Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Growing your own salads- Part 4

Planting the containers:
While we only have a 2.5 x 4 foot garden, the local dollar store also provided 6 large size planters for the tomato and pepper plants. Since these are in the front garden each container has a mix of plants with different colours, shapes, and sizes to make them visually appealing.

Pots Layout:

3 Pots with the following seedlings:
·         1-2 tomato
·         2 head lettuce
·         1 salad bowl purple lettuce
·         Several bunching/green onions
·         1 pansy
·         1 basil plant
3 Pots with the following
·         1 Sweet pepper
·         1 basil plant
·         1 pansy
·         Several radish seeds
·         Several parsley seeds
2 Hanging planters with:
·         Mixed lettuce, spinach and swiss chard direct seeded

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Growing your own salads- Part 3

Planting the garden:
The strategy for getting the most out of our small space involves successive plantings. We plant, enjoy the produce, but continue planting and pulling up dead plants throughout the season.

Starting in March peas, lettuce, spinach, and radishes as well as all the herbs were direct seeded. The herbs to indoor pots, everything else to the garden. (We inherited the strawberry plants from the previous tenant, so those were already planted).

Garden Layout:
2 ft row peas
2 x 2 ft row leaf lettuce
2 x 2 ft row spinach
2 x 2 ft row radishes
Border of nastursums (supposed to deter pests)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Growing your own salads- Part 2

Choosing the plants:
The biggest complaint I hear is never having all the needed ingredients ripe at the same time to enjoy a meal. By selecting several varieties of vegetables that have roughly the same growing time frame we have managed to circumvent this.

I also looked at companion plants to try and prevent the need to use fertilizer or pesticides.

Early & Late Season: Peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes and chives all go into the ground the earliest and provide a reasonable salad quite early in the spring (in about 4 weeks). These were planted in mid-late March.

Year Round: The herbs all grow inside, with extras outside of the types we use most. I start them from seed as this is the least expensive option. It also allows me to re-seed and that may die. These were planted in the first week of March.

Mid-Late Season: Tomatoes and Peppers provide a later crop of veggies to go with the fall plantings of lettuce and are planted later in the summer. Ours went into the ground in the last weekend of May.

Growing your own salads- Part 1

The majority of my posts involve food and grocery shopping because I think that is the easiest recurring expense to cut back on for most people. This year we finally have a garden (somewhat limited in size) that gets a reasonable amount of sun. The next few posts will talk about the ins and outs of choosing the plants and planting the garden and containers to get a reasonable return on our money.

We have leaf lettuce, head lettuce, red salad bowl lettuce, baby spinach, peas, radishes, basil, chives, thyme, oregano, mint, parsley, green onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers and strawberries.

We also have nastursums and pansies since it is the front yard.

Cost: Less than $35
Plants $14.50
Seeds $4
Pots $10
Tomato cages $5

Since early May we have harvested 1-2 salads per day by cutting the outside lettuce leaves and tops off the green onions. I also pull a few radishes from the most densely seeded areas. The peas mostly died out.

Starting this week we have had 1-2 handfuls of strawberries daily

The herbs seem to grow faster every time I cut them to using in a meal.

I expect that we have saved at least the $35 originally spent and its still early June.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quick Chicken Salad

We make up plastic containers of the lettuce and tomatoes, and little bags of chicken to keep in the fridge for a quick work lunch.

1 head red lettuce, washed (our your favourite lettuce)
1 box baby tomatoes
2 cooked chicken breasts (sliced)

  1. Rip lettuce and divide between 4 containers. 
  2. Divide tomatoes between containers.
  3. Place 1/2 breast of cooked, sliced chicken into each bag, seal and place on top of Salad.

Feta Dill Dressing (1 serving)
2 tbsp low fat mayo
1-2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dill
1 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and pour over your salad, our place in a container to take with the pre-made salad.
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2 Minute Banana Muffins

A quick snack that wont heat up the house:

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 banana mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup wheat germ/bran

Mix the first 7 ingredients well, add the remaining ingredients and stir till just mixed. Pour into a silicon muffin tray.  (Ours came from the dollar store, and holds six small muffins)

Microwave 6 muffins at a time at 70 % for 1 min then 100% for 45 seconds, or until cooked through. Enjoy.

Makes 12 small-medium muffins or 6 large muffins.