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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Kylee’s Pumpkin Torte Recipe

Mix 1 cup cake mix, sugar, cinnamon and ¼ cup butter. Sprinkle on top of the pumpkin mixture. Bake at 350° F for 45 to 50 minutes. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator. Pumpkin torte may very well become a new favorite at your house! It’s delicious served warm from the oven or after it has been refrigerated.

>> read “Kylee’s Pumpkin Torte Recipe”       #Recipes
Leaf Castings Capture the Beauty of Leaves

The first time I saw a leaf casting was in the garden of a friend. It was a heart-shaped hosta leaf preserved forever in concrete. Painted a light blue-green, it had intricate veining and was just deep enough for a birdbath. I knew then and there I had to have one.

Leaf castings capture the beauty of leaves. They're made from leaves fresh from the garden. My own garden didn't have any large-leaf plants. So I added some elephant ears this spring and waited for them to grow. When the leaves were big enough, I made my first casting. Leaf castings can be a bit tricky to make, but even a beginner can turn out a good one ...

>> read “Leaf Castings Capture the Beauty of Leaves”    
The Rosenbaums’ Garden
Veggies in a Big Way

Debby and Ken Rosenbaum have built their garden from the ground up. Literally. Ken was raised on a farm and is a machinist by trade; Debby’s a city girl. They shared a common love of fresh vegetables and grew what they could while raising a family. After their two daughters left home, Debby found she had more time on her hands. Now she has a full-time summer job growing fruits and vegetables.

>> read “The Rosenbaums’ Garden”    
Winter Sowing
Seed Starting Made Easy

Most people probably think the only way to start seeds in January is to pot them and place them on racks under special lighting in the basement or dining room. However, there is an easier and cheaper method called winter sowing. The snow may be falling, the wind may be blowing and the temperature definitely dropping, but that is the perfect time to winter sow some seeds, put the containers outside and forget about them.

>> read “Winter Sowing”    
Come on Life ... Give Me Lemons
As long as they’re lemon herbs

Oh ... the clean, fresh smell of lemons, who can resist a tall glass of lemonade? It seems I always have a few lemons on the counter, but inevitably I don’ t use them quickly enough and they become shriveled and tasteless. So my alternative to getting that fresh lemon taste is to run out to the herb garden and choose from one of my many lemon herbs.

>> read “Come on Life ... Give Me Lemons”    
Get The Taste of Tarragon with Mexican Mint Marigold

The flavor of French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa) is highly prized by world-famous chefs and weekend culinary gurus alike. True tarragon can be tricky to grow, but we do have a very suitable alternative, Mexican mint marigold. Though not quite as complex as true French tarragon, Mexican mint marigold does possess the same strong, sharp and sweet anise flavor associated with tarragon and shared, to some extent, by other plants such as anise and fennel. It is easy to grow and loves our hot, dry summers and mostly mild winters.

>> read “Get The Taste of Tarragon with Mexican Mint Marigold”    
Cream of Cauliflower and Chive Soup

This soup is easy, fast, crazy inexpensive and pretty enough to serve to the fussiest dinner party guests. You can make it a few days in advance without the half and half, salt, pepper and chives. Then, just reheat it until it is warmed through, adding the half and half, salt, pepper and chives just before serving. What more could you ask of a soup?

>> read “Cream of Cauliflower and Chive Soup”       #Recipes
Chive and Bleu Cheese Dressing

Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic in the blender and pulse until smooth. Add parsley and pulse until chopped. Then add the cheese and only pulse a few times. You want the cheese to stay chunky. Stir in the chopped chives and pepper at the last minute, before serving. After pouring dressing, grind fresh, cracked pepper over your dish.

>> read “Chive and Bleu Cheese Dressing”       #Recipes
Grains + Fruit = Tasty Granola Recipe

During the winter months, the avalanche of seed and plant catalogs I find in the mailbox reassures me that there will be fresh fruit again next summer. Still, to get these catalogs, I have to trudge through 2 feet of snow. And for too long, in my opinion. So how do I keep the faith? I celebrate dried fruit instead by making mounds of granola.

I have tried countless recipes for homemade granola. Trust me, this is the one my family and friends like the best. It was first inspired by Sarah Chase’s Open House Cookbook. Ina Garten then added more dried fruit to it for the The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

>> read “Grains + Fruit = Tasty Granola Recipe”    
Outside Influence

As a garden and exterior designer, I can’t help but incorporate natural and outdoor elements when decorating for the holidays. And hey, if you think about it, the holiday season is the perfect time to bring the outdoors in. I mean, at what other time of year do we traditionally cut down real trees and put them in our living rooms?!

>> read “Outside Influence”       #Holiday: Christmas   #Decorating
Poinsettia Combinations

Poinsettias have decorated homes for many years. A single poinsettia can be an awesome sight sitting alone on a table, showing off its striking color, or colors. And their colors are astonishing – from various shades of red, pink, purple, to white or multi-colors. With names such as Monet Early (‘PER2009’), Jingle Bells (‘PER 2110’), ‘Prestige’, ‘Shimmer’, Maren (‘Beckmanns Altrosa’) and ‘Luv U Pink’, there are over 100 varieties of poinsettias. So why combine poinsettias with other plants? Plant combinations take you beyond the ordinary to extraordinary! I enjoy creating combinations that scream “Look at me!” Garden centers have made it easy to do this by having poinsettias in all sizes from teeny tiny to very large ones. The selection of foliage plants to complement the poinsettias also come in various sizes.

The first step is to select your container. The container can be anything that holds enough potting mix to accommodate the number of plants you want to use. To create a tabletop arrangement, you may choose a 10-inch bowl. A bowl of that size would accommodate a 5-inch poinsettia with room for other plants or two 4-inch poinsettias with less room for other plants. The nice thing about having so many sizes of poinsettias to choose from is that you can make a combo in just about anything – from a small ornate container, such as a sleigh, to a huge combo in a ceramic pot ...

>> read “Poinsettia Combinations”       #Holiday: Christmas
How to Make Compost

You know fall of the year is the perfect time to start rejuvenating your garden beds for next spring, and in this vegetable garden, the perfect thing to do is add compost now so it can settle in and nutrients can be released in time for the spring plant. So, come on back with us and we’ll show you how to set up a compost pile.

>> read “How to Make Compost”       #Homesteading   #Video

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