Garden Planning 2021

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I’ve been planning my 2021 garden since fall and have altered the plans several times. It’s important to keep a record of your plans, and I so far have 5 sketches for my 2021 garden dating back to September. This year will be my second year with a garden, and I’m planning for a 3 season garden. This means I have plans for all seasons, Spring, Summer, and Fall, and plans on what goes well together and what will go in once one stops producing. With this planning also comes many decisions. I have decided to start everything from seeds except what doesn’t use seed. I have also decided to use two new small raised beds and to use two more fabric pots than last year, however since I flipped the beds this fall, I only have one of the five bags I need filled. I’ll also be figuring out how to fill them early this spring. The soil is very compact here and not very fertile. We do have a compost bin, but it is much too small to be a hot pile, so though there is some dirt at the bottom, it will take a very very long time before I’ll get any significant compost from it.

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The Plans

As I mentioned these plans have changed and evolved over time. The first things I did when planning my garden were to make a list of all the vegetables we eat a lot of and we feel would be a fun challenge for the next year. I also sketched out a layout for the garden. Then I began to place the plants I really wanted into the sketch accounting for plant spacing. Then, when you get to your last few plants you have to make the decision of what you want to plant this year. Take into account, how much you currently have stored, how often you eat it, and if you will have the means to store certain vegetables over an extended period of time.

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Once your vegetables are picked, you can tweak your plans over the span of a few weeks. However, when you finally are set on what you plan to grow, be sure to order seeds! Seeds are in a higher demand than normal and it could take a while to get seeds or for them to come back in stock. Beyond that, it will just be deciding when you can plant things, and what can be planted once one plant is ready to be pulled. For example, I already have my garlic in the ground and it came up before the hard freeze came, so I know that will be planted until late July when it will be time to harvest. After that, I will plant beets. I denoted that by a “/” on my sketch. I have several other plants I will be doing that with, I plant to plant Peas, once it gets warm, pull the peas and plant green beans, then come August/September, I’ll be able to plant a second planting of peas. I’ll be doing the same thing with my second new bed, but with two plantings of broccoli and one planting of cabbage. I also Plant to plant potatoes once the ground is warm, and once they are harvested, I will be planting Spinach in the fall. I am in zone 6A, so my timeline will likely be different than yours, however I hope you were able to get some helpful information.

Some possible questions you may have, I’ll try and answer before hand, but feel free to ask any questions you might have down in the comments. I’ll just hop into it. The circles not within a rectangle/square are my fabric pots. I plan to plant one with horseradish, two with sweet potatoes, and two with potatoes and spinach. The rectangles on the left side of the page are 4ft x 8ft beds that are 12 inches deep. These are the beds I started with last year. The square beds on the right of the page will be 4 ft x 4 ft beds, though they have not been constructed yet. There is also a possibility for another 4 ft x 8 ft bed for onions, but that will only happen if the cost of lumber comes down significantly before May. Most people in my area have a consensus not to plant anything in the ground before Memorial Day, however, plants like peas and broccoli are very cold hardy, so their spring planting will probably go into the ground beginning to mid-May. The picture above of dates and veggies underneath will be the days I will have to start my plants inside. For them, I will probably be starting them at the end of the time frame, just so they don’t get too big, if I do have to wait until mid- or late May before planting. What else… I will be planting two rows of tomatoes, and I’ll be doing one variety per row. I will also be planting both banana peppers and bell peppers in my pepper row. I have tons on Marigold seeds, so I’ll be starting them in every flower bed around my house, and I also learned to get them in the ground super early, or they won’t sprout. I learned the same with dill last year.

That’s all I can think to clarify. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading!

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Ratatouille with Ravioli

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This is a simple dish that is very taste. Ratatouille is a classic French poverty dish, that though it is made without meat, is very filling. The mix this recipe up, you can easily add ravioli or tortellini to add additional protein and to stretch the meal even a little bit further. There are a few things to note with this recipe and preparing it. First, you can easily use frozen veggies in place of fresh. I sliced and froze several squash and zucchini this fall and they warmed up fantastically. Since the veggies need to be soft anyway, it’s even a better way to save time! I also didn’t blanche them before freezing and there was no freezer taste. Finally, and most importantly, you will want to make sure you buy a good ravioli or tortellini that you like. This may be a given, but if you don’t usually buy these, make sure you try half the large bag with a different dish first to see that it’s a good quality and flavor. That’s all, and good luck cooking! This recipe makes 6 adult sized servings.

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What You Will Need

  • 1 Cup Sliced Yellow Squash
  • 1 1/2 Cup Sliced Zucchini
  • 1 Quart Diced Tomatoes, or 28 Oz
  • 1/2 Diced Onion
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • 1 Tbsp Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme
  • 8 Oz Bag of Frozen Ravioli
  • Dutch Oven

Directions

1. Heat dutch oven over medium heat. Add everything except the ravioli. Heat until tomatoes start to fall apart and everything is tender.

2. Add ravioli, and cook covered for time directed on package. Remove from heat, plate and serve.

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Steaks and Stuffing

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This is just a recipe for a meal I made last week. This was a new stuffing I had never made before. I had heard people usually use broth in their stuffing, so I thought it would be good to make a more healthy stuffing that the one I usually make with only butter. For this recipe, I used a half loaf of Homemade bread. Since homemade bread is so much more dense than normal bread, you’ll want to make sure your store bread is either an artisan thick bread, or that your store bought bread is one the stale side, or you could alternatively make it croutons before using it in this recipe. This stuffing was very good. The broth is very forward, and the spices are very evenly present. The butter adds a bit of fat to the dish and a bit of salt, but season as you like. As for the steaks, I just cooked them by themselves like an ordinary steak. You could add butter after the flip and baste during the final side, but I chose not to. I also added a bit of oil at the beginning of the cooking for the steaks, because I have very lean steaks. I served these steaks with some A1. The steaks were able to serve 2 adults, and the stuffing was enough to serve 3 adults.

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What You Will Need

  • 1 Stalk Celery, Diced
  • 1/2 Onion, Diced
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, 1/2 a Stick
  • 1/2 Loaf of Bread, Cut into 1 Inch Cubes
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp Ground Sage
  • 2 tsp Ground Thyme
  • 2 Steaks, 1 Inch Thick
  • Frying Pan
  • Medium Sauce pan

Directions

1. First, heat saucepan over medium heat. Add butter, celery and onion, and cook until onion is tender. Place Frying pan over medium heat. Add bread, broth, and spices to the stuffing. Reduce heat to low, and stir every 1-2 minutes until all broth is absorbed. Remove from heat once very hot.

2. Once the frying pan is hot, add the steaks. Cook for 4 minutes on the first side, and 3 minutes on the second for medium rare. Remove from heat, plate, and let rest for 5 minutes before enjoying your steak.

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Home Update

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It’s been a while since I’ve updated on how the house is going. So far we haven’t been able to do any more new flooring. The holidays and winter in general has made it hard for us to continue that project. Our next flooring room will be to add the new flooring into the orange room’s closet, then we’ll be doing the hallway and hall closet as our second segment. We are still trying to make decisions on whether we can do the living room and dining room together or whether we have to add a threshold, or if it would be easier to add one. Our living room is about 14 ft by 16 ft, and our dining room is about 9 ft by 7 ft.

Otherwise, we have been working on projects. We’ve updated our kitchen light, dining room light, and hall light. We’ve also bought a new bathroom faucet and push drain. We were able to get these accomplished in a weekend and it was just a small project to keep us busy at home. We’ve been busy doing some work for family lately. Josh has been building a server for a business, and we’ve had a few smaller projects we’ve been dealing with. Josh also bought a 3D printer, the Ender 3 Pro, so we’ve been fiddling with that most recently.

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Mexican Pork Cheese Pasta

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Mexican pork cheese pasta was inspired by mac and cheese and traditional Mexican/Spanish spices. I also included pork in this recipe to add protein. This pasta dish is on the spicy side, but it’s not burn your mouth spicy, though it did give me a bit of a runny nose. This dish goes great with some bread on the side and dipped in the remaining cheese sauce. This dish is delicious and makes a lot of food for very little. This recipe made 8 Adult sized servings.

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What You Will Need

  • 1/2 lb Ground Pork
  • 1/2 Onion, Minced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Cups Broth
  • 1 Can Stewed Tomatoes
  • 16 Oz Rotini Pasta
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 8 Oz Sharp Cheese, Grated
  • Dutch Oven

Directions

1. Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add pork and oil if needed, and cook until fully cooked. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add tomatoes and broth, then bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Add pasta and cook for 7-9 minutes until cooked.

2. Once pasta is cooked, add milk, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Stir. Heat until milk begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add all the shredded cheese, stir until fully melted. Plate and serve.

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