!

Watermelon Gazpacho using AAS Winners

Chef and story-teller Jonathan Bardzik demonstrates how to grow and cook with award-winning All-America Selections winning varieties to make this delicious, fresh recipe.

Find Out More…

See What’s New for 2018
Click on Individual Photos for More Information

For more information: Contact Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau by e-mail
Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer. 

Let’s Celebrate the Year of the Beet! 🎉🎉


Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

It’s the Year of the Beets!!!

Easy-to-Grow * New Varieties * Good for You

From its humble beginnings around the Mediterranean, the table beet (beta vulgaris) has spread to all continents of the world, although information on Antarctica is surprisingly hard to come by…  Historically, beets have been consumed in many ways:  medicinally in ancient Rome, fresh (both the greens and the roots) in salads, made into soups (think borscht), pickled slices and shreds to name just a few. In some parts of the world, it is a menu staple.

Watch while Gardener, Chef and Story-teller Jonathan Bardzik talks about why beets were chosen as the 2018 Year of the crop, what’s new in Beet varieties and how to cook with your home-grown beets!

Find more Jonathan Bardzik recipes on the Year of the Beet Information Page

Fennel and Strawberry Salad using AAS Winners

Spring is the perfect season for a light, refreshing salad made from strawberries and fennel! Delicious! Chef and story-teller Jonathan Bardzik demonstrates how to grow and cook with award-winning All-America Selections winning varieties in a how-to video including a printable recipe card!

See What’s New for 2018
Click on Individual Photos for More Information
Coneflower Granada Gold
Cushion Bush Bed Head
Sweet Corn Amercian Dream
Tomato Giant Garden Paste
Botanical Interests Recycled Paper Pots
Foodscape Revolution

For more information: Contact Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau by e-mail

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer.

10 Purple Plants to Fall in Love With This Year


Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

10 Purple Flowers to Dress Up your Garden! 

From an entire bed or just a touch of color in your containers, it has never been easier to include purple in your garden. Perfect additions if you want to add the 2018 Pantone Color of the year, Ultra Violet, to your garden design.

Minestrone Pasta using AAS Winners

Whether your garden is overflowing at the peak of summer or you’re grabbing a little of everything from a late summer harvest this dish captures your favorite flavors from the summer garden in a one-dish supper! Yum! Chef and story-teller Jonathan Bardzik demonstrates how to grow and cook with award-winning All-America Selections winning varieties in a how-to video including a printable recipe card!

See What’s New for 2018
Click on Individual Photos for More Information
Straight and Narrow Japanese Holly
I'Conia™ Miss Montreal Begonia
Optima Lettuce
Bonnie Centennial Tomato
CobraHead® “mini” Weeder and Cultivator
Success with Hydrangeas

For more information: Contact Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau by e-mail
Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer. 

 

I Should Really Post More…


Hi Everybody! It’s me, the delinquent. .

When I started this blog, my life was much less complicated.  It was just me, a job, and an idea.

Life is now a bit… more.  It’s me, a husband, a child, an entrepreneurial adventure, a field of vegetables, a house, 3 cats, and a lot of fullness of life.

I still love to blog and answer questions, but for now I am behind on other things that must be caught up on first.  Like 250+ new varieties to enter for my seed company, or reading “Big A, little a, what begins with a…” again, a thousand other things.  It’s not that this isn’t important, but it doesn’t smell odd or have the ability to burst into flames or the like.  That’s good, but it also means that for now it lies a bit dormant.

I’m on a “life events induced” vacation for the next few weeks.  Unlike most time when my to-do list has 500+ tasks on it, my current one has 14.  Number 9 on the list is revamping this blog.  I  the next few weeks, keep an eye out for changes — ones that will fit with my current business prospects and allowed time, plus be of interest to you.

God Bless!

If You Liked That – You Will Love This!


Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

If You Liked That…You’ll Love This 
Did you know that all AAS Winners have been trialed against varieties that are considered “best in class”? See which AAS Winners will become your new garden favorites!
Bobbie Schwartz, author of  Garden Renovations: Transform Your Yard into the Garden of Your Dreams asks the question – Why are there only certain fences we use?  and answers by showing some beautiful creative fences to use instead.  What do you think?

See What’s New for 2018
Calibrachoa Bloomtastic Rose Quartz
Calibrachoa Can-Can Bumble Bee Pink
Kale Darkibor
Mizuna Miz America
Cold Frame - Jung Seed
Garden Renovations

For more information: Contact Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau by e-mail
Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer.