Newbie Gardening Lessons Learned

Carrots need to be thinned early and aggressively. I didn’t do this early enough and my carrots grew twisted around each other. The few carrots that did manage to grow without being completely misshapen, didn’t taste very good. I have been most disappointed with my carrots.

Even Cherry tomatoes need a cage. I assumed the plants would be small enough not to require any special rig to hold it up. I could not have been more wrong. My tomato plants grew so large so quickly that by the time I realized they needed a cage to hold them up they were growing toward the ground and I was risking breaking them if I tried to get a cage around them.

Dogs will eat cherry tomatoes right off of the vine. My bassets seem to have developed a taste for cherry tomatoes. I can’t keep them away from my plants.
Don’t attempt to plant basil with tomatoes. I read a gardening blog that suggested planting basil with tomatoes would sweeten the flavor of the tomatoes so I attempted it. My sweet basil plants were dwarfed by my tomato plants and died very quickly. The purple basil I planted, however, thrived. I have discovered I do not like the texture or flavor of purple basil but it is beautiful in a pot, especially when it flowers. It has kept bees in my little container garden all through the summer.

Herbs left alone will grow like CRAZY. I planted a few types of Thyme, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena and Oregano together in a pot and I didn’t cut the plants a lot. I left them alone and picked whatever herbs I was going to use that particular day. These herbs have grown like weeds. I am going to harvest a lot of them before the end of summer and freeze them in olive oil for use throughout fall and winter.

Lettuce needs sun. My lettuce crop was great. I will definitely plant it again but likely in a pot to itself. I planted it with my carrots but the carrots blocked all of the sun from the lettuce and it died much sooner than expected.

All in all I think the herbs and tomatoes were my biggest hits of container gardening. I have definitely learned some lessons and I’ll be sure to plan earlier for 2015. I didn’t make plans for a fall or winter garden mostly because I am not supposed to be gardening with my arm in the state it is in but I hope to have some next year. I might make some adjustments and actually set aside some yard space for a garden rather than shoving everything into containers.

Crustless Quiche – Breakfast/Lunch for a Week

I don’t have much time to prepare breakfast in the mornings and it’s a meal I often just skip or pick up at Starbucks on the drive to work. I have found if I get organized and make some extra time on Sunday I can prepare breakfast or lunch for a whole week in just 30 minutes. It’s easy to mix it up with smoothies, oatmeal, or crustless quiche with my mason jar obsession. This crustless quiche recipe is perfect for a grab and go meal and it is extremely versatile and can include any ingredients you have on hand.

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Crustless Quiche

Ingredients:

10 eggs

1/2 cup of cream

6 half-pint wide mouth mason jars

meat / veggie / fresh herb fillings of your choice

3/4 cup of cheese  (I used Beecher’s Flagship Cheese)

salt & pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease/butter jars.
  3. Fill jars with veggies/meats / herbs of your choice.
  4. Beat eggs and cream together. Evenly divide between the baking cups/jars. Top with approximately 1 tablespoon of cheese per serving. Using a fork or spoon, carefully stir the contents of each cup/jar so that the cheese isn’t just resting on top.
  5. Place the jars on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. When tops are browned, they are done.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool. You can put the lids on once they are cool enough to touch (the tops will be puffy just after baking, but they will fall as they cool). Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. They will keep up to five days.

 

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