1
Simple Potato Kale Salad
2
How to Grow Tomatoes From Seed
3
How to Protect Plants from Frost
4
How to Presprout and Grow Sugar Snap Peas
5
How to Grow Indoor Plants
6
How to Use a Heat Mat and Thermometer for Seed Germination
7
Tips On Making Your Garden Organic
8
We Planted Potatoes and Came Back 3 Months Later
9
How to Store Cilantro To Make It Last For Weeks
10
What’s Growing Now In Our Vegetable Garden
11
How To Freeze Fresh Green Beans Without Blanching
12
What’s Growing Now
13
How To Make a Sub Irrigated Planter
14
June Community Garden Update!
15
10 EASIEST Vegetables To Grow In The Garden
16
4×4 Garden Plan: Let’s Grow 100 Pounds of Food!
17
Tomato Cages for Tall Tomato Plants
18
Here’s how much we grew in the garden last year!
19
Rainbow Glitter Pumpkins
20
This Week’s Harvest Includes 67 Pounds of Tomatoes!

Simple Potato Kale Salad

This easy recipe for Simple Potato Kale Salad is one of my favorite healthy meals or side dishes. The ingredients are straightforward: potatoes, kale, and olive oil – that’s it! Paleo, Whole30-compliant, and vegan friendly.

This easy recipe for Simple Potato Kale Salad is one of my favorite healthy meals or side dishes. The ingredients are straightforward: potatoes, kale, and olive oil – that’s it! Paleo, Whole30-compliant, and vegan friendly.

You know a recipe is worth sharing when you’ve made it so many times that you can cook it up just as easily as if you were brewing a cup of tea or pouring a glass of water. 

Say hello to this warm Potato Kale Salad. It’s a basic dish that comes together so fast. And it’s a recipe that has definitely taught me to respect kale, love kale, and most certainly, eat more kale. I’m in love with this simple meal and I can’t believe it, but I actually request kale for dinner now.

This simple 5 ingredient dish has totally changed my feelings toward kale.   Also, I should give credit where it’s due. Matthew is the chef behind this Potato Kale Salad. After continuously asking, he’s finally written out the recipe for me to share.

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How to Grow Tomatoes From Seed

Step by step guide on how to grow tomatoes from seed. Walks you through the process of growing seeds indoors, hardening off and planting in the garden! Learn how we grow hundreds of pounds of tomatoes every year!

How to Grow Tomatoes From Seed

Growing tomatoes from seed is one of the most rewarding experiences for a gardener.  Tomatoes are easy plants to grow and produce bountiful harvests for cooking (hey tomato sauce! hey diced tomatoes! hey stewed tomatoes!), storage and snacking.  Gardeners usually plant the same two or three varieties from their local garden store but growing from seed opens your garden up to thousands of new juicy possibilities.    

Step by step guide on how to grow tomatoes from seed. Walks you through the process of growing seeds indoors, hardening off and planting in the garden! Learn how we grow hundreds of pounds of tomatoes every year!

What Do Tomato Seeds Look Like?

There are many varieties of tomatoes but two types – determinate and indeterminate.  Determinate tomato plants, also known as bush tomatoes, are more compact plants (generally 3-4′ tall) that are good for smaller gardens and that set all their fruit at the same time.  After the fruit on the top bud of determinate plants sets the plant stops growing and is finished. 

Step by step guide on how to grow tomatoes from seed. Walks you through the process of growing seeds indoors, hardening off and planting in the garden! Learn how we grow hundreds of pounds of tomatoes every year!

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How to Protect Plants from Frost

Tips on how to protect plants from frost.  These DIY methods are easy and helpful to both amateur and experienced gardeners.  By using these tips, your plants will be safe from cold and frost! 

Protecting Plants From Frost

There’s always a bit of danger involved when you plant your Spring vegetables.   In the Spring or Fall we are always trying to extend our growing season and with wildly fluctuating temperatures that can be a dangerous challenge for your plants.    This is how it usually always goes:

You plant your seedlings into your garden on a beautiful day,   you’re so excited for garden season to begin!   You go back inside, still smiling, and check the weather.  WHAT! IT’S SUPPOSED TO REACH NEAR FREEZING TONIGHT? Panic sets in!

Easy DIY tips to protect your plants from frost and cold. Learn how to harden off your plants, use bottles for heat and cover your vegetables.

Don’t worry.  We’ve all been there.  No matter how planned you are, the weather is unpredictable and early on you need to live a little dangerously. 

Use Bottles for Heat

Easy DIY tips to protect your plants from frost and cold. Learn how to harden off your plants, use bottles for heat and cover your vegetables.

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How to Presprout and Grow Sugar Snap Peas

Easy step by step instructions on how to presprout and grow Sugar Snap Peas.  By doing this you’ll be sure that the seeds won’t rot before they sprout under the soil resulting in a successful plant and many pounds of sugar snap peas to pick!

How to Grow Sugar Snap Peas

Presprouting Sugar Snap Peas is a important step to growing big Sugar Snap Pea plants.  By doing this you’ll be sure that the seeds won’t rot before they sprout under the soil (due to temperature).  It also guarantees that you won’t be wasting your time planting some seeds that might not even sprout at all causing you to wait and fall back in the garden season schedule.

Easy step by step instructions on how to presprout Sugar Snap Peas. By doing this you’re promised that your seeds won’t rot before they sprout under the soil resulting in a successful plant and pounds of sugar snap peas to pick!

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How to Grow Indoor Plants

Need some inspiration on how to grow indoor plants?  Check out Summer Rayne Oakes’s NYC apartment – it’s a real jungle!

You guys know I’m big on growing A LOT in a small space.  After all, look at our 4×4 garden we planted last year – you can grow hundreds of pounds of vegetables in a small space!  

Grow a garden in a small space

What else can you do?  In a small space you can grow indoor plants!

I came across this video of Summer’s apartment which can be described as a real life jungle.  She lives in her Brooklyn apartment with over 700 plants, caring for them for about 30 minutes a day.   Summer says she spends about $100 a month on plants.   

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How to Use a Heat Mat and Thermometer for Seed Germination

We use a heat mat and thermometer to germinate our vegetable garden seeds.  Find out how we use these tools to get a 100% germination rate. This saves time and ensures reliable sprouting. 

How to Germinate Seeds

With garden season approaching, our seed order just arrived in the mail.   Even though we’ve had a few near record low temperature days in NYC, that doesn’t mean we can’t be starting our Spring garden indoors.  The first step is germinating our seeds.

After just 3 days of planting our seeds, we have a full tray of seedlings that have already broke through the soil!

How to Germinate Seeds

To save time and money, we find that with just a little extra work you can have nearly perfect germination rate with the right tools.   With our heat mat, thermometer and grow lights, let’s start the 2019 garden season and plant broccoli, cauliflower, kale and bok choy seeds.

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Tips On Making Your Garden Organic

Organic gardening tips on how to switch your garden to full organic.  Compost, seeds, watering and testing the soil are all great steps to take.  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® FIELDS Initiative.
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Tips On Making Your Garden Organic

Snacks and parks go together pretty nicely if you ask me. Think of all your favorite times at a park, it probably also involved some friends, a blanket and endless sandwiches and chips. Think of all your favorite times with your child at a park, it also probably involved snacks because goodness – kids love snacks!  Within a year of becoming a parent, I’ve learned to always be stocked with snacks!  

That’s why I’ve been so happy to team up with Stonyfield since they’re the perfect mission first brand to tie together snacks and parks. How so? Well first read this post, then this post… and now let me tell you a little more about the StonyFIELDS Initiative.

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We Planted Potatoes and Came Back 3 Months Later

We planted potatoes and didn’t do ANYTHING else.  We didn’t water, didn’t mound the dirt, nothing!  Learn how to grow potatoes, and how many pounds of potatoes we had waiting for us!

Sometimes people ask me what are the easiest vegetables to grow.  Usually I tell them lettuce, kale, radishes and jalapeno peppers but now there’s a new one to add to the list… maybe the top easiest one to grow!  What is it? POTATOES!

Easy To Grow Potatoes

Would you guys believe that we planted these potatoes 3 months ago, did NOTHING, and then came back to find dozens of beautiful potatoes waiting for us to dig out from under the soil?

Well I hope you believe me because that’s what happened!

We planted potatoes and didn't do ANYTHING else.  We didn't water, didn't mound up, nothing!  Learn how to grow potatoes, and how many pounds of potatoes we had waiting for us!

This year we are primarily focused in gardening in Brooklyn, with nothing growing Upstate.  Matthew and I were kind of sad about this, so Matthew made the drive Upstate to plant a few potatoes.  We hoped that we could visit in mid Summer, but our schedules just didn’t allow us. 

So after 3 months of not visiting the garden Upstate, not doing anything to the potatoes, we finally visited last weekend.    At first we were dissappointed because we couldn’t find the potato plants (they were competing with some weeds!). 

Matthew continued to dig around and still couldn’t find anything.  But then he dug a little bit more (with me anioxusly yelling FIND THE POTATOES!) and ta-da! There were so many beautiful potatoes growing under the soil!

We planted potatoes and didn't do ANYTHING else.  We didn't water, didn't mound up, nothing!  Learn how to grow potatoes, and how many pounds of potatoes we had waiting for us!

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How to Store Cilantro To Make It Last For Weeks

HOW TO STORE CILANTRO to make it last for weeks! This easy trick shows how to keep cilantro fresh in water in your refrigerator to last for 3 weeks! It’s the perfect way to store cilantro for a long time!

I’m back with another tip to help your vegetables last longer! Remember how I shared my tip on how to store lettuce to keep it fresh for a month?  Or how about the best ways to store bananas?  Well this trick will keep your cilantro fresh for weeks!

HOW TO STORE CILANTRO to make it last for weeks! This easy trick shows how to keep cilantro fresh in water in your refrigerator to last for 3 weeks! It's the perfect way to store cilantro for a long time!

Storing Cilantro

Cilantro – are you one of those people that love it or hate it?  I love it! But my issue with cilantro is that it never seems to last long enough to use it all.  Often recipes only call for a small amount of cilantro, and it’s hard to find things to do with a whole bunch of it!  With this tip you’ll no longer have to let your cilantro go to waste!

You guys know I don’t like to waste anything we grow.  I’ve showed you how to make tomato powder out of tomato skins, and how to make mint tea, but now I wanted to show you my trick on how to how to store cilantro to make it last longer!

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What’s Growing Now In Our Vegetable Garden

We’re in the middle of August – what are we growing and picking in the garden? Well I’m glad you asked! 

What we’re picking in the garden!

Here’s the main cast of characters in August – tomatoes, peppers, kale, beans and onions!

Full Guide on what vegetables you can pick and grow in your vegetable garden in August. This guide is for Northeast USA gardens.

Matthew decided it was time to pick all the onions from the garden so we could plant a 2nd crop of sugar snap peas in that space.  This weekend we made Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions which is one of his favorite recipes!  
Fresh Garden Onions Read More

How To Freeze Fresh Green Beans Without Blanching

Easy step by step instructions on how to freeze fresh green beans without blanching.  These green beans will last up to a year. You can use them in casseroles, soups, stir fry and more!

If your garden is anything like ours right now you might be picking pounds and pounds of green beans.  And if you’re anything like me, you really don’t want to turn on your stove to boil water to preserve your green beans during the Summer.

 Last year I started to freeze our fresh green beans this way and they stayed extra fresh, keeping their bright green color and crunch.   These frozen green beans last up to a year in the freezer making them a easy and economical way to save your green beans. 

You can also use them year round in my favorite cabbage and green beans recipe!

Easy step by step instructions on how to freeze fresh green beans without blanching.  These green beans will last up to a year. You can use them in casseroles, soups, stir fry and more!

Can you freeze green beans without blanching?

Yes!  You can freeze fresh green beans without blanching.  The method below saves time because it doesn’t require blanching the beans.   You’re just going to trim the ends off, chop into desired sizes, wash them and freeze!  It’s that easy!

This is my tried and tested method that I’ve been using for years with our green beans!  

How to freeze green beans

Step 1: Take a step back and admire your green beans because god damn, you’re amazing, you just grew green beans!
Easy step by step instructions on how to freeze fresh green beans without blanching.  These green beans will last up to a year. You can use them in casseroles, soups, stir fry and more!

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What’s Growing Now

End of July update on what’s growing in our Brooklyn NYC garden! We finally got tomatoes!

Hey guys!

It’s the end of July, so I thought I’d check in and show you what’s growing in our Brooklyn garden!
Remember my goal of wanting to grow 100 pounds of vegetables this Summer?  Well we’re moving slow, but my fingers are still crossed!

Brooklyn New York Community Garden

PEPPERS

This is the first year we’re growing Anaheim peppers and we’re blown away by how well they’re producing!   The peppers just keep coming!  Looks like I’ll have some pepper recipes coming for you very soon!  

Anaheim Peppers

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How To Make a Sub Irrigated Planter

How To Make a Sub Irrigated Planter! We grow HUNDREDS of pounds of vegetables in our planters! Follow these easy DIY step by step instructions on how to make your own container garden. These planters are perfect for gardens of any size, and they’re cheap to make!

What is a Sub Irrigated Planter?

Sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) have been a game changer for us since we started using them almost 10 years ago.  The main difference between them and traditional container gardening planters is that with SIPs water is introduced from the bottom and is absorbed up through the growing media via capillary action.  This method conserves water and makes sure that moisture stays where your plants need it most – their roots.  

Sub Irrigated Planter Garden

Hundreds of pounds of vegetables grown in a couple sub irrigated planters!

We originally learned about building SIPs when we used to garden on our NYC rooftop (and grew hundreds of pounds of vegetables!).  Watering had become a daily multi-hour chore and we were looking for solutions to combat the hot and windy conditions that quickly evaporated water from the garden and always left our plants looking thirsty. 

There are numerous premade SIP solutions to buy but they can get expensive and didn’t really fit the level of production we wanted so we decided to build our own.  Our two favorite resources are Earthtainers and Global Buckets. The first summer we used SIPs we were in love.  Our evaporation woes were over, watering wasn’t a constantly required chore and best of all the plants looked great – especially our 8ft tall tomato plants that were giving us pounds (and pounds!) of vegetables a day!

(btw need tomato recipes? You NEED to try my stewed tomatoes and cherry tomato sauce!). 

Growing Tomatoes In Sub Irrigated Planters

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June Community Garden Update!

Find out what’s growing in our Brooklyn Community Garden space in June! We have a update on peas, tomatoes, onions, kale and peppers!

Hey everyone!  Hope you had a great weekend!  Ours was a hot one, with temperatures on the rise!  We stopped by our Community garden space to check on our vegetables and I decided to take some photos to show you a update!

If you missed it, we decided to go back to our roots (no pun intended!) and grow in Brooklyn again this year.  The last 2 years we grew Upstate, but the heart was heavy for urban city farming again!

This is our 4×4 garden space, with a little expansion with our sub irrigated containers!  Like everything in the city, we use every inch of space we can get! 

Find out what's growing in our Brooklyn Community Garden space in June! We have a update on peas, tomatoes, onions, kale and peppers!

Happy Baby!

And here’s one happy baby who’s already trying to nibble on my kale and drag the hose around! A big reason why we decided to garden again in Brooklyn was to show her how fun it is to grow your own vegetables in the city!
Find out what's growing in our Brooklyn Community Garden space in June! We have a update on peas, tomatoes, onions, kale and peppers!
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10 EASIEST Vegetables To Grow In The Garden

Top 10 Easiest Vegetables To Grow in the garden! All these vegetables are easy to grow from seed and in containers!  This is the perfect list for a first time gardener! 

I get asked a lot “I want to start a garden, what vegetables are best for beginners?”.   The short answer is ALL OF THEM! The long answer is “Well, they all have their pros and cons and there are so many variables that go into a specific vegetable, but here’s the ones I think that would work best for you depending on your space and climate”.  

10 Easiest Vegetables To Grow

I thought about this recently as this question usually starts to pop up frequently in the Spring.  So I decided to make a list of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden!  All of these vegetables are grown from seed and specifically grow good in containers (even sub irrigated planters)!  I picked vegetables that can grow successfully across different climates, including heat tolerant vegetables!

So now…. the list…!

Easiest Vegetables To Grow In Containers

 

 #10 TOMATOES
10 EASIEST Vegetables To Grow In The Garden
Did you know that one tomato plant can yield 50-80 pounds of tomatoes?  Yup, that’s a lot of tomatoes!  Make sure to give your tomatoes enough water in the Summer as they continue to grow.  Use cages to support the plants as they grow high!

Need tomato recipes? Try my reader favorites: Stewed Tomatoes and Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce.

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4×4 Garden Plan: Let’s Grow 100 Pounds of Food!

This year we’re going back to garden basics.  And we’re back in Brooklyn y’all!  After spending 2 Summers gardening Upstate we’re going back to our garden roots – growing in a small space in the city!  Let me introduce you to this Summer’s experiment – how much can we grow in a 4×4 garden?

The 4×4 garden begins!

4x4 garden plot

This year we joined our Brooklyn neighborhood community garden and got a 4×4 garden plot.  We’re going to be using every inch of that 4×4 space, including the outside of the box with sub-irrigated containers!  Seriously, we’re going to use all the space that comes with our little growing area!  

So here’s my goal. I want to show you that you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own food!

I want to grow 100 pounds of vegetables in a 4×4 garden plot!

We’re not growing any heavy vegetables this year, such as pumpkins or watermelons, so the majority of the pounds would come from tomatoes.  Instead of growing 3 types of tomatoes like we did every year, we’re only growing roma tomatoes this year because that’s what we use and can the most.  

pink haired mom with baby in garden

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Tomato Cages for Tall Tomato Plants

How to use Double Tomato Cages for Tall Tomato Plants.  Easy step by step instructions on how to stack the cages.  This will help prevent your tomato plants from falling over and keep them growing big and strong!

Well it’s that time of the year where the heat hits and the tomatoes start to take off to the sky!

To make sure our tomatoes grow big and get the support they need we always add cages on almost as soon as they are planted.  It’s always easier to put on cages when the tomato plants are small rather then later when they are already bushy.  If you’ve ever attempted to put a tomato cage on a bushy tomato plant then you can probably understand the frustration that could be involved with this.  

Not only do we put 1 tomato cage on the tomatoes, but we double them up.   In the past our tomato plants often grow over 6 feet tall so to make sure they stay supported with the heavy wind and encourage their growth we stack a tomato cage on top of the other.  

This is done by using zip ties to attach them and then tying the tomato cages to our structure with twine.  Wind is a big deal on the roof so we always double make sure everything is locked down.

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Here’s how much we grew in the garden last year!

Each year we track our garden yield by weighing the vegetable after we pick them.  Here’s 2014, 2015, 2016… and finally, 2017!

Let’s talk totals! In 2017 we grew a total of (drum roll please) 363 pounds and 6 ounces of vegetables!  It was quite a drop from our 1147 pound harvest in 2016, but here’s why:

-We didn’t grow any pumpkins. In 2016 we grew almost 400 pounds of pumpkins!
-We didn’t grow any watermelon.
-Oh yeah, we had a baby in July!  Talk about a change in the growing season!


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Rainbow Glitter Pumpkins

QUICK Rainbow GLITTER Pumpkins craft!  This is a easy arts and crafts Halloween activity for preschoolers and kids! We love adding neon color to our Halloween decorations! 

Halloween is usually associated with orange, black and white but who says we can’t add neon rainbow colors to pumpkins and decorations?  With this fun pumpkin craft you’ll soon have neon glitter pumpkins to decorate your entire house with!  

Easy Pumpkin Craft Idea

This is a easy craft that you don’t need a lot of time to do.  If you’re a crafter, you probably already have the supplies in your overflowing craft cabinet too. 

You can pick up the munchkin pumpkins at a farmers market or local store selling them.  Alternatively you could also use fake munchkin pumpkins if they’re out of season. 

How to Make DIY Rainbow GLITTER Pumpkins.  Follow these easy Step By Step Instructions on how to make a easy pumpkin Halloween Craft!  We love adding neon color to our Halloween decorations!  This is a great kids activity, even for pre-school and younger kids! 

Halloween Craft for Preschoolers

This is a easy craft to do with kids and toddlers.  They will love helping you roll the pumpkins around in the glitter.  Warning: Yes, there’s glitter involved in this craft, so make sure to put some newspaper underneath the pumpkins (and probably on the floor too!).   It’s a great sensory activity for kids to learn their colors too!

How to Make Rainbow Glitter Pumpkins. Follow these easy step by step instructions to add neon color to Halloween!

Craft Supplies for Rainbow Glitter Pumpkins:

Munchkin pumpkins (fresh or craft)
Paper Towels  (I recommend Viva paper towels because they are strong.)
Mod Podge
Neon Glitter
rainbow-glitter-pumpkins

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This Week’s Harvest Includes 67 Pounds of Tomatoes!

Another week, another big vegetable haul!  As we wind down the garden season this year, we are still left with a bounty of vegetables to pick!  Last weekend we had over 100 pounds of vegetables to bring back to New York City so let’s dive in to see what we’re still harvesting Upstate!

To summarize we picked tomatillos, dry beans, pie pumpkins, celery, corn, potatoes, onions, broccoli, carrots, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, beef tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and roma tomatoes! Whew! That’s a lot of vegetables!

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